EVANS AND BECK SINK PORT TALBOT
SAINTS got back on the winning trail and opened up a three point lead at the top of the League.
But although the eventual 2-0 margin was comfortable enough, they were given spirited resistance by a rugged Port Talbot outfit.
Saints often had to defend stoutly to keep the visitors at bay, with Steve Evans again a towering presence at the back.
And it was Evans who got TNS on the road to victory after just four minutes, when he headed past Simon Rayner from David Bridgwater's free kick on the right.
But there were no signs of a rout, as both sides found it difficult to create chances in a first half where the defences were always on top.
Saints could thank back-to-form keeper Gerard Doherty for keeping their lead intact to the interval, with a brave save at the feet of Nathan Wigg and a good stop from Nathan Cotterall who, with Alan Clark, was influential down the left flank for the visitors.
Saints badly needed a second goal, but it took the introduction of substitutes John Toner and Steven Beck to end the stalemate.
The pair combined when Toner got behind the Talbot defence on the right, before sending a perfect cross for Beck to head past Rayner.
A poor clearance out of defence gave Mark Dodds a chance from Chris Watkins' cross, but Doherty again saved the day for Saints.
Watkin then blazed miles over the bar from six yards out, before TNS twice nearly added to their tally in the final minutes.
Justin Perry's fierce shot was deflected over the bar and Toner again worked an opening on the right for Beck to bring a superb save from Rayner.
Manager Ken McKenna was satisfied enough with the outcome. "I thought we defended much better tonight," he said.
"Port Talbot are a good side who can beat anyone on their day and I am happy with the three points."
Referee Steve Hames managed to produce seven yellow cards in a game which was competitive, but never dirty and played in a good spirit.