SAINTS RESPOND TO McKENNA'S RALLYING CALL
Scott Ruscoe hooks the ball past Tony Pennock for Saints' second goal [Andrew Orchard].
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SAINTS responded to their manager's rallying call with a stylish demolition of lowly Carmarthen at Richmond Park.
It was vital that TNS returned to winning ways after the reverse at Rhyl, to maintain the pressure on the league leaders.
Victory never looked in doubt as Saints rediscovered their passing game and had Town on the back foot for most of the game.
Michael Wilde also found his scoring touch by firing Saints ahead after 24 minutes, when David Barnhouse missed his tackle from Barry Hogan's through ball and he drove past Carmarthen keeper Tony Pennock from 10 yards.
But the striker failed to turn Saints' first-half domination into goals, as he mis-fired from another Ruscoe pass and a superb left wing run and cross from John Toner.
Pennock did well to turn away a Ruscoe effort from Jamie Wood's sliderule pass, plus a fierce 20-yard drive from Steve Evans and the home side were relieved to take their half-time tea just one goal down.
A brief spell of pressure after the break produced a shock equaliser.
Chris Taylor was forced to head over his own crossbar and, from the resulting corner, Bridgwater and Hogan got in a mess at the near post and Adam Moore had the easiest of chances past Richard Acton from two yards out.
But the home cheers had barely subsided before Saints were back in front.
Ward played in the lively Hogan, whose long range effort deflected off a Carmarthen defender and seemed destined to sneak under Pennock's bar. The keeper could only claw the ball away to Ruscoe, whose header appeared to be saved over the line, but he made no mistake by hooking the rebound into the back of the net.
The introduction of Steven Beck for Toner after 72 minutes proved a master stroke. Within 24 seconds of coming off the bench, the former Everton starlet picked up a poor clearance from Wilde's flick-on and chested the ball down on the edge of the area before rifling a superb volley past an astounded Pennock.
And seven minutes later he was on the mark again after Wilde again won a heading duel and the substitute ran to the edge of the box before placing his 12-yard shot past Pennock.
Saints can take heart from a superb all-round performance, but must still rely on a slip-up by leaders Rhyl if they are to lift the title.