Leah special stuns Linfield
SAINTS got a tremendous result in Belfast as they beat Irish Premier League champions Linfield 1-0.
The Windsor Park outfit will represent Northern Ireland in the Champions League next week and, if TNS can replicate this form in their Uefa Cup tie away at Osters on Thursday, they will be more than happy.
Having already beaten Limavady United 2-0, this was going to be a sterner test for TNS against a side that finished 32 points ahead of last Saturday's opponents.
The best of the first-half chances fell to the home side, with Andy Crawford shooting wide after 24 minutes and then providing a cross two minutes later, only for David Larmour to send his diving header from 15 yards wide of Gerard Doherty's goal.
But after Blues' keeper Alan Mannus had been forced to make a superb save in the 40th minute from a header at the near post, John Leah marked his return to the Saints' line-up by producing a goal on the stroke of half-time, sending a 30-yard free kick wide of Mannus's left hand.
Saints went into the game with Colin Alcide making his first appearance alongside former Tranmere youth Jamie McGuire and young Bangor midfielder Mark Connolly.
John Toner hit an 18-yard effort over the bar, but much of the second half produced some uneventful football, although Jamie Wood was lucky to escape a red card for a punch on Noel Bailie and was immediately replaced.
Doherty was called upon to produce a superb fingertip save to stop Andy Hunter's 20-yarder in the 78th minute as Linfield pressed for an equaliser.
In the 89th minute, it took a timely tackle to stop Stuart King when the ball broke to him 12 yards from goal, but Saints held out for a morale boosting win.