The New Saints hit the triple as Bont suffer first defeat in five.

The New Saints triumphed at the SDM Glass Stadium in a game which hung in the balance for large spells but was largely decided by three moments of quality.

TNS started on the front foot and set the tempo for a high-octane encounter, carrying much of the first half possession in the opening stages.

The visitors worked the first opportunity of the game as Jamie Mullen whipped a dangerous ball in from the left flank, but the Bont defence was able to apply enough pressure into the box for it to bundle out for a goal kick.

Proceedings were largely dominated by TNS as they moved the ball around with fluidity, however the chances had been few and far between. TNS’ pressing work prevented Penybont from gaining a foothold into the game, however Bont were equal defensively to the away side.

The home defence began to sit deeper at the half hour mark as they remained resolute, having the answers for every question the visitors asked of them. It became increasingly apparent that the quick counter attack would play a vital role for Bont going forward.

A half chance beckoned from a set piece as Kane Owen sat over the ball looking to deliver a looping cross from deep, but frustratingly the ball edged passed the Bont shirts inside the area and the chance was gone.

Penybont had by far the best chance of the first half at the 38th minute. Nathan Wood danced passed his man on the left-hand side and delivered a ball which got cleared only as far as Lewis Clutton on the edge of the area. Clutton managed to loop the ball to the back post where Ioan Emanuel had a free header, and was only denied by a phenomenal acrobatic save from Paul Harrison.

Bont had another excellent chance as Ben Ahmun raced in behind at an angle from goal. Ahmun was unable to prevent his effort from rising over the goal as he was under pressure from Keston Davies. The home side began to enjoy longer spells on the front foot thanks to the relentless pressing off of the ball and composure on it.

Lewis Harling created another great chance as he dinked the ball over The New Saints’ back line who were caught unawares. Ben Ahmun managed to stretch far enough to get his shot away first time, however he struggled to direct the strike in either corner, allowing Harrison to collect the ball.

The visitors started strongly after the break much like the first half. Ben Clark almost struck gold from outside the area as his effort looked destined for the top left corner, however Ashley Morris was able to produce a fine stop to keep the game in the balance. Clark had another chance to get his side in front from the resulting corner, but could not keep his effort from sailing over the crossbar.

Another chance went begging for TNS as Ryan Harrington delivered a great ball from the byline which flew across the goal-line just to quickly for the away side to capitalise.

Ben Clark’s efforts finally paid dividends with a brilliant solo effort as he found the opening goal for TNS in the 55th minute. He weaved in and out from a number of Bont shirts and curved the ball from distance into the bottom corner.

Ryan Brobbel doubled TNS’ lead to two goals with a postage-stamp free kick on the 66th minute mark. The 20+ yard strike gave Morris absolutely no chance, and was a reward for the visitors who have remained on the front foot since the teams re-entered the pitch for the second half.

Ahmun continued to have a lively evening as he carved out another solid chance for himself to halve the deficit in the 75th minute, as he dribbled the ball into the box at an angle after being played in by Kane Owen. He could not manage to squeeze his effort into the corner of the net after some great footwork, as the ball rolled into the side-netting.

The Skipper himself then managed to muster a chance of his own. He struck his volley with venom on the edge of the area, however the ball did not trouble Harrison as it whistled wide.

Bont continued to threaten as an early cross was met by Sam Snaith, who touched the effort down into the path of Ben Ahmun only for the ball to be cleared for a corner kick. The fact was undeniable that the hosts kept battling despite finding themselves trailing courtesy of two TNS pearlers.

TNS added a third deep into injury time as substitute Leo Smith found himself one on one with Morris, where he had the calmness to take it passed him and slot into an empty net.


Owen Gardner