Hat-trick hero Wilde fires Saints to Champions League tie victory


Daniel Heald

TNS 4 B36 Torshavn 1 (TNS win 6-2 on aggregate)

A HAT-TRICK from in-form Mike Wilde guided The New Saints into the second qualifying round of the Champions League in an emphatic 4-1 victory over B36 Torshavn at Park Hall.

Substitute Matty Williams put the Saints four nil up in the 89th minute, before Lukasz Cieslewicz netted a consolation for the Faroese side in the game’s dying stages.

A sell-out crowd witnessed the Welsh champions secure a resounding 6-2 aggregate victory in a commanding display, which the home side dominated throughout.

The result is the first time the Welsh club have won both legs of a Champions League tie and their first two-leg win since the 2010-11 campaign.

From the first whistle the Saints assumed total control; probing the visitors’ defence with a series of well-crafted attacks and exploiting space on the right flank.

Full-back Simon Spender combined well with Adrian Cieslewicz, whose measured cross was met by Wilde who steered an early header over the bar.

The lively Sam Finley was the creative fulcrum for the Saints; showing a deftness of touch and his extensive passing range to initiate several attacks from his central midfield role.

The breakthrough came in the 14th minute when Wilde slotted home from close range from Adrian Cieslewicz’s cross.

Once ahead, The Saints never looked back and began to over-run the lacklustre B36 side.

Wilde grabbed his second in the 27th minute, and showed great positional awareness to elude two B36 defenders and meet Finley’s low cross and fire past goalkeeper Tordur Thomsen.

The visitors rarely threatened in the first half; Hans Samuelsen’s curling free-kick from 22 yards provided their sole chance of note, which was comfortably dealt with by Paul Harrison.

The game was over as a contest early in the second half when Wilde completed his memorable hat-trick. Spender’s whipped cross from the right hand side flashed across the six yard box and was prodded home by the former Chester City striker.

The energy, organisation and desire of the Saints stood in contrast to the lethargic B36 players who were outclassed all over the pitch.

Finley typified the Saints’ attacking ethos - winning possession deep in his own half then embarking on a 50-yard run, shrugging off covering defender, Eli Nielsen before skewing his shot narrowly wide of the target.

Spender then hit the woodwork when his cross clipped the crossbar, before substitute Matty Williams added a fourth goal late on by stroking the ball past Thomsen into the net.

A well-taken 90th minute strike from Lukasz Cieslewicz reduced arrears, but the night belonged to the Saints who will face Hungarian champions Videoton in the next round.

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