Welsh Premier League
Gap Connah’s Quay 0, The New Saints 3
The New Saints cruised to their 19th successive league victory with a commanding win over second-placed Gap Connah’s Quay on Saturday.
Victory, which came through goals from Scott Quigley, Greg Draper and Connell Rawlinson, saw the visitors stretch their lead at the top to an impressive 21 points.
A win against Cefn Druids in their next game will see TNS equal the Guinness world record of 26 consecutive wins in all competitions, set by an Ajax side that included Johan Cruyff in 1972.
Quigley caught the Nomads cold early on when he fired TNS in front, while Draper did likewise at the start of the second half to double the Oswestry side’s lead.
And Rawlinson also got his name on the scoresheet for Saints as they continue their stranglehold on this season’s Welsh Premier League.
Quigley opened the scoring just two minutes in, given time on the edge of the box to unleash a volley into the top corner and beyond the flailing Jon Rushton.
Connah’s Quay sought a quick repost when Danny Harrison blazed an effort over the TNS crossbar five minutes later.
Les Davies missed a golden chance to equalise for the home side when he glanced a header wide from six yards after climbing to meet Nathan Woolfe’s 22nd-minute cross.
Callum Morris then forced a save from Saints keeper Paul Harrison when he took aim through a crowded penalty area.
And Harrison was alert to palm away Woolfe’s dangerous in-swinging corner as Connah’s Quay continued to attack.
At the other end, Nick Rushton had a shot charged down, before Saints finally broke free only for Draper to drill his strike straight at Rushton in the Nomads’ goal as half-time loomed.
And it was Draper who made the hosts pay for missed opportunities, when he latched on to the loose ball to sprint clear of the home defence two minutes after the break, and double The New Saints’ advantage.
Rawlinson made it three on the hour mark, capitalising on more hesitancy in the Connah’s Quay defence to bury the ball into the net when Ryan Brobbel’s cross found him lurking at close range.
The hosts almost pulled a goal back with just over 10 minutes remaining when Davies rattled the TNS crossbar with a header from eight yards.
But by then the damage was done and Saints ran out comfortable winners as they continued their relentless push towards the title.
Things were less comfortable in midweek, however. TNS edged to a 2-1 victory away at Rhyl having gone behind after 8.72 seconds – the quickest goal scored in Welsh Premier League history.
An Alex Darlington brace turned the game on its head, though, and helped Saints overcome their lowly opposition.
Next up for Craig Harrison’s side is a home clash with second from bottom Cefn Druids on Boxing Day, with a 2.30pm kick-off.