Druids fight hard - but Routledge has the last word for TNS

Reporter:

Jonny Drury

A GOAL in each half was enough for TNS to write themselves into the history books and claim the world record for the most consecutive domestic wins.

The Saints overcame a plucky Cefn Druids to claim their 27th straight victory – taking Ajax’s 44-year record in the process, and putting themselves into the Guinness World Records book.

On a night where the media and a large crowd descended on The Rock, the home side set about ruining the party, and showed good early signs.

Mike Pritchard fired a warning shot wide, as did Stuart Cook, as Druids came out on the front foot.

The Ancients’ striker Pritchard again fired in a long-range effort, and it took until the 25th minute for the Saints to show any real sign of getting their nose in front.

A sweeping move saw Simon Spender cut a cross back for Greg Draper, but he was denied by home stopper Michael Jones, who was in fine form all evening.

Jones was on hand five minutes later to deny both Alex Darlington and Aeron Edwards in a scramble, before the Saints finally broke the deadlock to settle the nerves seven minutes before the break.

Jon Routledge teed up Edwards, who chested the ball down and fired an effort in off the inside of the post.

Into the second period, the second goal of the game was crucial – and it nearly came from the home side.

A scramble in the box saw Paul Harrison palm the ball away, with a half-hearted shout for a penalty in the midst of things, before Matthew Eckersley’s volley was easily gathered by the Saints keeper.

A penalty call on Darlington down the other end was waved away, before the in-form midfielder glanced a Ryan Pryce cross narrowly over the upright.

Routledge went close, before a spell of pressure from the home side showed that the game was far from over. All they could really muster, however, was a tame header from Adam Hesp.

Jones was on hand 10 minutes from time to theatrically tip over a deflected Adrian Cieslewicz shot, and he kept out Ryan Brobbel three minutes from time when the midfielder went one on one.

But the second half nerves were put to bed and the champagne went on ice when Routledge cooly fired in a drive from the edge of the area two minutes from time.

The goal sealed a deserved victory for The New Saints, and another success in a season where the champions have again dominated the Welsh domestic competitions.

TNS: Harrison, Spender, Marriott, Rawlinson, Saunders, Edwards, Routledge, Cieslewicz, Brobbel, Darlington, Draper

Subs: Wycherley, Pryce, Jones, Baker, Mullan, Seargeant, Farleigh.

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