FAW Cup - Third Round
The New Saints 3, Conwy Borough 1
TWO goals in extra-time from New Saints striker Matty Williams helped him to exorcise his demons and shunt the Oswestry side through to the fourth round of the Welsh FA Cup after surviving a scare from Conwy Borough.
Williams suffered a serious knee injury which kept him sidelined for almost 12 months in the corresponding fixture against Bryntirion last season, but he proved the difference against the Cymru Alliance side this time around after Alex Darlington’s 75th minute strike was cancelled out by a stunning effort from Scott Beckett.
TNS avoided a potential upset to get the defence of the trophy up and running however, leaving fans and coaching staff to breath a deep sigh of relief around Park Hall as their side stuttered into a home tie with Rhyl in the next round.
New Saints singer Craig Jones had a shot superbly palmed away by debutant Conwy goalkeeper Kristian Rogers on seven minutes.
But the visitors almost went ahead when Lee Davey fired wide before Eddie Jebb saw a free-kick deflected beyond Paul Harrison’s right-hand post.
Jones was again denied by another smart reaction save by Rogers at the other end and Greg Draper faired likewise as both teams sensed an opening goal.
Jebb again failed to hit the target for Borough on 37 minutes after being set free by Lloyd Ellams as did Steve Evans with a header as Saints threatened from a corner soon after the break.
A 54th minute effort from Darlington was again saved by the Conwy stopper and Chris Seargeant could only find the side-netting when he ghosted onto a through ball from Ryan Fraughan midway through the half.
Darlington finally made the breakthough for TNS however when he met Simon Spender's cut-back to net from eight yards out but Beckett equalised six minutes from the end of normal time.
Fraughan saw a header held with extra-time looming but the introduction of Williams finally eased the tension for The New Saints when he sent a drive into the bottom corner 10 minutes into the first period.
And he put the result beyond doubt four minutes from the end of the second after getting the better of Rogers in a one on one to set up the tie with Rhyl on January 26.
See picture on page 71
TNS return to league action this Saturday when they travel to Port Talbot for a 3.45pm kick-off.