JD Cymru Premier League

The New Saints 1

Cardiff Met 2

The New Saints saw their lead at the top of the JD Cymru Premier League cut to a point after they were beaten at home by Cardiff Met.

Scott Ruscoe's men were beaten at Park Hall for the first time since September as goals from Joel Edwards – sent off in stoppage time – and Will Evans sandwiched a Ryan Brobbel effort.

The visitors had the first sniff of goal on five minutes, but Keston Davies's vital touch denied Jordan Lam and sent the ball for a corner.

But Cardiff were not to be denied when Edwards powered home from close distance to give Cardiff a shock early lead.

A minute later, Cardiff's Will Evans was convinced he should have had a penalty when he tussled with Davies but referee Thomas Owen said no.

Saints's first sight of goal was on 14 minutes when Dean Ebbe was narrowly beaten to the ball by Emlyn Lewis who headed over his own bar.

But TNS were soon level on 16 minutes when Brobbel smashed home from 16 yards out following some fantastic build-up play that released Adrian Cieslewicz.

On 22 minutes, it was nearly de-ja-vu as superb play between Cieslewicz and Aeron Edwards saw the latter flash a ball across the box with Ebbe just failing to connect.

Lewis was cautioned on 33 minutes for an off-the-ball incident, and he was lucky to avoid a straight red when he appeared to strike Keston Davies.

Saints could have gone 2-1 ahead on 35 minutes when Ryan Harington was denied by Will Fuller, who parried into his path.

And Met made TNS pay when Evans restored their lead on 38 minutes, outmuscling Harrington and firing past Paul Harrison from 12 yards out.

The second half lacked the frenetic start of the first 45 with the Students keen to ensure they did not give up their lead quickly.

Cardiff skipper Bradley Woolridge joined his fellow centre-back Lewis into the book after he upended Simon Spender on 53 minutes.

Ruscoe sacrificed his defensive midfield cover as Jamie Mullan – still feeling his way back from injury – replaced Joash Nembhard on the hour.

Brobbel tested Fuller on 62 minutes with a finely-struck free kick after Danny Redmond was felled, leading to Mael Davies being the third Student to have his name taken.

The intensity dropped as Met worked hard to keep all three points and frustrate the home support.

Brobbel was starting to find his range, and his effort from 25 yards on 68 minutes narrowly sailed over and landed on top of the net.

Greg Draper was introduced on 71 minutes and two minutes later, he could – and should – have made it 2-2 but a combination of a poor touch and good goalkeeping from Fuller denied him.

Ruscoe's gamble was to have two strikers up top with a back three of Spender, Davies and Redmond as he sought a valuable point.

Saints were working hard to find the all-important chance, but on 84 minutes, Mullan's cross was too close to Fuller who gathered and waste important seconds.

Mullan had the ball in the net on 90 minute but it was ruled out for offside.

Edwards was sent off in stoppage time for punching Keston Davies after the Saints man fouled him.

TNS: Harrison, Spender, Harrington (Draper 71) Davies, Redmond, Routledge, Nembhard Mullan 59), Cieslewicz, Edwards, Brobbel (Byrne 75), Ebbe

Subs not used: Dutton, Marriott, Whitehouse