JD Cymru Premier

Newtown 0

The New Saints 2

Goals from Jon Routledge and Greg Draper set The New Saints off to a winning start in 2020 as they overcame nearby Newtown.

After enjoying more of the ball in the first half, TNS made their possession count in the second half with the two goals putting the game to bed.

Scott Ruscoe's men are now just one win away from finishing top of the table at the end of phase one of the season.

It was a nervy start for the home side who nearly gifted a one-goal advantage to Saints after just two minutes of play.

Miscommunication between the Newtown stopper and his defender saw Jack Kelly almost head the ball into his own net, but luckily for the Robins, it went just wide.

Being on the back foot was a sign of things to come for the home side, as Saints went close on several occasions early in the afternoon.

Ryan Brobbel nearly gave the Welsh champions the lead with a curled effort from the edge of the penalty area, before the number eight came close again with a 25-yard free-kick.

Adrian Cieslewicz and Danny Redmond also came close to opening the scoring in the first half, but Newtown's stubborn defence and shot-stopper David Jones kept the game level.

Despite looking the better of the two sides, Saints will feel lucky that they did not go into half-time a goal down – a corner late in the half for the hosts was swung into a dangerous area for Kelly to head at goal, only for Draper to be in the right place at the right time to deny him a goal.

The visitors remained composed and continued to search for an opener in the early stages of the second half.

They did not have to wait for long in the second half until the ball was in the net, with Routledge well-positioned to meet a Brobbel delivery on the edge of the area and fire his effort into the far corner to make it 1-0.

With Ruscoe's men taking the lead, they continued to push for goal and were rewarded moments later for their hard work.

In-form Brobbel who was proving a handful for the defenders was the provider again when his well-weighted pass landed perfectly for Draper, allowing the league's joint top-scorer to bag his 18th league goal of the season.

With just under 20 minutes remaining, the only other notable chance fell for Draper, with the New Zealand international forcing an excellent stop from Jones between the sticks for Newtown.

The victory means Saints sit at the top of the table after 21 games, and have just one league game remaining until the league splits into two.

Their remaining game will see them take on Connah's Quay Nomads at home on Saturday (kick-off 5.15pm).

Last time the sides met, they drew 1-1.

A win would mean TNS head into the second phase of the season at the top of the table.