Europa League first qualifying round

The New Saints 3

MSK Zilina 1

(After Extra Time)

THE New Saints needed extra time to book their spot in the Europa League second qualifying round after beating MSK Zilina on Thursday.

A debut goal from Louis Robles set Saints on their way but they were forced into the extra 30 minutes when Patrik Myslovic levelled from the spot.

But Leo Smith, another TNS debutant, fired the home side ahead from close range and it was left to veteran Adrian Cieslewicz to finish the job with a penalty.

Saints came flying out of the blocks in the first three minutes, forcing a corner from Chris Marriott's cross while the new TNS skipper forced visiting Samuel Petras into a last-ditch stop.

The Slovaks were dazed by TNS's constant raids down the right through Simon Spender and he forced a clearance from Jan Minarik in the fifth minute.

It was Danny Redmond's turn to spurn the next chance as he fired straight at Petras after excellent work from Robles down the left-hand side.

Having been a virtual spectator for much of the opening quarter, Paul Harrison showed his worth when he made an excellent block from Jakub Paur, who was one-on-one with the home keeper.

Saints forced a succession of corners as Petras spilled a Brobel shot and the Northern Irish man then struck the inside of the far post direct from the third of three corners.

After a quiet period, Saints were back on the charge and on 38 minutes, Mullan forced a fine save from Petras, who saved again from Blaine Hudson from the resulting corner.

A minute before the break, Brobel showed wonderful feet to work his way out of a dead end, only to find Petras equal to his shot.

It was a stuttering start to the second half as Spender was forced off through injury and the Slovaks broke up TNS's play.

But in the 56th minute, the deadlock was broken by Robles who glanced home at the front post from Marriott's corner, Saint's third in the matter of minutes, much to the home side's delight.

Robles came closest to adding a second for Saints in the 69th minute, but he was only able to fire at Petras after a wonderful spin and shot.

But Saints were left reeling with 15 minutes to go as Redmond was deemed to have fouled Branislav Sluka and Myslovic duly stepped up to send Harrison the wrong way.

The home side's response was slow in coming as their efforts were starting to take their toll on their energy levels, with scorer Robles replaced after serious cramp.

In the dying minutes, Saints were denied a stonewall penalty by the referee as Minarik clearly handled in the box.

Saints started extra time strongly, with Petras placed under great pressure from corners.

And that pressure eventually told in the 100th minute when Smith, another debutant, was the right man in the right place as he steered home from close range.

Saints, desperate for the extra-time half-time whistle, had their hearts in their mouths as Vahan Bichakhchyan fired narrowly over.

The visitors were reduced to 10 men when Sluka was dismissed for dragging down Mullan and substitute Cieslewicz was the man to step up and stroke the ball home to give TNS the cushion on 108 minutes.

It was nearly four when with 10 minutes to go, Dean Ebbe headed against the post from Marriott's cross

Scott Ruscoe's men weathered a late storm from the to join Bala Town in the second qualifying round.

TNS: Harrison, Spender (Harrington 49), Astles, Hudson, Marriott, Holland, Redmond (Routledge 104), Mullan, Brobbel (Smith 81), Robles (Cieslewicz 87), Ebbe

Subs not used: Roberts, Davies, Draper