JD Cymru Premier

Barry Town United 0

The New Saints 3

A BRACE after the break for Adrian Cieslewicz and a first Saints goal for new signing Leo Smith gave The New Saints a comfortable victory in their season opener at Barry Town United on Saturday.

The match marked a long-awaited return to domestic competition for both sides, with neither team featuring in a league match since March.

Having already blown away the cobwebs in pre-season friendlies and a UEFA Europa League qualifying match, Saints were back to their best with a particularly impressive second half display which saw them net three goals.

The first half was a closer affair however, with Curtis Jemmett-Hutson almost opening the scoring for the hosts at Jenner Park, before Saints defender Ryan Astles was called into action to deflect a shot behind shortly afterwards.

TNS had their own chances, most notably through forward Dean Ebbe who sent a strike narrowly wide of the post 10 minutes before half-time.

A double substitution at the break made by Scott Ruscoe saw Ben Clark and Keston Davies enter the fray, and it proved a wise move by the TNS boss as his side took the lead three minutes after the restart.

Starting the move with a run down the left-hand side, Cieslewicz cut inside on the edge of the Barry Town penalty area and sent a curling effort into the net to finish off a good individual move.

Saints thought they had doubled their advantage on the hour mark when Cieslewicz’s parried shot fell to the feet of Jamie Mullan who found the net with the rebound. but the goal was ruled out for offside.

After Davies was almost wrongly dismissed by the referee after he was mistaken for Jon Routledge, Ruscoe’s men regained possession and rushed up the other end of the pitch where Mullan teed up Smith who struck the ball low into the net to make it 2-0.

And with slightly more than 10 minutes of the game left, Cieslewicz doubled his tally and bagged his side’s third goal of the afternoon with a cool, lobbed finish over Barry goalkeeper Mike Lewis.

Saints face Cardiff Met at home on Sunday (kick-off 2.30pm).