Harrison the hero as Saints progress

Reporter:

Gavin Grosvenor

PAUL Harrison was the hero with two penalty shoot out saves and the decisive spot-kick sending TNS into the Irn-Bru Cup semi-finals.

The Scottish Championship club made the long haul trip to the Welsh borders in good number and good voice with their side, including former Everton star James McFadden, favourites to progress.

However the Welsh Premier champions proved more than a match before Harrison emerged the hero in the shoot-out.

The Saints started the tie on the front foot with Jamie Mullan firing against the bar before Greg Draper steered home Aeron Edwards’s left wing cross only to be denied by the offside flag.

The Scottish side handed the Saints a warning with their first attack of the game on 18 minutes with McFadden’s delicate chipped shot from the edge of the area coming back off the bar with Harrison beaten.

The home side continued to dictate the game but failed to test Doonhammer goalkeeper Alan Martin who comfortably smothered a headed effort from Connell Rawlinson before denying Draper.

However McFadden remained a danger with the former Scottish international blasting over in the final chance of the half.

McFadden once again went close at the start of the second-half, curling agonisingly wide as the Doonhammers grew into the game.

The second-half proved a much more even contest with both sides enjoying spells of possession and carving opportunities.

Both Simon Spender and Draper went close for the hosts while the Scottish side also threatened through Connor Murray before Tom Holland saved the Saints with a goal line clearance to turn away Shaun Rooney’s header.

The Saints had their backs to the walls and survived a late goalmouth scramble with Rawlinson producing a crucial tackle to deny Steve Dobbie at the death.

Dobbie should have given his side the lead five minutes into extra-time when the home side’s high line was penetrated only for the journeyman striker to steer wide under pressure from Harrison.

The Scottish side were now on top with Dobbie twice more denied by Harrison while Kyle Jacobs also tested the Saints goalkeeper but the home side held out to force penalties.

A nervous opening to the shoot-out saw both sides fail with their first two attempts with Mullan and Ryan Brobbel frustrated for the Saints while Derek Lyle and Dobbie failed for the Doonhammers.

Chris Seargeant, Alex Darlington and Wes Fletcher netted for TNS with Jacobs, McFadden and Callum Fordyce replies ensuring the match went to sudden death penalties.

Harrison blasted home the Saints fourth spot kick to restore their lead before completing his heroics by palming away Andy Stirling’s effort and clinch TNS’ semi-final ticket.

TNS: Harrison, Spender, Rawlinson, Leak, Marriott, Routledge, Brobbel, Holland (Seargeant), Edwards (Darlington), Mullan, Draper (Fletcher) Subs: Jones, Parry, Roberts

Att – 808

Email:

gavin.grosvenor@nwn.co.uk

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