The New Saints reached the semi-finals of the SPFL Trust Trophy with a 4-1 home win over Scottish Championship side Arbroath on Saturday.
Craig Harrison’s team were forced to come from behind as Arbroath started the better side and took the lead in the ninth minute when Jay Bird fired home after driving into the penalty area.
Ben Clark drew TNS level in the 29th minute when he finished off a superb team move and they were ahead by half-time as Brad Young lashed a strike into the corner.
The JD Cymru Premier leaders continued to dominate the chances in the second half but they did not score a third until the 80th minute when substitute Adrian Cieslewicz fired home a first time shot.
Young made sure of TNS’ spot in the semi-finals five minutes later when he netted his second of game following a mazy solo run from Jordan Williams.
“After the opening 15-20 minutes, I thought we were in complete control of the game,” Craig Harrison said. “We were as good as we’ve been since I’ve been here the second time. I was really pleased with our discipline and how we competed because Arbroath are a very physical team.
“We had done our homework, we went to watch them twice, so we knew we were going to have to compete in that way and it was going to be a really physical game. Once we got to grips with that, I thought we passed the ball well, made some good decisions and created some good opportunities.”
TNS will travel to Falkirk in the semi-finals on the weekend of 3-4 February 2024. John McGlynn’s side are currently top of Scottish League One and triumphed 4-2 against Scottish Championship side Dundee United in their quarter-final on Friday night.
The Bairns have won the SPFL Trust Trophy on four previous occasions, most recently in 2012. TNS frontman Declan McManus spent time on loan in Stirlingshire in the 2019-20 season, scoring 24 goals in 34 appearances.
It will be a third SPFL Trust Trophy semi-final for The New Saints, but they will be aiming to reach the final for the first time following defeats to St Mirren in 2017 and Dumbarton in 2018.
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