The New Saints will meet Bala Town in this season’s JD Welsh Cup final following a 2-0 semi-final win over Penybont.
Josh Daniels’ first-half brace put the Saints in a comfortable position at half time and the defending champions held firm in the second half to ensure they sealed a place in the final.
Craig Harrison’s side came close to opening the scoring inside the 16th minute when Danny Redmond’s cross picked out Adrian Cieslewicz. The Polish winger guided his header on target but saw the effort pushed onto the post by Kelland Absalom.
The Saints continued to apply the pressure and enjoyed another opportunity which they should have done better with. Cieslewicz picked out Leo Smith in space on the edge of the area but he somehow failed to test Absalom, leaving his manager Harrison with his head in his hands.
But the Saints boss was smiling just after the half-hour mark when his side took the lead through Daniels. It came from a quick breakaway from the JD Cymru Premier leaders as Smith sent Daniels through on goal, and the winger kept his composure before finishing beyond Absalom.
Penybont had a great chance to equalise four minutes before half time after Josh Yorwerth’s flick on found Kai Whitmore, who was denied by an impressive save from Connor Roberts at point-blank range.
Rhys Griffiths’ side could have been level at the break but they found themselves two goals behind in stoppage time at the end of the first half. Cieslewicz’s ball forward looked like it would be dealt with by the Absalom, but Daniels got there first and took the ball beyond the Bont goalkeeper before finishing calmly.
Griffiths sent on Sam Snaith and Lewis Clutton in the second half as his side looked for a route back into the game, and the pair combined well on the hour mark. Clutton’s header down found Snaith free inside the penalty area, but the striker’s effort went wide of the left post.
Clutton then got the better of three Saints players by weaving his way into the penalty area before seeing his shot blocked by Danny Davies.
TNS should have had their third of the afternoon with eight minutes left when Ryan Brobbel’s drag-back gave him space to enjoy a chance in the middle of the box, but he guided his effort wide of the post.
But the Saints’ missed opportunities didn’t prove costly as Daniels’ first-half brace proved to be enough to see them progress to this season’s final against Bala in what will be a repeat of the 2017 final.