TNS 3 FK Decic 0

The New Saints defeated FK Dečić 3-0 at Park Hall Stadium to get their UEFA Champions League campaign off to the perfect start on Tuesday night.

Brad Young scored twice inside the opening 30 minutes to put Craig Harrison’s side in control of the tie, before Danny Davies added a third goal for the JD Cymru Premier champions seven minutes before the break.

The second-half was more cagey, but the Saints defended well to preserve their advantage ahead of the second leg in Podgorica next Tuesday.

It was a positive start from Craig Harrison’s side and it took them just four minutes to make the breakthrough.

A superb right-sided cross from Josh Daniels found the head of Brad Young on the edge of the six-yard box, and the former Aston Villa man powered his effort past the goalkeeper.

Five minutes later, Young was causing problems again, but visiting goalkeeper Igor Nikić managed to gather at the second attempt.

Action from TNS' victory over Decic. Picture by Andrew Donnison.


Action from TNS' victory over Decic. Picture by Andrew Donnison.

In the 28th minute, however, the number 23 finally did get his second goal, but there was a nervy wait following a lengthy VAR review.

After initially heading the ball in off the post, referee Bram Van Driessche delayed play while an offside was checked. It was a near three minute wait for the JD Cymru Premier champions but the goal was eventually awarded to the team in green and white.

The visitors could have pulled a goal back in the 37th minute but Matija Božanović failed to hit the target after receiving the ball in the centre of the penalty area.

Action from TNS' victory over Decic. Picture by Andrew Donnison.

It proved to be a crucial moment too as less than 60 seconds later Danny Davies pounced on a loose ball inside the box following Ryan Brobbel’s corner to make the score 3-0 to the New Saints.

Things took a while to get going again following the restart but Young went close to a hat-trick with a volleyed effort with 65 minutes on the clock.

Thirteen minutes from time Jonathan Drešaj went close to an equaliser with a powerful strike from the edge of the penalty area but the Blues’ captain failed to test Roberts in the TNS goal.

Jack Bodenham and Ryan Brobbel then went close as the half drew to an end but both were denied by good saves from visiting goalkeeper Nikić.

The second leg takes place at the Podgorica City Stadium next Tuesday (July 16th), and the New Saints will be looking to secure a place in the second qualifying round for the first time since 2019.