Falkirk 0-1 The New Saints: Welsh champions reach SPFL Trust Trophy final as Bairns' cup hopes dashed
Brad Young’s first-half goal was enough to seal progression for Craig Harrison’s team, who extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to 34 outings, and they will now face Airdrieonians in the final.
Falkirk came into the match on the back of a 5-0 victory at Alloa Athletic and they started on top with star winger Callumn Morrison creating the first chance of the tie when he cut inside and forced Connor Roberts into a smart stop down low. Tom Lang then saw a header from a corner kick fly wide of target as John McGlynn’s side looked for an opening goal.
The visitors first chance came on 14 minutes when TNS captain Chris Marriott nearly scored directly from a corner kick, with the howling wind seeing his cross crash off the crossbar.
Craig Harrison’s side by this point had settled into the tie and they looked the team more likely to score. Former Ayr United ace Young did well in the six-yard box to collect a cross and his acrobatic effort was eventually saved by Nicky Hogarth, who had come back into the starting eleven in place of Sam Long.
And just before the half hour mark, the Welsh champions grabbed a crucial opener through the impressive Young. Tom Lang was caught out in possession and Danny Redmond - formerly of Hamilton Accies - forced Hogarth into two excellent saves before the striker eventually tapped home from close range.
Falkirk looked to reply quickly and they surged up the park from kick off, with the ball breaking to Morrison in the box, but his low effort was somehow tipped over the bar by Roberts in net.
But the home side weren’t quite clicking and they went in at the break a goal down after Calvin Miller also passed up a good opportunity on the stroke of half time, sending an effort wide after Ross MacIver did well to find his team-mate.
In the second half, the visitors were quite happy to hit the Bairns on the break and allowed the home side space. MacIver missed a glorious chance early on when he headed over in the box from Coll Donaldson’s lofted cross while Lang also headed wide at the back post after great work from Miller on the touchline.
On the hour mark, Morrison went close with an effort but McGlynn’s side couldn’t find their shooting boots. And Falkirk’s best chance of the half was passed up when Liam Henderson connected with Leon McCann’s deep cross – but the midfielder failed to hit the target after breaking free in front of goal.
The home side huffed and puffed but couldn’t find a way back into the match as TNS reached the final of the SPFL Trust Trophy for the first time.
Falkirk: Hogarth, Yeats, Donaldson, Lang, McCann, Henderson, Spencer, Nesbitt, Morrison, Miller, MacIver.
Subs: Long, Mackie, Bisland, McGinn, Oliver, McCrone, Agyeman, Shanley.
TNS: Roberts, Daniels, Davies, Pask, Marriott, Redmond, Smith, Holden, J Williams, Young (‘26), Brobbel.
Subs: Thompson, McManus, Cieslewicz, Hudson, D Williams, Clark, Baker, Marshall, Jones.
Referee: Chris Graham.
Attendance: 3,582; including 141 away.