CAERNARFON Town opened their JD Cymru Premier campaign with a narrow 1-0 loss at defending champions The New Saints.

The Canaries emerged from the contest at Park Hall with a great deal of credit after matching the full-timers throughout the contest, which is sure to stand Sean Eardley’s side in good stead ahead of their first home fixture of the season against Europa League heroes Connah’s Quay Nomads on Friday night (7.45pm).

The home side were on the front foot from the off and had early penalty claims from Aeron Edwards waved off, before Alex Ramsay pulled off an incredible double save to deny Jamie Mullan with five on the clock.

Jamie Crowther was the first to test home custodian Paul Harrison on 16 minutes with a long-range effort that he tipped over the bar, and the stopper had to be at his best to deny Leo Smith and Sion Bradley soon after during a spell of dominance from the away side.

They were made to pay for their lack of early conviction in front of goal on 27 minutes when TNS were awarded a free-kick following a foul on Mullan, and Ryan Brobbel unleashed a ferocious effort that gave Ramsay no chance to break the deadlock.

Things almost went from bad-to-worse for the Canaries soon after when Greg Draper fluffed his lines when presented with a chance, and the Cofis’ were showing signs of life at the other end with Gruff John, Jamie Breese and Ryan Williams all going close in the pursuit of a leveller.

The introduction of Dean Ebbe after the break gave the home side an injection of pace as they began to tire following their midweek European exploits, and forced Ramsay into another smart save just moments after his introduction.

Edwards and Mullan both failed to find the target with good opportunities midway through the half, and the visitors almost snatched a point from a spirited display late on when Smith fizzed an attempt narrowly wide of the target after good work from substitute Darren Thomas.