Total Network Solutions 2-1 Cwmbran Town
Wood's first half effort just goes over the bar.
J T Hughes Mitsubishi Welsh Premier
Saturday 3 January 2004: Home - Treflan
TNS opened up a three point gap at the top of the Welsh Premier with a 2-1 victory over struggling Cwmbran Town.
The margin of victory would have been greater, but for some fine saves from Crows' keeper Marty Ellacott and some poor finishing.
Saints produced a workmanlike performance from an injury-hit side and went ahead rather fortuitously after 25 minutes when Richard Hurlin was adjudged to have elbowed Jamie Wood in the box, and the striker stroked home the resulting penalty.
Chris Taylor came close to adding a second five minutes later and Wood twice went close before Ellacott tipped Mike Wilde's fierce shot onto the post for a corner.
Wilde headed over from Ruscoe's cross after 51 minutes and the same combination doubled Saints' advantage four minutes later.
The Cwmbran defence failed to clear Ruscoe's cross and Wilde was on hand to net at the far post.
Wood hit the side netting from a good position after Chris King had split the visitors' defence and Ruscoe also spurned a good chance.
Cwmbran produced a sting in the tail with three minutes left, when Chris Summers took advantage of Chris Taylor's mistimed tackle on the edge of the box to run on and score.
Manager Ken McKenna said: "We didn't play as well as we can, but their keeper kept them in it with two fine saves.
"To be honest, morale is pretty low in the squad at the moment, because we have so many injuries - I would have been on the bench myself if I didn't have a cold and Steven Beck went on even though he is not fit.
"But if we can keep getting the right results while we are below strength, I will be happy"
Haverfordwest hold Rhyl
Andy Moran's miss from the spot proved costly for second placed Rhyl as they were held 1-1 by third placed Haverfordwest at Belle Vue. Rhyl fell behind to a Rhys Griffiths goal, before new capture Lee Hunt levelled 10 minutes later.
Aberystwyth scored after 52 seconds at The Oval, but surrendered a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 with Dylan Owen grabbing Caernarfon's late winner.
Bangor crashed 3-1 at Welshpool after being reduced to nine men, and Newtown moved into sixth spot with a 1-0 win at Afan Lido.