Ruscoe's Happy New Year for TNS
SCOTT Ruscoe capped a man-of-the-match display with a brace as The New Saints completed a festive double over neighbours Welshpool with a 2-0 win.
Despite making the brighter start, the visitors faced an uphill struggle from the 12th-minute when "last man" Geraint Windsor was sent-off for bringing down Alfie Carter on the edge of the box.
TNS failed to capitalise from the free-kick but increasing pressure told on the Lilywhites and Carter's inch-perfect pass provided the opening for Ruscoe to score from close range after 33 minutes.
Jamie Wood had earlier spurned a great chance to open the scoring and Michael Taylor's lob from outside the area almost caught keeper Gerard McGuigan unawares before he tipped the ball over the bar to safety.
Wood was wide on the restart from an offside position with Ross Jefferies firing well over from distance in a rare attack by the Lilywhites.
Ruscoe and Steven Beck had shots beaten away by keeper and defence as the Saints went in search of another goal to clinch the points, but McGuigan almost gifted a goal when he cleared the ball straight to Carter, who sent a 35-yard effort sailing just wide of the target.
Saints had to wait until nine minutes from time to make the game safe, when Luke Holden crossed from the left for Ruscoe to forge into the box before planting his shot past McGuigan.
Sub John Toner almost got on the scoresheet from Carl Lamb's lay-off with Ruscoe almost grabbing a hat-trick in injury time, only to see his scorching effort go just over the bar.