Ruscoe shows strikers the way to goal
HONOURS ended even at a sun-baked Treflan as TNS shared the spoils in what was surprisingly the first-ever meeting with their relatively near neighbours from Telford.
Both managers took heart from the game, with their respective sides depleted through injury and illness.
Telford’s Bernard McNally was without five players, but his side battled hard to contain Saints and took the lead two minutes after the break through manager's son Luke.
Tom Griffin's good run down the right provided the opportunity and McNally controlled well before slotting the ball past TNS keeper Ged Doherty for a surprise lead.
Home boss Ken McKenna was also missing five regulars with a flu virus and brought in two of Aberystwyth’s departed Merseysiders, with ex-manager Gary Finley in the heart of defence and John Lawless on the left wing.
Despite bossing possession for much of the game, the TNS strikers could make little impression and it took midfielder Scott Ruscoe to spare their blushes with a superb 25-yard strike into Stuart Brock's top corner with six minutes remaining.
TNS had opened brightly with Wilde and Wood both going close in the first seven minutes. Sean Parrish sent a 20-yarder whistling over Doherty's bar and Telford keeper Brock did well to keep out a fierce drive from Lawless.
In a spell of sustained TNS pressure before the break, Ruscoe's edge of the box shot was saved, the midfielder again saw a shot go close and Wood knocked down for Naylor to fire wide from 20 yards.
After the Bucks had taken the lead, both sides found chances hard to come by for a while, but the introduction of Steve Evans after a jaw injury put Telford under renewed pressure.
The defender saw two headers fly just wide, another hit the foot of a Telford post and a fourth was ruled out for offside as he proved the Saints' most potent attacking threat.
Toner worked a good chance after Ruscoe's goal but fired over, with Ryan McKnight nearly grabbing a winner for Telford after Evans had been caught out in defence.
TNS boss McKenna felt the game had been a good workout. “We had a lot of possession but the end product just wasn’t there today,” he said, confirming that he has moved to beef up his strikeforce by serving seven days’ notice of approach for Aberystwyth’s Lee Spike.