Welsh Premier League

The New Saints 2

Connah’s Quay Nomads 1

The New Saints boss Scott Ruscoe believes his side were fully deserving of their crucial comeback win over Connah’s Quay Nomads, which opened up a four-point gap at the top of the Welsh Premier League.

A Callum Morris own goal and a defected Simon Spender strike either side of half-time was enough to give Saints the win, after former Park Hall striker Michael Wilde opened the scoring for Nomads.

Ruscoe felt his side recovered well from their slow start – which saw a goal chalked off before Nomads took the lead – and believes they have shown they can cope with the Deesiders’ ‘rough-and-ready’ approach.

“We planned all week for what we knew was going to happen,” he said.

“But we didn’t know the formation and the starting line-up because they took four or five players out of the team from the previous week.

“They had wing-backs and dynamic players.

“I thought for the first five or 10 minutes, we didn’t do great and we conceded early on.

“But credit to the lads for getting back level and then wanting to go on and get another, playing our way to get the ball down and create.

“As soon as we did that, I thought we were much better at getting to grips with them.

“To be honest, I thought we played better against them away from home and we only got a point. We dominated that game on grass, on a heavy pitch against a physical side where you wouldn’t think that TNS would do that.

“I’m happy that we have got four points against them so far but I would have wanted six from the two games, so it shows we do ok when we play them, plus the cup final last year as well.

“We’re doing ok at the minute – they’re trying to chase us and fair play to them, they closed the gap and they’ve performed well over the last few years.

“That’s how they play; they’re physical, try to rough us up but I also knew they wouldn’t be able to close us down for 90 minutes.

“Once we did have a foothold in the game, there was only going to be one winner because we played it around, passed it and opened them up on several occasions.”

Nomads started stronger and thought they had taken the lead as early as the first minute, but referee Rob Jenkins disallowed the goal after judging TNS skipper and goalkeeper Paul Harrison had been fouled in the build up.

But the visitors were not to be denied on 15 minutes when Wilde jumped early over the grounded Danny Redmond to head home into the corner.

Redmond played his part in getting Saints level again when he calmly collected the ball on the edge of the box to feed Adrian Cieslewicz, whose mazy dribble eventually found Jamie Mullan.

His probing cross was eventually turned into his own net by Morris with Aeron Edwards lurking close on 26 minutes.

There were strong claims from the visitors for a penalty midway through the second half when a long ball down the middle from Lewis Brass found Blaine Hudson grappling with Wilde.

The former Chester man seemed to be in trouble but the referee waived away claims for a spot-kick.

Almost immediately, TNS went up the other end and Spender was on hand to slot home past Brass to earn the win.

There was time for a Nomads leveller but Connor Roberts fired over from seven yards out with an empty net in front of him.