The New Saints FC were crowned champions of the Welsh Premier League for the fourth time in six years thanks to a 3-1 win away to Aberystwyth Town FC on the final day of the campaign.
They won the title by two points from Llanelli AFC who, despite a herculean effort in the final week of the season, had to settle for second place. At the start of the week TNS, who were last champions in 2007, held an eight-point lead over their rivals from west Wales, who played eight games in the last 20 days of the season because of fixture congestion.
Llanelli won on Tuesday and Thursday to take it to the wire, then won their final game 5-1 away to Prestatyn Town FC, but TNS pipped them to the post thanks to three second-half goals, including two from Chris Sharp, at Park Avenue and will go into the UEFA Champions League first qualifying round. Captain Steve Evans, scorer of the second goal in the 3-1 win, said: "It's been a long season but I think we fully deserve this and the boys are chuffed to bits."
With only 13 goals conceded TNS sent a new defensive record for the Welsh League, beating their own record of 17 set in 2005/06. TNS's triumph brought success second time round for coach Andy Cale, who was in charge when the Oswestry-based club won their first Welsh title in 2000. He also worked alongside manager Ken McKenna between 2004-07 when they won their other three titles. TNS will try and make it a double on Tuesday when they face Rhyl FC in the League Cup final at Newtown.
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