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Season review: Wales

Published: Thursday 23 June 2011, 9.09CET
Bangor City FC clinched their first title since 1995 in a new-look Premier League but were denied the double as Llanelli AFC lifted the Welsh Cup for the first time in their 115-year history.
by Trevor Haylett
Season review: Wales
Bangor's Sion Edwards leads the celebrations after his side clinched the Welsh title ©Christopher Williams
Published: Thursday 23 June 2011, 9.09CET

Season review: Wales

Bangor City FC clinched their first title since 1995 in a new-look Premier League but were denied the double as Llanelli AFC lifted the Welsh Cup for the first time in their 115-year history.

Bangor City FC came out on top in a new-look Welsh Premier League as the 12 clubs split into two groups after 22 games, contesting their final ten fixtures against the other five group opponents. The new format was a success, with attendances rising by nearly 25%, and there was a fairy-tale end to the season as Llanelli AFC won the Welsh Cup for the first time in their 115-year history.

Champions: Bangor City FC
Bangor made an impressive start to the campaign, winning their first 15 games and remaining unbeaten in the league until 2 January. However, they hit rocky waters in the spring and it all came down to a winner-takes-all contest against The New Saints FC on the last day of the season. A draw would have earned TNS a fifth title in seven years but it was Bangor who mounted the podium as a 68th-minute goal from Craig Garside clinched their first title since 1995.

Cup final: Llanelli AFC 4-1 Bangor City FC
Llanelli lifted the Welsh Cup for the first time in their 115-year history with a comfortable victory against Bangor, Rhys Griffiths among the scorers with his 28th and 29th goals of the season. It broke an incredible run by the north Wales club, who had lifted the trophy in each of the last three seasons and were unbeaten in 23 Welsh Cup ties.

European places
Bangor City FC – UEFA Champions League second qualifying round
Llanelli AFC – UEFA Europa League second qualifying round
The New Saints FC – UEFA Europa League first qualifying round
Neath FC – UEFA Europa League first qualifying round

Player of the year: Rhys Griffiths (Llanelli AFC)
For the third time in seven years, Premier League managers chose the Llanelli marksman as their top player. With 25 goals in 28 top-flight appearances, Griffiths was the league's leading scorer for the sixth successive season and was influential in the cup triumph.

One to watch: Chris Jones (Neath FC)
Neath's tricky winger was the pick for the young player of the year award. Jones impressed in his first full season with the south Wales outfit, helping them finish third and qualify for Europe for the first time in their history. The former Swansea City AFC and Grimsby Town FC player was a key figure throughout, particularly early on in the campaign when he scored in three successive games. He ended the season with six goals from 30 league appearances.

Surprise package: Prestatyn Town FC
For a club who only joined the Premier League in 2008/09, the Seasiders' rise has been nothing less than spectacular, ending fifth. This follows a 15th-placed finish in their debut season and a climb to eighth in their second. Neil Gibson's side had a stuttering start, winning one of their first nine league games, but finished strongly and only missed out on a place in the UEFA Europa League courtesy of a 3-1 play-off defeat by Neath.

Leading scorer: Rhys Griffiths, Llanelli AFC (25)

Number: 23
Welsh Cup ties without defeat for Bangor before their 4-1 loss to Llanelli in this season's final.

Relegated: Haverfordwest County AFC

Promoted: Afan Lido FC

Quote
"We came back and won our last three games so for those people who thought we were dead and buried, they don't know Bangor City. That spirit was worth 15 or 20 points to us this season and seeing the supporters celebrating was magical."
Bangor manager Neville Powell salutes his team after clinching the league title

Last updated: 08/07/11 16.53CET

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