By Trevor Haylett
Total Network Solutions FC claimed the League of Wales title last night following a 1-0 victory away to Carmarthen Town AFC, a result that also earned a place in the first qualifying round of next season's UEFA Champions League.
Marc Lloyd-Williams's first-half goal at Richmond Park put Ken McKenna's side out of reach with two games to play. Nearest challengers Rhyl FC, last season's champions, also won tonight, 4-1 at Caernarfon Town FC, to remain eight points behind.
"It's been a hard-fought battle, but we have led the way for most of the season and deserve to be winners," said TNS managing director Mike Harris. The triumph of the Llansantffraid club is especially sweet given that they finished runners-up in each of the previous three seasons. Their only other championship success came in 2000.
TNS, the sole full-time side in the Welsh top flight, have lost just twice in 32 games played so far. In Lloyd-Williams they also have the campaign's most influential player, tonight's decisive strike taking his total to 33 league goals.
TNS's title also brings a reward for Carmarthen. The two teams are to meet in the final of the Welsh Cup on 8 May and, win or lose, the west Wales club are now guaranteed a place in next season's UEFA Cup qualifying round.
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