By Trevor Haylett
The final day of the League of Wales season, the title already clinched by Total Network Solutions FC, resolved the only remaining issue of who was to fill the two relegation places. Defeats for both Afan Lido FC and Cefn Druids AFC left them facing a future in the lower leagues.
Afan Lido finished in 18th and last place after a 2-1 defeat at Welshpool Town FC which followed last week's double reverse against Connah's Quay Nomads FC and Flexys. At the same time a 3-0 home loss to Rhyl FC condemned Flexys to the drop as well.
Afan Lido appeal
However, the situation is complicated by the fact that if no club qualifies for promotion from the South Wales feeder league then Druids will escape. And if Afan Lido win their appeal against a decision by a League of Wales commission to dock them three points for fielding an ineligible player in their home match with Airbus UK FC, then the Aberavon side's seven-year stay among the élite would be extended. Ironically, that would put third-from-bottom Airbus in jeopardy. They suffered a 3-0 last-day defeat at Caersws FC.
TNS clinched the title with two games to spare and have set their sights on getting past the UEFA Champions League first qualifying round. So far the only Welsh representatives to taste victory in a Champions League tie are Barry Town AFC.
The champions conceded two late goals to end their season with a 2-2 draw at Port Talbot Town FC, thus completing the campaign with only two defeats in 38 games. They now look forward to 8 May and the chance to secure the double when they contest the Welsh Cup final against Carmarthen Town AFC. TNS's league triumph means that win or lose, Carmarthen will enter the UEFA Cup first qualifying round.
Second place went to deposed title-holders Rhyl who also go into the UEFA Cup. They were four points behind the champions after sharing the same number of victories - 23 - but losing four matches more. Bangor City FC finished third, seven points behind Rhyl, but signed off on a sour note, losing at home to Carmarthen. Bangor will take part in the UEFA Intertoto Cup in June where they will face a side from Latvia.
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