Barring a dramatic collapse of epic proportions, The New Saints have a clear run to land their eighth-league championship, surpassing Barry Town’s previous record.
On Wednesday night the green and white hoops of Celtic won their third-straight Scottish title. Celtic’s stranglehold on the SPL may not be completely parallel to that in the WPL, but Airbus’ shock home defeat to Connah’s Quay midweek left the Welsh Premier League title a formality, with the green and white hoops of TNS fixed firmly on course for their third league title in a row.
The Saints can extend their lead at the top of the table to six-points, with a game in hand, if they can overcome Rhyl at home on Friday night. Another home defeat for Airbus against Bangor City the following day will be enough for TNS, with a vastly superior goal difference, to all but seal the league title with a win against Newtown next Tuesday.
Should events do play out as above then The New Saints could officially claim the title in their fixture against Airbus next month. Such a scenario would undoubtedly make for uncomfortable viewing for Andy Preece’s on-looking squad, who have fought hard to force the league’s only fully-professional outfit for almost the duration of the season, though have ultimately fallen short.
Preece has however comfortably met the club’s initial objective of European qualification and has lauded his side for doing so. European football will provide the club with revenue off their field and provide another the Wingmakers squad with another good learning curve, yet Preece’s fiercely determined nature is likely see him spend the summer stewing over what perhaps could’ve been and plotting his side’s assault on the title for next season.
FIVE RESULTS WHICH DERAILED AIRBUS’ TITLE CHARGE:
Airbus 1-2 Connah’s Quay, Tuesday 25th March
Airbus led a one-goal lead slip away in the Deeside derby before relegation-battling Connah’s Quay grabbed a late winner, preserving TNS’ three point lead and giving them games in hand.
Rhyl 2-0 Airbus, Monday 17th February
Two goals inside the final few minutes proved to be the undoing of Airbus on their Monday night visit to the North Wales coast.
Port Talbot 1-1 Airbus, Saturday 4th January
The signing of Newtown captain Andy Jones would prove costly to the Wingmakers, as an administrative error saw the centre-forward made his debut in a hard-fought draw with Port Talbot despite technically being illegible. An FAW disciplinary panel promptly docked the club one point.
Airbus 0-1 Bangor, Friday 15th November
A subdued Airbus side were handed their second defeat on the bounce in a bad-tempered home defeat to Bangor.
Aberystwyth 2-1 Airbus, Friday 8th November
An 11-match unbeaten run was ended at Park Avenue when the hosts quickly gave themselves a two-goal lead. Steve Abbott’s second-half strike proved to be no more than a consolation in a closely-fought game.