Ups and downs


J T Hugher Mitsubishi Welsh Premier League
CHAMPIONS
BARRY TOWN

RUNNERS-UP
TOTAL NETWORK SOLUTIONS

OTHER EUROPEAN QUALIFIERS
BANGOR CITY [Intertoto Cup]
CWMBRAN TOWN [Uefa Cup]

RELEGATED
LLANELLI AFC
[Welshpool Town relegated but reinstated on appeal]

PROMOTED

PORTHMADOG F C
[Cymru Alliance champions 2002/3]

PROMOTION DENIED
NEATH AFC
[Welsh League champions 2002/3]

Review of 2003/4
Review of 2004/5

Review of the season
WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN - 2002/3
Steve Anthrobus in action during the 4-0 Welsh Premier win at Caersws
Saints put five past Rhyl in the opening game of the Welsh Premier season
By early January, bookmakers quoted TNS a 1/20 chance to lift the Welsh Premier League title. Three points clear at the top with two games in hand - a racing certainty!
As we all know, backing odds-on shots in racing is the shortest route to the poor house, and so it proved in Welsh football.
Barry Town tracked the leaders for much of the race, drew level at the furlong marker and quickened impressively to the winning line.
A long wait, but worth it! Celebrations for John Toner's early winning strike against Barry Town
So where did it all go wrong for the men from Llansantffraid?
Back in the balmy days of summer, the Saints made an excellent start to the campaign.
Victories over Rhyl, Caersws, Oswestry Town and defending champions Barry, laid the foundations for an unbeaten run that would last until the first day of February.
But, with the exception of a 6-0 away thrashing of Afan Lido, it was obvious that the Saints’ title challenge would be built on a mean defence, rather than an expansive attacking policy.
Perhaps the cracks were beginning to show as early as January.
TNS had to rely on an injury time winner to beat lowly Oswestry at Treflan.
They could only draw at home to Newtown and away at Port Talbot.
The killer blow came at home to Haverfordwest - then the Saints surrendered a two goal half-time lead at Aberystwyth.
The game was up for another season, although the vital European slot was still secure.
What might have been!