Kick off:19:30 Tuesday, 8 Apr 2008
at Belle Vue
Fixture Type: Welsh Premier League
Referee: Mark Whitby
Rhyl 0 - 1 The New Saints
John Toner (57)
A John Toner strike on 57 minutes was enough for TNS to beat Rhyl at Belle Vue this evening and almost definitely guarantee the Runners-Up spot and a place in the UEFA Cup next season. Toner's effort was his fourth goal in two games and the victory means that the Saints are now nine points clear of Rhyl - who have three games to play - with a far superior goal-difference. Saints striker Toner was sublimely picked out by midfielder John Leah as Rhyl were left to rue striker Chris Sharp's first-half misses.
Without top scorer Lee Hunt, who is serving a two-match ban, Rhyl struggled up front in the first half, but Sharp had an effort cleared off the line. Toner came nearest to breaking the deadlock for the visitors in the 36th minute, but his shot on the turn was superbly saved by Lee Kendall in the Rhyl goal.
After the best was again brought out of Kendall from a Mike Wilde effort, he couldn't do anything when Toner put his side ahead shortly afterwards, courtesy of Leah's fine assist. Toner was proving a real handful for the home defenders and he fired narrowly over from Scott Ruscoe's pass.
Rhyl did have a chance to snatch a point late on though, but the prolific Marc Lloyd-Williams fired over as Rhyl's dreams of a UEFA Cup spot faded.
The away win also means that Champions elect Llanelli must keep their championship champagne on ice as a Saints' defeat this evening would have seen the Reds crowned Champions. However, Toner's eighth goal of the campaign ensured the championship race will go on to the weekend. Llanelli currently lead TNS by seven points and should Peter Nicholas' men win at Connah's Quay on Saturday, it would secure their first Principality Welsh Premier title.