Attempting to solve the Welsh Premier League’s relegation conundrum

Aberystwyth (green) and Newtown (red) are both fighting relegation. (Image: http://www.welsh-premier.com)

The relegation battle in the Corbett Sports Welsh Premier continues to bewilder as the league heads into its penultimate weekend; with Aberystwyth, Newtown and Carmarthen locked in a battle to finish outside of the bottom two, it’s the complexities of promotion that leads to a realm of uncertainty and guesswork.

Each season, two clubs can theoretically be promoted – one from north/mid-Wales feeder, the Cymru Alliance, and another from the south in the Welsh League.

Due to the restrictive infrastructure at a lot of the clubs outside of the top-flight, clubs need to successively apply for a domestic licence through the Football Association of Wales (FAW) in order to achieve promotion – that is of course, should they want to go up as in the case of Goytre United.

In recent years the village side on the edge of Port Talbot twice won the Welsh League but elected not to apply for promotion – limited infrastructure and budget outweighed the pros of playing in the highest level of the Welsh pyramid and the club happily continued playing in the localised second-tier.

This season, there was interest from both sections of the second-tier to go up. GAP Connah’s Quay were successfully awarded the licence a week before wrapping up the Cymru Alliance championship to cement their return to the Welsh Premier League. But it is in the south where the confusion reigns.

Haverfordwest County along with the Bridgend Town expressed their desire to play in the top tier; County gained the domestic licence whilst Bridgend were left to contemplate an appeal. But as things currently stand, neither are side are certain to achieve a top-two finish in the Welsh League.

The Welsh League schedule overruns that of the Welsh Premier League, the club which finishes 11th in the table will face a nervous wait to learn their fate and find out whether Haverfordwest finish high enough in the table to gain promotion.

Meanwhile on the field, fate is in Aberystwyth Town’s hands. A point on Friday evening at home to Airbus UK would guarantee the Seasiders of avoiding 12th spot, although they could still find themselves in the precarious 11th spot. A win on the final day of the season, also at Park Avenue (Aber being the only club with the advantage of ending the season with two home games) would condemn Newtown to the drop.

The league’s bottom team, Newtown will definitely be relegated, if they lose to Port Talbot on Saturday, or if Carmarthen equal or better their result. A last day win over Aberystwyth Town is an absolute must.

Carmarthen Town host out-of-form Afan Lido before Port Talbot Town and must overturn Aberystywth’s point advantage by bettering Aberystywtyth’s in the final two games to guarantee safety.

The run-in:
Aberystwyth Town (27 pts): Airbus UK (H), Newtown (H)
Carmarthen Town (26 pts): Afan Lido (H), Port Talbot (A)
Newtown (22 pts): Port Talbot (H), Aberystwyth (A)

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