Carmarthen Town turned in a tireless performance on Tuesday night to beat The New Saints and seal a third-place finish in the table. The Europa League play-offs could now begin as soon as next Monday…
Carmarthen will be at home for the duration of their play-off campaign and look serious contenders to take the Welsh Premier League’s final European qualification spot, on the evidence of their deserved 1-0 victory over TNS.
Though it was only a well-taken second-half header from Christian Doidge that separated the two sides, the win was as much as Carmarthen deserved against the champions, who understandably travelled to South Wales with an eye on Saturday’s Welsh Cup final.
The Saints named a strong side with the influential trio of Aeron Edwards, Sam Finley and Michael Wilde all starting but Carmarthen dominated proceedings from the off, spurning a host of chances in a goalless first-half.
Carmarthen’s dominance continued into the second-half and they eventually found the breakthrough when Luke Cummings outpaced Chris Marriott to deliver a precise cross for Doidge to head home.
It’s been a good week for Cummings and Doidge, who can look forward to resuming training with Newport County on Thursday and Friday.
TNS finished the game with a youthful midfield of Ryan Edwards, Ryan Kershaw and youth-team debutant Fisnik Hadjari being out-fought by the hosts, with the result never in doubt as Carmarthen pipped Bangor City to a third-place finish on goal difference, allowing the play-off line to take some shape.
Confusingly, the play-offs could commence as soon as this coming Monday.
If Aberystwyth (finished in seventh place but already assured of European football via the Welsh Cup) beat The New Saints in the Welsh Cup final, then eighth-placed Bala Town will be granted a play-off spot.
Should Aber win the Welsh Cup, Bala go straight into a play-off qualifier against Rhyl at Belle Vue on Monday – this would then determine the semi-final line up:
- Carmarthen Town vs Rhyl/Bala Town @ Richmond Park
- Bangor City vs Newtown @ Nantporth
All play-off games are played over one leg with the team finishing higher in the league having home advantage.
In the meanwhile, attentions now shift to Saturday’s Welsh Cup final. I’ll have a few blogs up between now and Saturday looking ahead to the big game, so stay tuned!