Who needs what? The top six race explained
After Cefn Druids’ shock 1-0 win over Aberystwyth Town on Saturday evening, the race for the Dafabet Welsh Premier League’s top six became clearer.
Yet with the final fixture card of phase one still to be played, a number of outcomes are still possible.
Here, we take a look at the teams involved in the race, and what they need to do secure the top six, a subsequent place in the Europa League play-offs and absolute safety from relegation.
As it stands
Table courtesy of Sgorio.
Aberystwyth Town: Bottom six confirmed Position: 8th Final Phase One fixture: Cardiff Met (H)
Aberystwyth Town Manager Matthew Bishop was heavily involved in the transfer window before Town’s meeting with Cefn Druids, bringing in Lee Healey, Chris Mullock, Jon Owen and Jamie Crowther .
With such reinforcements, Aberystwyth went into the game as favourites against 11th placed Druids, looking for a win that would send them seventh and set up a major clash with Cardiff Met to decide the final top six place.
This prospect was however undone by a late Adam Eden goal, which in the 85th minute sunk Aber’s hope of a top six finish.
The result means they cannot qualify, and will now look to fight for Europe by finishing seventh, the final position for Europa League play-off entry.
Cardiff Met FC: All but qualified Position: 5th Final Phase One fixture: Aberystwyth (A)
There was no club keeping track of the Aberystwyth game closer than Cardiff Met, as the result all but confirms the Students will play in the top six during phase two.
On 28 points, they can only finish as low as sixth due to inferior goal difference – the only way they could slip into the bottom six would be the drastic event of rivals Carmarthen and Llandudno scoring 20 goals without conceding between each other this coming Saturday.
Although the champagne remains on ice for Cardiff until they are a fully fledged top six side, it certainly seems that an impressive phase one under the guidance of manager Dr Christian Edwards has paid off, and all in their first season of Dafabet Welsh Premier League football.
They will be in jubilant spirits ahead of their final phase one game at Aberystwyth, where regardless of the result they will be celebrating a sensational top six qualification.
Carmarthen Town: Must win or draw Position: 6th Final Phase One fixture: Cefn Druids (H)
Having been involved in a complex top six race for most of phase one, Carmarthen have a straight forward ultimatum on Saturday against Cefn Druids; win and qualify.
The Old Gold are sixth, and a win will see them enter the top six for the first time since the 2013/14 season, as their main rivals Llandudno will be not be able to catch them if they go from their current 27 points to the 30 mark.
Carmarthen’s second option is to draw – which will still give them top six football – as long as Llandudno do not overturn a goal difference of -11 to Carmarthen’s 0. This highly unlikely event will be of some comfort to Carmarthen, but a win will remain the sole goal in front of a home crowd and live S4C cameras.
They could even finish as high as fifth on Saturday evening if Cardiff Met lose or draw, but this is an irrelevant factor with qualification the only aim for Mark Aizlewood’s men.
Llandudno FC: Must win and Carmarthen must lose to Cefn Druids Position: 7th Final Phase One fixture: Rhyl FC (H)
The final entrants in the top six race are Llandudno, who have endured a difficult phase one so far despite playing in Europe during the summer and storming into the top six during their inaugural Welsh Premier season.
They are the dark horses of Saturday’s final phase one card, but must rely on other results as well as their own.
Llandudno must take all three points against Rhyl, and hope a Druids side, boosted by their defeat of Aberystwyth, pull off another upset in beating Carmarthen.
This, due to their poor goal difference, is their only hope of qualifying for the top six and pushing on to compete in Europe again.
With just one game left until the split, the race for the top six will once again go to the final whistle – with plenty of twists and turns possible on Saturday evening. All games kick off at 5:15pm.
Stay tuned for more build up as the race for the top six reaches its finale right here at YClwbPelDroed.org, @YClwbPelDroed and our official Facebook page.