Welsh League Midweek Round-up: Cwmamman United secure D1 status as two former WL champions are relegated
Cwmamman United secured their Welsh League Division status with a 2-0 home win over Undy Athletic on Tuesday night. Craig Spring and Colin Harris with second-half goals at Grenig Park.
The win, along with Monmouth Town’s 1-0 defeat at Briton Ferry Llansawel, moves United up to 13th in the table and they cannot be overtaken by those below them.
Despite still having five games to play, Cwmamman United will play in Division One next season because Monmouth Town have completed all of their fixtures and while Caerau Ely still have two matches to play, they are 12 points behind Cwmamman (following a home loss to Goytre in midweek).
It completes a remarkable turnaround for the Amman Valley club under Eirian Rees, who was appointed as Mark Snell’s replacement at the end of February with Cwmamman United bottom of the table. Since taking over Rees has helped Cwmamman accumulate 20 points from 10 games (6 wins and 2 draws).
There has been no confirmation yet of how many clubs will be relegated from Division One (it will be two or three), but there was a twist in the tale yesterday with the announcement from the FAW regarding Tier 2 licences. Caerau Ely and Monmouth Town both failed their tier 2 assessments and will certainly be relegated to Division Two. There may be a reprieve for bottom club Ton Pentre, who have received a licence, but it depends entirely on how many relegation places are awarded in Division One.
The Division Two promotion picture is complicated enough before you even factor in Tier 2 criteria. Let’s consider matters on the pitch first.
Leaders STM Sports’ title bid suffered another blow on Wednesday night when they were beaten 3-0 at Pontardawe Town. The STM cause wasn’t helped by a red card for Callum Bateman, forcing the league leaders to play more than half the match with ten men. Second-half goals from Craig Davies, Josh Dorward and Sam Brown gave Pontardawe the win.
On Tuesday night Llantwit Major won at fellow promotion challengers Garden Village. Young striker Sam Snaith scored both goals (to follow his double against Pontypridd Town at the weekend), moving Major up to second and three points behind STM Sports with three games in hand.
Pontypridd Town took advantage of Ammanford being the only promotion challenger without a fixture, winning 3-0 at Croesyceiliog and ending a run of three consecutive away defeats. Scott Hillman, Dan Hooper and Luke Gullick were on the scoresheet for The Dragons. As well as pushing Pontypridd up to third, it was a happy return to a former club for Pontypridd co-manager Dominic Broad.
Aberbargoed Buds made it six wins on the bounce with a 4-0 home win over struggling Dinas Powys. Buds remain very much in title contention, although there will be no promotion for them as they did not apply for a tier 2 licence.
Of the five promotion contenders then, all but Pontypridd Town were granted tier 2 compliance for next season. There will no doubt be an appeal to consider for The Dragons, but while their status remains in limbo it leaves promotion from Division Two even more of a mystery. Promotion may depend on both ground compliance and league position, i.e. clubs will need both a tier 2 licence and finish in the top 3 to gain promotion. If Pontypridd Town were to finish in the top 3 but unable to fulfil tier 2 ground criteria, it will mean the Welsh League has a puzzle to solve and potential permutations to be felt lower down the pyramid.
The best of the Division Three action concerned the battle to stay in the Welsh League. Here is another scenario without much clarification regarding how many clubs will be relegated. The situation seems to be nothing is to be taken for granted and every club near the bottom is still scrapping for points.
On paper it looks like Neuadd Wen, Ely Rangers, Treowen Stars and Chepstown Town are the clubs at risk. Panteg’s position doesn’t look great and they could do with winning some of their games in hand to steer clear of relegation dogfight.
On Tuesday night Neuadd Wen secured a vital win, defeating fellow strugglers Ely Rangers 3-1 at Station Road. The result meant Neuadd Wen moved above Ely Rangers to 15th and dumping their rivals to the bottom of the Welsh League on goal difference. Also on Tuesday night, Chepstow Town were defeated 3-2 away to Treharris Athletic Western. Heading into the weekend Chepstow have a 10 point gap over 15th placed Neuadd Wen and a six-point advantage over Treowen Stars in 14th, but have played three more games than both.
There was more action still. On Thursday night Treowen Stars continued their recent resurgence and heaped more woe on bottom-club Ely Rangers with a 2-1 home win. The win moves Treowen Stars four points clear of the bottom two. Panteg gained a valuable point from a 2-2 draw with Penrhiwceiber Rangers at Panteg House.
(Featured Image: Lee Vaughan)