Welsh League Round-Up – Pontypridd Town stage incredible comeback as the D2 title race thrills once more
With 15 minutes left on the clock at USW Sports Park on Saturday, Welsh League Division Two title chasing Pontypridd Town found themselves 4-1 down at home to Pontardawe Town.
By full time The Dragons had completed one of the most remarkable comebacks, winning the game 5-4. A hat-tick from Luke Gullick helped Pontypridd take three points and stay third in Division Two.
The prospect of promotion remains up in the air for The Dragons following their unsuccessful application for the FAW tier 2 licence next season. What is certain, the outcome of any appeal will only be worth it should Pontypridd finish among Division Two’s top three.
With leaders STM Sports not in action this weekend, Llantwit Major took advantage and joined them on 56 points. Sam Snaith celebrated his 18th birthday with a hat-trick as they routed Risca United 5-0 at Windmill Lane. Only goal difference separates STM from Major, but Karl Lewis’ side have two games in hand still.
Fellow title contenders, Ammanford and Aberbargoed Buds maintain their recent winning runs. Craig Frater scored a brace as Ammanford won 5-0 at Dinas Powys to make it eight wins on the bounce, while the Buds came away from Abergavenny Town with a 2-0 win – their seventh consecutive win. Garden Village also maintained their flickering hopes of promotion with a 3-2 win at Croesyceiliog.
At the bottom, AFC Porth earned their first point of the season at Dinas Park, drawing 1-1 with West End.
In Division Three the race for promotion saw a big twist again as Trefelin BGC suffered another home loss. This time it was in-form Treharris Athletic Western that left Ynys Park with the points, defeating the Welsh Football League Cup finalists 5-2. Bridgend Street took advantage by winning 2-1 at Penrhiwceiber Rangers thanks to a late Jeff White winner.
The gap between Trefelin and Bridgend Street is now just six points. However, Bridgend have two games in hand and a much superior goal difference, leaving the pursuit for second place behind champions-elect Swansea University wide open.
Swansea University did not play this weekend but can seal promotion and the Division Three title with a win at Caerau on Thursday.
In the battle for survival Treowen Stars took another big step towards safety with a 1-0 home win over Ynysygerwn. Ely Rangers and Neuadd Wen swapped positions again when their meeting at Aberbargoed’s Recreation Ground ended with a 2-1 win for Ely Rangers.
It remains unclear how many teams will be relegated from the Welsh League this season, but Saturday’s win was a massive result for Ely Rangers who have played three games more than both Neuadd Wen and Treowen Stars.
Chepstow Town lost 2-1 at Tredegar Town, which means they remain at risk if three teams are relegated. Panteg eased any concerns about their position with a 3-1 home win over Pontyclun. The Griffithstown club still have a further eight games to play and two more wins will guarantee their survival.
In Division One there were three games. Haverfordwest County won an exciting game at Cwmbran Celtic 3-2. Three goals in a five-minute spell in the first half put Haverfordwest in firm control. Chris Ham reduced the deficit before half-time from the penalty spot, then lifted a free kick over the wall in the second-half to set-up the finale. A red card for Cwmbran Celtic seemed to have scuppered the hosts’ hopes of taking something from the game, but they continued to press and created several opportunities to equalise in the final stages.
The win moves Haverfordwest County level on points with Penybont. A point in their final match at Caerau Ely will guarantee Haverfordwest County second place behind champions Llanelli Town.
In Division One’s other results, there was another win for Cwmamman United as they defeated bottom club Ton Pentre 2-1 at Grenig Park. Relegated Caerau Ely restored some pride with a 3-2 win over Briton Ferry Llansawel at Cwrt-Yr-Ala.
Below the Welsh League…
Penydarren BGC confirmed the inevitable and secured the South Wales Alliance League Premier Division title on Saturday with a 2-0 win over Cardiff Draconians at The Bont. As champions of the South Wales Alliance League, the Merthyr Tydfil club will be promoted to the Welsh Football League for the 2018/19 season.
In the Gwent League Abertillery Bluebirds remain in pole position for the Division One title and Welsh League promotion. However, the Bluebirds have completed their campaign and hold a five point advantage over Albion Rovers, but Rovers still have two games to play.
(Featured Image: Darren Griffiths)