Only one game left to play in the JD Cymru Premier season and it’s going to be a fascinating encounter as Caernarfon Town host Newtown in the play-off final with a ticket to the UEFA Europa Conference League and €200,000 prize money at stake!
PLAY-OFF FINAL 2020/21
Caernarfon Town (6th) v Newtown (7th) | Saturday – 12:00 (S4C)
After winning at Jenner Park for the first time since 2004 last Saturday, Caernarfon Town are now only 90 minutes away from securing European football for the first time in their history.
This will be the Canaries’ first appearance in the play-off final, following their 2-3 loss to Cardiff Met in the semi–finals back in 2019.
It’s been a frustrating season for the Caernarfon Town fans who have been desperate to support their side at the Oval, but a ticket to Europe would be the perfect thank you gift from Huw Griffiths to the Cofi Army who have stuck by the club throughout the pandemic.
Contrary to Caernarfon, Newtown do have experience of winning the play-offs, and therefore have had a taste of European football.
The mid-Wales Robins have competed in six of the last seven play-off competitions, and were victorious in 2014/15 after beating Aberystwyth Town in the final.
The 2015 European campaign was a memorable one for Chris Hughes’ side as Newtown managed to beat Maltese side Valletta to reach the Europa League second qualifying round where they were knocked out by Danish giants, Copenhagen.
David Jones, Craig Williams, Shane Sutton and Kieran Mills-Evans have all enjoyed European success with the Robins and are eager for another shot on the continent.
12 of the Newtown squad have had previous experience of playing in Europe, including James Davies and Jordan Evans who both played for Cefn Druids under Huw Griffiths, following the Ancients’ play-off final victory in 2018.
From the Caernarfon Town squad, keeper Lewis Brass and striker Mike Hayes are the two players who have had a real bite of European football.
Both players have made six appearances in Europe, with Lewis Brass famously keeping a clean sheet for Connah’s Quay in their remarkable win against Kilmarnock in 2019.
Newtown finished the season in the Bottom Six, but have been able to build momentum ahead of the play-offs, winning seven from 10 since the split, while Caernarfon Town won only once in the Top Six.
This will be the 10th time a Welsh club will qualify for Europe through the play-offs, and only once in the previous nine campaigns has the 6th placed team gone on to win, which was Newtown in 2014/15.
Another statistic that might worry the Cofis is that the 6th placed team has lost all of the last four play-off finals.
A good omen for Newtown, as the 7th placed side have won the play-offs twice (Cardiff Met 18/19, Bala Town 12/13).
Bangor City are the only team to have won the play-offs twice (12/13 and 16/17), but Newtown will be hoping to join the club this Saturday.
The winners of Saturday’s match will go on to represent Wales in the UEFA Europa Conference League first qualifying round this July, along with The New Saints and Bala Town, while champions Connah’s Quay will be competing in the Champions League.
The draw for the qualifiers will be made on 15 June.
Previous results: Newtown 2-3 Caernarfon Town, Caernarfon Town 1-1 Newtown
Caernarfon Town: ➖✅❌❌✅