Caernarfon Town (5th) v Pen-y-bont (7th) | Saturday – 14:45 (S4C) 

On Saturday afternoon, the 2023/24 JD Cymru Premier season will come to an end when Caernarfon Town welcome Pen-y-bont to the Oval in the European play-off final. 

The New Saints (1st), Connah’s Quay (2nd) and Bala Town (3rd) have already secured their place in the European qualifying rounds for the 2024/25 season, and Caernarfon Town and Pen-y-bont will battle for the final spot on Saturday. 

Last Friday night it took 86 minutes for Caernarfon to open the scoring against Cardiff Met in the semi-final, with Marc Williams and Adam Davies striking late on at the Oval to book the Cofis’ place in the final. 

It was a different story at Latham Park on Saturday afternoon as Pen-y-bont took the lead after just five minutes against Newtown before going on to win comfortably by five to nil with Chris Venables and Gabriel Kircough scoring a brace apiece, before Mark Little crowned the performance with his first goal for the club. 

Of the four clubs that reached the play-offs this year, Pen-y-bont are the only ones who have not previously won the competition, whilst Caernarfon Town are the only ones who have never played in Europe. 

However, Caernarfon Town’s play-off history is one of progress and development. 

Caernarfon Town played in the play-offs for the first time at the end of the 2018/19 season, losing 3-2 at the Oval against Cardiff Met in the semi-final. 

The Cofis went a step further in the 2020/21 season, winning at Barry Town United in the semi-final before losing 5-3 at home to Newtown in the final. 

Then in 2021/22, the Canaries finally won the play-offs by beating Cardiff Met and Flint Town United at the Oval. 

But unfortunately for Caernarfon Town, 2021/22 was the only season where the play-off winners did not reach Europe (due to Wales’s position on the UEFA coefficient list), but instead qualified for the Scottish Challenge Cup, and so the Cofis are still desperate for their first taste of European football. 

In his first full season as Caernarfon Town manager, it would be a fairytale for Richard Davies if he were to become the first man to lead the town to Europe. 

As for Pen-y-bont, they finished 3rd last season and went on to represent Wales in Europe for the first time in their history (losing 3-1 over two legs vs Santa Coloma, Andorra). 

But Pen-y-bont have never won the play-offs, losing in the semi-final against Newtown in 2020/21, followed by another semi-final defeat to Flint Town United in 2021/22. 

And therefore, by beating Newtown last weekend, Pen-y-bont have reached the final for the first time ever and aim to be the 11th different club to win the competition. 


Previous play-off winners and positions: 

2022/23 – Haverfordwest County (7th) 

2021/22 – Caernarfon Town (4th) 

2020/21 – Newtown (7th) 

2019/20 – No play-offs due to Covid-19 

2018/19 – Cardiff Met (7th) 

2017/18 – Cefn Druids (5th) 

2016/17 – Bangor City (4th) 

2015/16 – Connah’s Quay (4th) 

2014/15 – Newtown (6th) 

2013/14 – Bangor City (4th) 

2012/13 – Bala Town (7th) 

2011/12 – Llanelli (4th) 

2010/11 – Neath (3rd) 


Since the formation of the 12-team structure in 2010, the teams that finish 4th or 7th have won the play-offs most often. 

The club that finished 4th has won the play-offs on five occasions, whilst the club in 7th has won four times. 

The team that finished in 7th place has won three of the last four finals. 

Only once have the clubs in 3rd, 5th and 6th place managed to win the competition in the past. 

Momentum is the magic word when discussing the play-offs, and that is certainly on Pen-y-bont’s side with the club on an incredible run of seven games without defeat, and seven games without conceding a single goal (won six, drawn one). 

Pen-y-bont also have a good record against Caernarfon Town as Rhys Griffiths’ team have won their last four contests against the Cofis scoring an average of 3.5 goals per game. 

The clubs have met twice this season and Chris Venables was the star of both games, scoring twice in the 3-2 home win in September, before scoring a hat-trick in a 4-2 victory at the Oval in November. 

But it’s going to be a fiery atmosphere at the Oval on Saturday afternoon as Caernarfon Town try to make history and confirm European qualification for the first time ever. 


Recent form: 

Caernarfon Town: ✅➖❌❌❌ 

Pen-y-bont: ͏✅✅✅✅➖ 

Rhys Llwyd

Author Rhys Llwyd

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