Caernarfon Town strike very late to win Cymru Premier play-off final

A champagne moment as Caernarfon Town celebrate their play-off final success. Picture: JOHN SMITH FAW

JD CYMRU PREMIER PLAY-OFF FINAL 2021-22

Caernarfon Town 2 (Daniel Gosset 99, Laurie Bell 120)
Flint Town United 1 (Ben Nash 105)

Midfield magician Laurie Bell wrote his name into Caernarfon Town folklore after scoring the last-gasp goal which secured the Canaries a first-ever trophy as a Cymru Premier club.

Bell’s 120th minute towering header sealed a 2-1 victory for the Cofis in today’s JD Cymru Premier play-off final at The Oval.

The win over fellow North Wales side Flint qualifies Huw Griffiths’ men for the Scottish Challenge Cup.

In any other season the result would have sent Caernarfon into Europe for the first time, but rules have changed with just three European places now available to Welsh clubs instead of four.

The Canaries had made it to the play-off final 12 months earlier, when a Uefa Europa Conference League spot was up for grabs, but on that occasion they were beaten 5-3 by Newtown.

Caernarfon Town manager Huw Griffiths celebrates. Pic By John Smith/FAW

While disappointed that today’s success does not deliver a Euro reward, Town manager Griffiths was nonetheless delighted to win a major final.

“This is huge – our first trophy in the Welsh Prem,” said Griffiths.

What a moment for match-winner Laurie Bell and Caernarfon Town. Pic By John Smith/FAW

“Unfortunately it doesn’t get us into Europe, but it’s still amazing for us to give something back to these fans after (the disappointment of) last year.”

Caernarfon had beaten Flint three times out of four during the 2021-22 season, but they were made to work hard for their win today.

Caernarfon Town fans are overjoyed by their team’s success. Pic By John Smith/FAW

Flint were quick off the mark, Sam Hart closing down keeper Jakub Ojrzynski and the ball came to Mike Wilde whose effort was well blocked.

Jonathan Rushton saved well from a Mike Hayes strike but at the end of a fairly even first half it stood at 0-0.

A delighted Caernarfon assistant-manager Richard Owain Davies. Pic By John Smith/FAW

Caernarfon were unlucky not to earn a penalty when Kai Edwards clearly handled his brother Noah’s goalbound shot.

Rushton continued to perform admirably in the second half, while Ben Nash clipped the bar at the other end.

In the 88th minute Flint nearly pinched it when Wilde’s header from a Hart free kick came back off the post.

Into extra time and the deadlock was finally broken in the 99th minute with a wonderful goal.

Iwan Cartwright fed the ball into Daniel Gosset, who turned Kai Edwards on a sixpence and netted with a fierce right-foot drive.

Laurie Bell will be remembered forever by Caernarfon fans after scoring the play-off final winner. Pic By John Smith/FAW

Flint were level in the 105th minute when Jake Phillips’ cross was cleared, the ball was hit into the ground somewhat hopefully and Nash showed superb sharpness to volley in from 10 yards.

It looked like penalties were coming up until, in the final minute, Cartwright played the ball to the left where Hayes crossed smartly and Bell rose to perfection to score with a bullet header.

What a moment for the 29-year-old, who was with Manchester City as a youth and has played professionally in the USA and Sweden before spells at Macclesfield Town and Hyde United prior to joining Caernarfon in March.

Action from the final. Pic By John Smith/FAW

Caernarfon Town

Jakub Ojrzynski, Iwan Cartwright, Gruffydd John, Dion Donohue, Sion Bradley (Cai Jones 114), Daniel Gosset, Michael Hayes, Rob Hughes (Aaron Simpson 90), Noah Edwards, Josef Faux, Laurie Bell. Subs not used: Tyler French (gk), Ryan Williams, Bobby Beaumont-Broadhead, Cai Griffith, Fabrizio Murtas.

Flint Town United

Jonathan Rushton, Jake Phillips, Samuel Hart (Jack Higgins 120), Ben Maher, Ben Nash, Kai Edwards, Alex Jones, Michael Wilde, Callum Bratley (Mark Cadwallader 118), Conor Harwood, Daniel Harrison. Subs not used: Ryan Woods (gk), Daniel Roberts, Ross Weaver, Liam Ellis, Sonny Ward.

ATTENDANCE: 507.

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