Welsh Premier play-off final – Caernarfon Town v Flint Town United (Saturday, May 14, 2 pm)

Flint (stripes) and Caernarfon in battle at the Essity Stadium on April 5. Picture: FLINT TOWN UNITED WEBSITE – many thanks

JD CYMRU PREMIER PLAY-OFF FINAL 2021-22

CAERNARFON TOWN v FLINT TOWN UNITED
Saturday, May 14, 2 pm at The Oval, Caernarfon

After a Cymru Premier League season where we were transported back in time to the predictable old days of the early ‘Super 12’, it is refreshing to have an all-North Wales final to look forward to.

Two of the ‘old school’ clubs with a good fan base and a distinguished history will meet in the national league play-off final when Caernarfon Town host Flint Town United on Saturday.

Unfortunately, due to changes in the rules, the pair will not be competing, as has been the case in past years, for a money-spinning place in Europe – instead the reward on offer is a place in the Scottish Challenge Cup.

A dampener perhaps, but still the prospect of a final carrying at least some sort of reward….personally I’d rather take it than leave it.

Much of this season has lacked excitement. The previous two campaigns, which had seen Connah’s Quay Nomads win back-to-back titles and end the top spot stranglehold of The New Saints, had been good for the league.

However, a familiar scene returned this term after Nomads were deducted 18 points and consigned to the bottom six for the second phase, leaving Saints to coast to the title.

Many of us had probably hoped the days of TNS winning championships by a 20+ points margin were a thing of the past.

Not so. No-one got near them this season, it was a case of aiming to be ‘best of the rest and going for second place’.

Not a healthy situation for a national league and the reason interest seems to be dying again in the CPL.

But on the plus side, we have a play-off final between two sides who have provided quite a few highlights this season, only to lack consistency.

Caernarfon finished fourth – their joint-best position – while Flint, who started off so well and gave TNS a run for their money in the early weeks of the season, ended up fifth, just a point behind the Canaries.

IMAGE: Caernarfon Town website – many thanks

CAERNARFON TOWN v FLINT – THIS SEASON
Oct 12: Caernarfon Town 2 Flint Town United 3
Dec 21: Flint Town United 3 Caernarfon Town 4
Mar 15: Caernarfon Town 2 Flint Town United 1
Apr 5: Flint Town United 0 Caernarfon Town 4

The teams met four times in the league this term and Caernarfon won three of those clashes.

Last October 12, Flint won 3-2 at The Oval, two goals from Mike Wilde and a Conor Harwood single sealing the points from a close-fought affair, Rob Hughes and Mike Hayes netting for the hosts.

Revenge for Caernarfon on December 21, when the Canaries gave their fans an early Christmas present with a 4-3 triumph at the Essity Stadium.

The visitors led 4-1 at half time, Mike Hayes, Rob Hughes, a Noah Edwards stunner and Dion Donohue penalty making up the goals, Daniel Roberts responding.

When Aaron Simpson was red-carded for the Cofis around the hour, the game changed and Flint came on stronger, Mark Cadwallader converting a penalty and adding a second to make it 4-3.

Ross Weaver was later sent off for the hosts and Caernarfon held on for a well-deserved win.

Phase Two brought a 2-1 home win to Caernarfon on March 15.

Sion Bradley and Daniel Gosset struck for a weakened home side, Michael Wilde replying.

The final contest between the pair came on April 5, when Caernarfon romped to a 4-0 victory at the Essity Stadium.

Sion Bradley and Mike Hayes put the visitors two-up before Dion Donohue netted with a 35-yard special.

And Rob Hughes added a penalty before the end.

The play-off semi-finals were two tight affairs.

Mike Hayes netted the only goal as Caernarfon pipped Cardiff Met 1-0, while Flint got past Penybont 3-1 on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

The final may not be as cagey. The four league games between the pair this season produced 19 goals and there might be a few more at The Oval on Saturday.

POSSIBLE SQUADS

Caernarfon Town

Jakub Ojrzynski, Iwan Cartwright, Gruffydd John, Dion Donohue, Daniel Gosset, Michael Hayes, Cai Jones, Darren Thomas, Noah Edwards, Josef Faux, Laurie Bell, Bobby Beaumont-Broadhead, Aaron Simpson, Ryan Williams, Cai Griffith, Caio Evans, Gwion Dafydd, Fabrizio Murtas.

Flint Town United

Jonathan Rushton, Jake Phillips, Samuel Hart, Ben Maher, Ben Nash, Kai Edwards, Alex Jones, Mark Cadwallader, Callum Bratley, Daniel Roberts, Samuel Duffy, Daniel Harrison, Ryan Woods (gk), Ross Weaver, Oliver Nugent, Liam Ellis, Joe Davis, Harley Brindley-Peagram.

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