With their loss to Haverfordwest on New Year’s Day, Aberystwyth Town surrendered the chance to keep their fate in their own hands. They now rely on the outcome of other fixtures in the Dafabet Welsh Premier League as well as their own to ensure their place in the top six of the table, before it splits in two matches’ time. Failure to make the cut would mean a fight for survival, and the threat of dropping into the Cymru Alliance.
It has been a tumultuous season so far for the Seasiders, who have struggled to find a good run of form despite some strong performances. Often pressing into their opponents’ final third, whether home or away, the results have been mixed. While they reached a four-game stretch unbeaten it was followed by five games without a win, though the final fixture in that slew was a ground-out 0-0 draw with league champions TNS.
This story isn’t unique to Aber this season, with Gap Connah’s Quay, Carmarthen Town, Bangor City, and Newton AFC (Aber’s final opponents in this half of the season) all still with the chance to either make it into the top half of the table or fall into a relegation dogfight.
With either one or two games left for each team before the table is established there are a limited number of outcomes, but Town will want to win both of their games first and foremost to stand the best chance of making it. The bare minimums for a place in the top six go like this. If…:
They only win one of their games:
- They’ll need Carmarthen and Newtown to lose their remaining ties and to score at most four more goals than they concede. The win has to be against Newtown
They win both of their games:
- Newton and Connah’s Quay can win a game each (As Town would’ve beaten Newtown in one fixture) to put them all on level points. They must score at least four goals if this happens, at least three of which are scored against Newtown
They draw with Newtown and win against Port Talbot (but Connah’s Quay win):
- Newtown need to lose to Bangor and Carmarthen to win their last game by less than 13 goals
They draw with Newtown and win against Port Talbot (but Connah’s Quay lose):
- Carmarthen need to win their last game by less than 13 goals
So Ian Hughes’ men next line up against Port Talbot this Friday night, and at least a point will be much needed to keep as much control over their fates as they can. Their only result this year thus far may have been a loss, but it was not due to defensive errors; rather it was owed to the fighting spirit of Haverfordwest, who despite some entertaining matches have found themselves at the bottom of the table. Eyes now turn to the mid-table scrap, the winners of which can go on for a shot at a place in Europe and possibly unseat TNS at the top of the table with a 10-point cushion. With one of the highest goals per game averages in Europe, it’s bound to be an exciting time in the Welsh Premier League.
Kickoff is at 19:45 Friday 8th January at Park Avenue. Come along and show your support!