Marc Lloyd Williams' column

 

Saturday saw an entertaining end to the first half of the season in the Welsh Premier League with five clubs fighting for one coveted sport in the top six.

Connah's Quay Nomads, Carmarthen Town, Newtown, Bala Town and Aberystwyth Town all had ambitions of securing that elusive sixth spot.

Connah's Quay at the start of play were in pole position, knowing a win at Bala would more than likely secure their place in sixth.

Goal difference could have come into play if Carmarthen also won, however, Connah's Quay soon threw that equation out of the window with a 6-3 demolition of Bala.

At one stage during the afternoon, Newtown did take the lead at Carmarthen to leapfrog the Nomads, but their joy was short-lived as Carmarthen hit back to claim victory and Nomads went goal crazy at Maes Tegid.

Connah's Quay's joy soon turned to despair on Saturday. Minutes after securing their top six place, news came through that the FAW disciplinary panel are to deduct them one point for fielding an ineligible player, which would in effect see them slip into seventh position.

Corbett Sports Welsh Premier League

Played Won Points

The New Saints

22

14

46

Airbus

22

12

39

Bangor

22

10

36

Prestatyn

22

10

36

Port Talbot

22

9

32

Connah's Quay

22

9

30

The reason for the point deduction is because Nomads player Lee Davey has played for three teams during this season, Colwyn Bay, Conwy Borough and Connah's Quay. The rules state you are allowed to sign for three clubs in a season but only play for two of them.

As Davey had already played for both Conwy and Colwyn Bay this season, he wasn't eligible to play for the Nomads.

Davey only played two minutes for Connah's Quay since signing in January, coming on as a substitute against Carmarthen, who now seem destined to profit from Nomads' punishment, but how costly will those minutes be in Connah's Quay's season.

Connah's Quay have stated their intention to appeal against the decision, but it looks pretty grim for them. The rules are clearly stated in the FAW rule book, that you are not allowed to represent three clubs within a season.

It will be a huge blow to Mark McGregor's team as they have entertained us this season with some flowing attacking football. Finishing in sixth place would've meant another season in the WPL and a huge achievement in their first season back in the league.

If they lose the appeal, they would be in a relegation dog-fight as there would only be three points separating seventh to 11th position.

Two teams will be relegated at the end of the season, and barring a miracle Afan Lido seem destined to be one of those teams, with the other five battling hard not to join them in tier two of Welsh football.

As Connah's Quay intend to appeal against the decision of the FAW, it means we might not find out until next week who has actually secured sixth spot.

The second half of the season is due to start on Saturday and unless Connah's Quay withdraw their appeal, then games involving Carmarthen and Connah's Quay will not take place, I bet this was the last thing WPL secretary Gwyn Derfel had envisaged when he took over at the start of the season!

Over the past two seasons. we have an enthralling end to the season with the title being decided on the final day, however this season it seems that TNS will retain their title, and the entertainment will instead be down the bottom half.

The clubs in the top six and bottom six have to now play each other twice again, which could see some exciting games in the next few weeks.

It's not only going to be a relegation battle but a there is also a play-off place to aim for as the team finishing the season in seventh position will be competing for an Europa League spot via the play-offs involving teams who finish in third to sixth place in the top half of the table.

It would be a tragedy for Connah's Quay if they end up in the final relegation spot at the end of the season, after at one stage being secured of their top-flight status, albeit for a few minutes.