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JD Cymru Premier play-offs preview – May 5/6

Newtown aim to make it a miserable end to the season for Bala Town on Friday night by claiming a shot at a place in the Europa Conference League ahead of the Lakesiders.

The two clubs meet in the first play-off semi-final at Bala, with the hosts still reeling from their 6-0 hammering at the hands of champions The New Saints a week ago in the final of the JD Welsh Cup.

Bala must somehow manage to pick themselves up and overcome a Newtown side who only finished the season three points and a place behind them in sixth place in the table.

That was after Bala lost their last four matches in the league season and actually failed to win a single game in their 10 phase two matches.

Bala, though, can take some comfort as they assess their hopes of progressing through to the final, if they have suffered no lasting damage to their morale.

They lost fewer matches than Newtown though the season (12 compared to 15) and ended with a goal difference of +14 compared to their opponents’ -7.

In Newtown’s favour, they did manage to win at Bala – 2-1 – in their most recent visit to Maes Tegid at the start of April, their second victory over the Lakesiders in phase two.

Newtown also have the confidence gained from their European qualification last season, where they went on to beat Faroe Islands side HB Torshavn in the first qualifying round of the Europa Conference League.

A victory for the Robins or Bala will send them through to the play-off final, where they will meet the winners of Saturday night’s clash between Cardiff Met and Haverfordwest County.

The students will fancy their chances of winning on their home patch as they finished the season in fourth place in the Cymru Premier, while Haverfordwest had to rely on winning the Conference after phase two.

In effect, this match is fourth in the table against seventh, although Haverfordwest finished their phase two campaign strongly with six victories in their 10 games.

The Archers finished the season with wins over play-off rivals Bala and Newtown, while they were the only side to beat The New Saints in the league this season.

The students will be keen to repeat their last foray into Europe in 2019 – a campaign that earned them plenty of publicity, both within Wales and beyond.

The two semi-finalists shared the honours when they met in the regular season.

Haverfordwest claimed a 1-0 victory at Bridge Meadow when the sides met for the first time this season, although Christian Edwards’ Met boys triumphed 2-0 in their most recent meeting at Cyncoed.

JD Cymru Premier play-offs:

Bala Town v Newtown – Friday 5 May, 7:45pm

Cardiff Met v Haverfordwest County – Saturday 6 May, 5:15pm

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