PICTURE by Sgorio/S4C shows Connah’s Quay Nomads celebrating their title win.
CONNAH’S QUAY Nomads are the 2020/21 JD Cymru Premier champions.
The 2019/20 campaign, cut short by the coronavirus pandemic, saw the Andy Morrison’s side win their first ever top-flight title to end a near-decade of dominance by The New Saints (TNS).
Both sides headed into their afternoon ties earlier today in with a chance of being crowned champions come around 2pm. The Nomads headed down South to take on Penybont and The Saints welcomed Bala Town to Park Hall.
And as it turns out, it was Andy Morrison’s side who went on to win the title fair and square this time, beating their rivals to the top spot once again for a second year running.
Quay showed no signs of being under pressure when the big occasion arrived and were ahead after just four minutes into their tie when captain George Horan popped up at the back post to nod them ahead. It was a tense affair in South Wales but the victory was all but secured 15 minutes or so from time when midfielder Aeron Edwards headed home powerfully from close range and ensured the title was going back to the Deeside Stadium.
As league winners, Nomads will also be Wales’ UEFA Champions League representatives next season when they enter the early qualifying rounds.
TNS themselves won 2-0 against Bala but as the Nomads won, the victory was in vain as they missed out on title number 14. Talented young midfielder Ben Clark scored after ten minutes and Polish attacker Adrian Cieslewicz notched in the second half to hand TNS victory.
The Saints have qualified for the UEFA Europa League qualifying rounds as league runners-up, with Bala set to enter the very first qualifying rounds of the newly-formed UEFA Conference League next season – it will be their seventh European campaign and they will be hoping to re-create the success of last summer when they beat Valletta 1-0 in Malta.
Despite losing to Nomads, Penybont finished the season in fourth place. Rhys Griffiths’ side have been something of a surprise package throughout the campaign and have qualifier for the European play-off rounds – where they will take on Newtown, who despite losing 4-0 at home to Aberystwyth this afternoon had already secure their place in that before the tie was played.
Elsewhere on the final day, Barry Town United beat Caernarfon Town 3-2 in at Jenner Park.
Darren Thomas put the Cofis’ ahead just before half time before a David Cotterill penalty just before the hour mark squared things up. Rhys Kavanagh and Jordan Cotterill then put the home side 3-1 up before Thomas scored a late consolation late on.
The two sides will square off again next weekend in the European qualification play-off semi-final.
As there is no relegation from or promotion to the top-flight this season, all 12 clubs will remain in the division for the 21/22 campaign, having all also secured their licences to do so.
Results in full from this afternoon:
Barry Town United 3
Caernarfon Town 2
Cardiff Met 2
Flint Town United 1
Haverfordwest County 2
Cefn Druids 0
Aberystwyth Town 4
Connah’s Quay Nomads 2
The New Saints 2
Bala Town 0
Official JD Cymru Premier standings at the end of the 20/21 campaign:
1. Connah’s Quay (Champions/UEFA Champions League)
2. The New Saints (UEFA Europa League)
3. Bala Town (UEFA Conference League)
4. Penybont (European play-off spot)
5. Barry Town United (European play-off spot)
6. Caernarfon Town (European play-off spot)
7. Newtown (European play-off spot)
8. Cardiff Met Uni
9. Haverfordwest County
10. Aberystwyth Town
11. Flint Town United
12. Cefn Druids