Cwmbran Celtic open their Cymru South season with a tough programme which, after the opening home fixture against Taffs Well, requires them to play 6 of their next 7 league and cup games away from home.
This ludicrous situation is caused primarily by the FAW giving priority to teams who have floodlights to play home midweek fixtures. Celtic will need to display better form on the road than they showed in the 2nd half of last season in which they lost 4 and drew 1 of their last 5 away games.
Last season Celtic avoided demotion to the Ardal League courtesy of a last minute goal by defender Andrew Hewitt in a cliff hanger 3-3 draw at Celtic Park which relegated opponents Risca United. Over the 9 years in which Cwmbran Celtic have been in Welsh tier two they have featured in the relegation battle no less than 6 times. This includes finishing 13th in the Cymru South in the last 2 seasons.
In both these seasons the bottom sides, Caerau (Ely) and Port Talbot Town were anchored in bottom place from the off but this season there does not appear to be any team which fits this category. Celtic’s young 1st team squad are confident that the experience gathered last season will move them up the table in similar vein to Taffs Well last season.
The team has been strengthened in the close season by the addition of two seasoned centre midfielders, Simon Prangley who returns to his home club, and Shaun Moss from Pontyclun. Also returning is striker Lewis Iles after a short spell at Cymru South runners up Pontypridd Town.
Two teenagers who are expected to feature are 18 year old defender Kian Bodenham who joins from Barry Town United, and 17 year old Academy left back Luke Archer who have both impressed in the pre-season friendlies.
Celtic go into the opening game without skipper Jordan Meaney and strikers Tom Meechan and Alex Bonthron who all booked their summer holidays in the expectation that the season would, as in the past, not start until August. However, this season’s squad is the strongest for years, which is going to give manager James Kinsella, starting his 3rd season in the job, a welcome headache in his team selection. We understand that he will be helped in this regard by being allowed to name two extra substitutes (7 in total) from which to select 5 who can play.