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KILLER BLOW (Keith Evans - Cambrian News)

PORTHMADOG, proud entrants to the League of Wales in 1992 and among the earliest enthusiasts at the concept of the national competition, have suffered the indignity of relegation.

As a heavy price to pay for a bleak season, the Traeth team have ended in the bottom four, en route to the Cymru Alliance next time. Demoted with them are Cemaes Bay, while Glantraeth are already there, with Holyhead Hotspur moving up from the Fitlock League.

The reality of Porthmadog's plight is that, in League of Walesa terms, they did not win enough matches only 10 out of 38 - and just two in the last 11 outings. In a sense, it has been a familiar tale of doom- and-gloom for several years, as the club have flirted with the dangers of relegation previously.

Now that it has happened, Porthmadog folk are still unconvinced of the reality that their place among the elite of Welsh non-League soccer has gone.

A stunning result at Farrar Road, Bangor, was the killer blow, when City, expected to beat struggling Haverfordwest County, did not, and the Pembrokeshire visitors escaped.

Porthmadog manager Colin Hawkins, assistant John Aspinall, other club officials and a good contingent of fans attended the match, with some confidence that Graeme Sharp's expensive team would deliver the right result.

Haverfordwest were not fancied to claim the single point they needed, let alone an almost incredible 2-1 win. But Bangor - denied by the woodwork three times - did finish second-best on the day.

Shell-shocked by the outcome, Porthmadog's Hawkins said: "As the team manager, I have to take the full blame for the fact that we finished in the bottom four."

Only days earlier, Porthmadog's directors had announced they were to re-engage the Cemaes Bay-based team boss for another term.

But Hawkins now suggests that his future plans are uncertain.

"I want to take stock to see if I am prepared to give the job my total comitment, and there are a number of issues still to be considered."

Porthmadog continue to hope-against-hope that the campaign to resist the League of Wales's plan to drop the bottom-four clubs will succeed dissenters argue that the move is illegal.

Hawkins said: "I do not accept relegation as a fait accompli; there are still pressures being applied to challenge the league's action. It really is a case of watch-this-space."

Porthmadog's manager added that, if the worst scenario came about and the club was doomed to the Cymru Alliance, then major matters, such as the team budget, would need to be thrashed out.

"Because of all these uncertainties, I intend to consider my position and at the moment I am not prepared to say yes to an invitation to stay on."

Hawkins conceded that the Bangor result was " a terrible blow for Porthmadog."

He added: "While I am not having a go at Bangor, they are nothing more than a mid-tabte side, who are not special, and - like Haverfordwest. -If I took my team there, I would be confident of picking up at least one point."



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