On Sunday afternoon, Rhyl will face Newtown at Latham Park in a game that could be vital to see which clubs will make it to the Top Six this season.
Since the league structure change in 2010, the season has been split in to two, the opening 22 matches, when every club play each other twice, and the last 10 matches after the league has been split into the Top Six and the Bottom Six.
With two games left till the split, four clubs have already secured a spot in the Top Six:
The New Saints, Bala Town, Aberystwyth and Airbus UK.
Four clubs are left in the race for the other two spots in the top half:
5. Port Talbot (30pt) – The Steelmen only need three points to secure their place in the Top Six, and as they prepare for a trip to bottom side Bangor this weekend, Port Talbot will be hoping to get the job done on Saturday.
6. Carmarthen (28pt) – The Old Gold have tough games to play. They will need to beat Cefn Druids this weekend because their last game before the split is an away fixture at Park Hall where TNS haven’t lost in over two years! (Carmarthen were the last team to beat them there)
7. Newtown (26pt) – Chris Hughes will expect his side to win his remaining fixtures (Rhyl & gap Connah’s Quay) whilst hoping that Carmarthen slip up versus TNS so that they could nick the 6th spot.
8. Rhyl (22pt) – The Lilywhites need a miracle, it’s highliy unlikely but not impossible for Rhyl to get into the Top Six. Rhyl would need to win their two remaining matches (vs Newtown & Airbus), they’d need Carmarthen to lose their two matches (vs Cefn & TNS) and for Newtown not to win vs gap Connah’s Quay next week. Even then, it could go down to goal difference so it’s not looking promising.
Carmarthen will play Cefn Druids on Saturday so if the Old Gold avoid defeat, Rhyl would be out of the race before Sunday.
Yes, it’s complicated!
It was 2-2 when the two teams met earlier in the season (highlights above), Aaron Bowen and Liam Dawson netting for Rhyl, Neil Mitchell and Jason Oswell the scorers for Newtown.
Aaron Bowen started the season on fire and was the star of the show against Bangor when he inspired a come-back with a late hat-trick at Corbett Sports Stadium.
Buf after netting six league goals, Rhyl’s no.9 and top scorer hasn’t found the net since 18 October (nearly 3 months ago).
Lack of creativity is an issue – Dave Thompson has provided the most assists (4) mainly long throws.
In Rhyl’s last 12 matches they’ve only managed to score 12 goals.
Nine of them from set plays.
Only two goals from open play + Dave Hayes’ spectacular own goal!
The creative midfielders haven’t been consistent this season but the one to watch on Sunday is attacking midfielder, Tom Rowlands, who’s recently returned from injury and has looked a threat with his positive style of play.
For the home side, no doubt that the star of the show is the ex-Rhyl striker, Jason Oswell. The young frontman is joint second on the league’s top scorer list (12 goals) and has proved to be one of the best signings of the summer.
Newtown have won only 1 of their last 6 WPL matches so Oswell will need to be on form against his former club to help the Robins in their attempt to climb into the Top Six for the second season running.
Newtown v Rhyl LIVE on S4C, Sunday 11 January with kick-off at 1.00pm
On this day in 1994, Mike Smith started his second spell in charge of the Welsh national side.