Boxing Day fixtures

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While most of the country’s population will be sitting down to devour yet another turkey dinner the WPL players will be preparing for the first of their festive double-headers with a full set of fixtures this Boxing Day.

The New Saints, Bala Town, gap Connah’s Quay and Bangor City have already secured their place in the Top Six, but who will be the other two clubs to join them and ensure a place in this year’s European play-offs?

Boxing Day

Airbus UK v gap Connah’s Quay | Monday – 13:00
Following ten league games without a win, things are looking bleak for Airbus who remain bottom of the table four points adrift from the rest of the pack.

The Wingmakers have lost their last seven WPL games but recent performances have been promising as Andy Thomas’ side put up a good fight against Bangor and Bala in their last two fixtures.

gap Connah’s Quay will be disappointed to have slipped down to 3rd after their 3-0 home defeat to The New Saints last weekend.

The Nomads are equal on points with Bala Town in the race for second spot with both teams having played 19 – won 10, drawn six and lost three.

These two clubs haven’t met since last year’s play-off final when Wes Baynes scored a late winner to send gap Connah’s Quay into Europe for the first time in their history.

Last meeting:
gap Connah’s Quay 1-0 Airbus UK (14/05/16) Play-off Final 2015/16

Aberystwyth v Newtown | Monday – 13:30
These two clubs are still in the race for the Top Six but a defeat for Newtown on Monday would almost definitely seal their fate in the Bottom Six.

Aberystwyth have a game in hand, so with three home matches and an away trip to Newtown to go before the split, Matthew Bishop’s side are still in with a good shout to make the top half.

But after losing four of their last five league games the Seasiders need a result against Newtown to change their fortunes and start climbing the table.

It hasn’t been a good season on the road for Newtown as they’ve lost seven of their 10 away games in 2016/17, a dip in form after losing only five of their 16 away games last season.

The Robins came out victorious in their last meeting when the clubs met back in January as Newtown secured a place in the top half for the 2015/16 season.

Last meeting:
Aberystwyth 1-2 Newtown (16/01/16)

Bangor City v Llandudno | Monday – 14:30
Bangor have secured their place in the Top Six after an impressive 3-0 away win at Park Avenue last Tuesday.

The Nantporth faithful will be thrilled that the club has returned to the top half after spending the last two seasons down the wrong end of the table.

Only TNS (10/10) have won more home games than Bangor (7/10) in the WPL this season.

With three games to go till the split Llandudno are only a point behind sixth placed Carmarthen.

Llandudno are the league’s lowest scorers this season with only 14 goals in 19 games in 2016/17 (0.7 goals a game) and the Seasiders have failed to score in 11 out of the 19 WPL games so far (58%).

Last meeting:
Bangor City 0-3 Llandudno (01/01/16)

Carmarthen v Cardiff Met | Monday – 14:30
These two clubs go into this fixture in the 5th and 6th position but are yet to secure their places in the top half.

Three points for the visitors would more or less clinch Cardiff Met’s spot in the Top Six in their first ever season in the WPL.

But the students haven’t impressed on the road winning only twice and scoring only four goals in nine away games in 2016/17.

Carmarthen are only a point in front of Llandudno but the Old Gold know that their fate are in their own hands.

Mark Aizlewood’s men will be full of confidence after thrashing Rhyl 5-0 in their last outing, their biggest win in the WPL since March 2014 (Cam 6-1 New).

Bala Town v Rhyl | Monday – 14:30
Bala’s incredible run continues as the Lakesiders have now won their last seven WPL games and are unbeaten in their last 11 league outings (won 8, drawn 3) climbing above gap Connah’s Quay on goal difference into the all-important 2nd spot.

It’s a completely different story at Rhyl who are in serious trouble after losing 10 of their last 11 league matches.

The suspensions keep on piling up for Niall McGuinness as his side have picked up six red cards in their last four matches.

With three games to go till the split the Top Half is still not out of the Lilywhites’ reach, but as they are only a point above the drop zone then survival must be at the top of Rhyl’s Christmas wish list this year.

Last meeting:
Bala Town 0-0 Rhyl (01/01/16)

The New Saints v Cefn Druids | Monday – 14:30
The New Saints go into Boxing Day’s fixture knowing that a win would mean that their club will equal the world record of 26 consecutive wins in all competitions which has stood since 1971/72 by Dutch side Ajax.

The New Saints have won all 19 league games this season to open up an emphatic 21 point lead, as well as winning their three League Cup games, their two Irn-Bru cup fixtures and their only game in the Welsh Cup.

Cefn Druids have only won three out of 18 league games this season (17%) but with a game in hand Huw Griffiths’ side will be hoping to climb out of the relegation zone by the split.

The Ancients will feel right at home at Park Hall where they played their first four home fixtures of the season while their new 3G pitch was being laid, and were unbeaten in those four matches (won 1, drawn 3).

Last meeting:
The New Saints 3-1 Cefn Druids (06/01/15)