WPL preview: 10 games till the split

Gemau’r penwythnos (CADW 2016 2017)

After 12 games, The New Saints are 12 points clear at the top, but only three points separate eight teams between the 4th and 11th position.

There are only 10 games to go before the split when the top six teams will secure a place in the race for European qualification, while the bottom six will battle for the one remaining spot in the play-offs and will have to fight for their survival.

Friday

Cefn Druids v Bangor City | Friday – 19:45
Both teams showed great desire and determination to fight back and pick up points last week after being behind in both their games.

Bangor City managed to come from behind to beat Rhyl on Saturday – it was the fourth time in their last seven meetings that Bangor managed to turn around the result after trailing from two goals.

On Friday night Cefn Druids were 2-4 down against Bala with only 10 minutes remaining but scored two late goals to secure a point in the first WPL match played on the new 3G surface at The Rock.

It was the Ancients’ sixth draw in 2016/17 which means that they’ve drawn half of their WPL games this season.

The Citizens have already beaten Cefn Druids twice this season (in the league on the opening weekend of the season, and in the League Cup 2nd round) and Andy Legg will be hoping to complete the hat-trick over Huw Griffiths as Bangor go in search of their first away win of the season in the WPL.

Last meetings:
Cefn Druids 2-3 Bangor City – Nathaniel MG Cup 2nd round (05/10/16)
Bangor City 2–1 Cefn Druids (12/08/16)

Saturday

Carmarthen v Bala Town | Saturday – 14:30
Following a weary start to the season where goals were few and far between, Colin Caton seems to have changed his tactics lately and Bala have gone out guns blazing in their last two matches with a 3-3 draw against Airbus followed by 4-4 thriller against Cefn Druids.

Bala Town have scored seven goals in their last two matches after managing only seven in their opening 10 matches of the season.

Despite starting the weekend in 4th position, Bala have only won three of their 12 WPL games this season – the same amount as Carmarthen.

The Old Gold will be satisfied with their recent results having beaten Newtown (3-1), drawn with Airbus (1-1) and beat Newtown again in extra time (2-3) in the MG Cup in their last three outings.

But there is three years since Carmarthen last beat Bala in the WPL back in November 2013 when Christian Doidge and Cortez Belle scored two headers in a 2-0 victory at Richmond Park.

Last meeting:
Bala Town 0-0 Carmarthen (30/08/16)

Newtown v Llandudno | Saturday – 14:30
Llandudno start the weekend in the top half despite having the worst attacking record in the league after scoring only seven goals in 12 games this season (0.6 goals a game).

Alan Morgan’s men have failed to score in eight of their 12 WPL matches this season.

But the Seasiders’ defensive record isn’t bad at all as one third of their league games have finished goalless this season (4/12), including their last meeting with Newtown.

The Robins remain bottom of the table and are on a dismal run of 10 league games without a win in the WPL, since beating Carmarthen 4-2 back in August, their only win in the league this season.

Chris Hughes’ side will take positives from their strong performance at Park Hall last weekend where they were hit by a late Robbie Parry goal to lose 1-0 against the champions.

Newtown are five points behind the rest of the pack after going on their longest run without a win in the WPL since December 2011 – March 2012 (10 games without a win).

Newtown have not gone 11 league games without a win since August 2010 – March 2011 when the club went for 20 WPL games without a victory!

Last meeting:
Llandudno 0-0 Newtown (10/09/16)

Aberystwyth v Airbus UK | Saturday – 17:15
Live on S4C – Full preview here

Sunday

Cardiff Met v Rhyl | Sunday – 15:00
The Lilywhites travel to the capital seeking their first away win of the season – after losing five of their six away games this season.

Cardiff Met have now climbed above Rhyl as the student have a better goal difference than the north Walians – Rhyl have the worst defensive record in the league conceding 31 goals in 12 games (2.6 goals per game).

Christain Edwards’ students have the third best defensive record in the league, conceding an average of 0.8 goals per game this term.

Despite their formidable defensive record, Met have been rather shy in front of goal, with only Llandudno scoring fewer (7) than Cardiff Met’s 12 goals this season.

Rhyl have now dropped in to the bottom six after losing four games on the bounce.

Last Meeting:
Rhyl 1-0 Cardiff Met (04/09/16)

The New Saints v gap Connah’s Quay | Sunday – 15:00
The champions’ perfect start to the WPL season continues with 12 wins in 12 league games as well as winning their three league cup games.

This is The New Saints’ best start to a Welsh Premier League season, with their target set on breaking Bangor City’s 15 game winning streak set in the 2010/11 season.

Craig Harrison’s side have scored 47 goals in their 12 league games (3.9 goals per game), more than Llandundo, Cardiff Met, Newton and Carmarthen combined!

But it was the Nomads who were victorious in their last league meeting back in March, before TNS got their own back in a 5-0 thrashing in the Welsh Cup semi final in April.

With eight clean sheets this season, gap Connah’s Quay are still unbeaten, but start the weekend 12 points adrift of TNS.

Andy Morrison’s men have a better defensive record than that of The New Saints, with the Nomads conceding only five in their first 12 games this season – with TNS conceding six so far.

Michael Wilde and Matty Williams return to Park Hall to face their old club for the first time since their summer switch to the Nomads, with both hoping to extend the Nomads’ unbeaten start.

Last meetings:
The New Saints 5-0 gap Connah’s QuayWelsh Cup semi final (04/04/16)
gap Connah’s Quay 2-1 The New Saints (19/03/16)

Highlights of all Welsh Premier League matches are on Sgorio every Monday at 6:30 on S4C