WPL preview: Halfway to the split

Gemau’r penwythnos (CADW 2016 2017)

Halfway to the split and it will take some effort to catch The New Saints who are 10 points clear at the top, but only three points separate eight teams between the 4th and 11th position.

Friday

Cefn Druids v Bala Town | Friday – 19:45
Bala have climbed into 4th place after clawing back to gain a point against Airbus last weekend coming from 2-0 down to draw 3-3 with a last minute equaliser from ex-Wingmaker Mike Hayes.

Despite being up in 4th, Bala have only won three out of 11 WPL games this season (27%) with one of those wins coming against this week’s opponents, Cefn Druids (2-0).

After a 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Cardiff Met last Sunday, the Druids sit dangerously close to the drop zone equal on points with 11th placed Airbus.

But with things being so tight in the table, a win against Bala on Friday would see the Druids climb above Bala and into 4th place over night!

Both clubs have had many draws this term, with five each in the league this season (45%).

Bala Town have a 100% record against the Ancients in the WPL having won all five of their previous meetings in the top flight, but Huw Griffiths will hope to change that on the new surface at The Rock this Friday.

Last meeting:
Bala Town 2–0 Cefn Druids (11/09/16)

Saturday

Airbus UK v Carmarthen | Saturday – 14:30
Airbus have the second best attacking record in the league, despite being down in the bottom half, as only TNS (46) have scored more than the Wingmakers (18) after the opening 11 games in the WPL, with Tony Gray contributing seven of those goals.

But Airbus have been leaking goals recently, conceding at least twice in all of their last 10 games in all competitions.

Andy Thomas’ side will be kicking themselves after failing to hold on to a 2-0 lead at Bala last weekend in a game that ended 3-3.

The Old Gold enjoyed a 3-1 win against Newtown last weekend, a victory that saw them climb out of the relegation zone.

Carmarthen have only one once on the road this season and haven’t won at the Airfield since the 2013/14 season.

Last meeting:
Carmarthen 2–1 Airbus UK (27/08/16)

Bangor City v Rhyl | Saturday – 17:15
Live on S4C – Full preview here

Sunday

Aberystwyth v Llandudno | Sunday – 15:00
A crowd of 1,168 witnessed a cracking game at Park Avenue last weekend as Aberystwyth played their first game on the new 3G surface with keeper Chris Mullock stealing the headlines with a spectacular goal from his own half.

Aberystwyth came out winners in their last meeting with Llandudno through a last minute Jonathan Evans header.

Llandudno have the worst attacking record in the WPL this season having scored only seven goals in 11 games this season (0.6 goals a game).

The Black & Greens have lost more games than anyone this season (7 out of 11) and are yet to draw a match in 2016/17.

Only one point separate these two sides in the bottom half of the table and a defeat could see either side slip into trouble.

Last meeting:
Llandudno 0-1 Aberystwyth (28/08/16)

gap Connah’s Quay v Cardiff Met | Sunday – 15:00
With seven clean sheets out of 11, the Nomads start the weekend five points above 3rd placed Bangor City.

gap Connah’s Quay remain unbeaten after a good start has seen them concede only five goals in 11 games.

Cardiff Met have the third best defensive record in the league having conceded 10 goals in 11 games (0.9 goals a game).

There were some celebrations at Cyncoed last weekend as the students recorded their biggest win in the top flight with a 5-0 thumping over fellow new-comers Cefn Druids with Charlie Corsby and Jordan Lam grabbing a brace apiece.

Last meeting:
Cardiff Met 1-2 gap Connah’s Quay (11/09/16)

The New Saints v Newtown | Sunday – 15:00
The Saints’ perfect start to the season continues having won all 11 league games so far as well as winning their two cup games.

This is TNS’ best ever start to a WPL season, and their next target will be to beat Bangor’s record of winning 15 consecutive matches back at the start of the 2010/11 season.

The champions have scored 46 goals in 11 games (more than gap Connah’s Quay, Bangor City and Bala Town combined)!

Newtown sit rock bottom after no wins in their last nine games in the WPL, since beating Carmarthen 4-2 back in August, their only win in the league this season.

It will be a tough ask for Chris Hughes to turn things around this weekend, but he will have fond memories of picking up three points on their last trip to Park Hall, with Matty Owen scoring twice for the Robins, which was the last time TNS lost at home in the league.

Last meeting:
The New Saints 1-2 Newtown (26/03/16)

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