WPL weekend preview: Two at the top go head-to-head

Gemau’r penwythnos (CADW 2016 2017)

Welsh Premier League match previews ahead of the weekend fixtures.

Saturday

Aberystwyth v Carmarthen | Saturday – 14:30
Aberystwyth have slipped down into 8th position after losing their last two league games – vs Rhyl (3-1) and Bangor (4-0).

But there was a win for Bishop’s boys on Wednesday night as they beat neighbours Penhyncoch 1-2 in the Nathaniel MG Cup.

Saturday’s game will be their first ‘home’ game of the season, although the match will be played at Newtown’s Latham Park while work continues on the new synthetic 3G pitch at Park Avenue.

Carmarthen have also slid down the table after failing to score in their last two league games but Mark Aizlewood will have confidence that his side can make it four consecutive wins against Aber this weekend.

Last meeting:
Carmarthen 1-0 Aberystwyth (16/04/16)

Llandudno v Newtown | Saturday – 14:30
It was a slow start to the season for Llandudno after setting a high standard last year with only one point and no goals from their opening three matches.

But it seems that Alan Morgan’s side are back on track after they picked up six points from their last two WPL games with wins against Airbus and Carmarthen to climb into 4th position.

Llandudno also secured a place in the second round of the Nathaniel MG Cup with a home win against Holyhead Hotspur on Tuesday night to make it three wins on the bounce for the Seasiders.

Newtown also progressed to the second round of the league cup after a midweek win over Pontypridd, but their league form is far from great with only one win in five games this season.

Despite being down in 9th place, Newtown are one of only three clubs that have managed an average of more than one goal a game in the WPL this season (with TNS and Bangor).

There were memorable celebrations at Parc Maesdu when the clubs last met as Lewis Buckley scored an injury time winner to help Llandudno on their road to the Europa League qualifiers at the end of their first season in the top flight.

Last meeting:
Llandudno 3-2 Newtown (08/04/16)

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

Last meeting:
Airbus UK 0-0 Rhyl (11/12/15)

Sunday

Cardiff Met v gap Connah’s Quay | Sunday – 15:00
Cardiff Met are still waiting for their first win in the WPL and with only one point in five games they are at the bottom of the table.

Despite losing four out of five, all the defeats have been by a single goal as the students have conceded an average of only one goal per game.

A break from the league might’ve been just what Met needed as they thrashed Taffs Well 5-0 in the League Cup on Tuesday to set up a tasty second round tie against Barry Town next month.

Andy Morrison was not a happy man after gap Connah’s Quay failed to capitalise on their one man advantage against Bala Town last Saturday.

The Lakesiders were reduced to 10 men early in the second half but the Nomads could only secure a draw, which now leaves them six points behind leaders, The New Saints.

The Nomads conceded after only three minutes last weekend to bring an end to their run of six domestic games without conceding (over nine hours).

Last meeting:
Cardiff Met 0-2 gap Connah’s Quay (05/03/16) – Welsh Cup Quarter Final

Bala Town v Cefn Druids | Sunday – 15:00
It’s fair to say that one of the biggest surprises this season is that Bala Town have only one of their opening five fixtures, and that the club who’ve finished as runners-up for the last two seasons is now down in 7th place, nine points behind The New Saints.

With only two goals from their five games, it’s obvious that Bala are struggling to find the net while they remain solid defensively.

But the tide might be turning, as Chris Venables struck a mid-week hat-trick against Flint in the league cup, and Colin Caton will be crossing his fingers that the man with the golden boots will now go on a scoring spree run.

Huw Griffiths will be happy with the way Cefn Duids have started their season as the Ancients have lost only one out of five.

Since losing 1-2 at Bangor on the opening weekend, the Druids have kept three clean sheets in four league games and have also booked a place in the Nathaniel MG Cup second round after beating Holywell.

Last meeting:
Bala Town 3-1 Cefn Druids (13/12/14)

The New Saints v Bangor City | Sunday – 15:00
The biggest game of the weekend will be at Park Hall as the two at the top go head to head on Sunday.

TNS are three points clear after winning five out five and with the chance of going six points clear so early in the season, manager of the month, Craig Harrison will know the importance of this game.

There was a lot of talk over the summer that TNS would be getting strong competition from Bala and Connah’s Quay for the title this season, but surprisingly, it’s Bangor City who are the biggest threat at this time.

Andy Legg has been an instant hit at Nantporth, after winning four out of their five WPL fixtures, the Citizens are up in 2nd spot.

But recent head-to-head stats don’t look good for Bangor as they have lost their last 14 WPL matches against The New Saints (their last win was in November 2011).

Bangor’s only win over TNS in the last four years was a 1-0 Welsh Cup semi final win at the Belle Vue back in April 2013 when Chris Jones scored a late winner – which remains the Saints’ last defeat in the Welsh Cup.

Andy Legg has already revealed that Bangor have plans in the pipeline to become a full-time outfit and their first mission in doing so would be to knock the ever-powering Saints off their perch – could the revolution begin this weekend?

Last meeting:
Bangor City 0-2 The New Saints (16/10/15)

Highlights of all Welsh Premier League matches will be on Sgorio every Monday at 6:30.