WPL weekend preview

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It’s the final weekend of the domestic season, but with the Welsh Cup final and the play-offs still to come there is plenty to play for in the top flight.

Saturday

TOP SIX

Bangor City v Carmarthen | Saturday – 17:15
Bangor City will end the season in the 4th position, which is their highest finish in four years (3rd – 2012/13).

Two managers have been shown the door at Nantporth this season, and since the departures of Andy Legg and Ian Dawes, Gary Taylor-Fletcher has taken charge of first team affairs and it’s now his job to lead the Citizens to Europe.

Bangor beat The New Saints last weekend, and GTF will hope to continue the good form before the Citizens’ play-off semi final against Newtown in two weeks’ time.

Carmarthen will hope to bounce back following a 0-4 thumping at the hands of Cardiff Met in their last outing.

The Old Gold go into the last game a point above the students, knowing that a win this Saturday would secure them a home fixture in the play-off semi final.

Bangor striker Daniel Nardiello scored his first WPL hat-trick when the clubs last met back in March.

Latest meetings:
Carmarthen 2-3 Bangor (11/03/17)
Bangor 1-2 Carmarthen (26/11/16)
Carmarthen 1-1 Bangor (17/09/16)

Cardiff Met v gap Connah’s Quay | Saturday – 17:15
gap Connah’s Quay are equal on points with Bala Town in the second position, but the Lakesiders face a tough test against TNS this Saturday which leaves the Nomads in poll position to finish as runners-up and to secure a place in next season’s Irn-Bru Challenge Cup.

After reaching their highest ever finish in the WPL last season (4th), gap Connah’s Quay have improved again this year.

Cardiff Met won their first game since the split by thrashing Carmarthen 4-0 at the Cymru Tyres Stadium on Friday and the result will give the students a psychological boost before they face the Old Gold once more in the play-off semi final next month.

Cardiff Met will face Carmarthen in the play-offs whatever the outcome of this weekend’s results, and after thrashing the Old Gold away from home last weekend, the students won’t be worrying too much about securing a home fixture in the play-offs.

The Archers have only managed to score once in their three meetings with gap Connah’s Quay this season.

Latest meetings:
gap Connah’s Quay 2-0 Cardiff Met (11/03/17)
gap Connah’s Quay 0-0 Cardiff Met (23/10/16)
Cardiff Met 1-2 gap Connah’s Quay (11/09/16)

Bala Town v The New Saints | Saturday – 17:15
Both clubs were disappointed after last weekend’s results, and with only a week to go until the teams meet in the Welsh Cup final they will look to put last week’s setbacks behind them.

Bala Town loat against the Nomads which opened the door for gap Connah’s Quay to climb above them into 2nd place, while TNS lost to Bangor for the first time in four years.

The New Saints could break one more record before the end of the domestic season.

In 2014/15 TNS won the league by 18 points – the biggest margin between 1st and 2nd since the league structure was changed to a 32 game season in 2010/11. (they will beat that record this year)

Barry Town hold the WPL record for the biggest margin when they finished 26 points ahead of Newtown in 1997/98 in a 38 game season.

At the start of the last weekend, The New Saints are 25 points ahead of gap Connah’s Quay (2nd) and could break Barry’s record.

Bala Town have never beaten The New Saints in any competition!

Latest meetings:
The New Saints 3-2 Bala Town (12/03/17)
The New Saints 2-1 Bala Town – Nathaniel MG Cup (04/10/16)
Bala Town 0-2 The New Saints (20/09/16)
The New Saints 5-1 Bala Town (17/09/16)

BOTTOM SIX

Cefn Druids v Airbus UK | Saturday – 17:15
Cefn Druids will look to beat Airbus for the first time this season to secure 8th spot – their highest ever finish in the WPL.

The Ancients have never finished higher than 12th in the Welsh Premier League.

Cefn Druids beat Llandudno last weekend and the result secured the Druids’ safety in the WPL.

Manager Huw Griffiths was over the moon as the Ancients have not managed to end a season in the top flight without being relegated since 2008/09.

Cefn Druids are the only team not to beat Airbus in the WPL this season.

Airbus played their last home game of the season last Saturday before their relegation to the Huws Gray Alliance and fell to their record heaviest home defeat in the WPL as they lost 0-7 to Newtown.

Latest meetings:
Airbus UK 0-0 Cefn Druids (10/03/17)
Cefn Druids 2-2 Airbus UK (20/09/16)
Airbus UK 3-2 Cefn Druids (18/09/16)

Newtown v Aberystwyth | Saturday – 17:15
Newtown have secured 7th spot and will face Bangor City in the play-off semi final.

But they will have to cope without their leading scorer Jason Oswell who will be away in Uganda doing charity work.

Oswell scored his third hat-trick of the season at Airbus last weekend as the Robins enjoyed their biggest away win in the WPL era (0-7).

There were also celebrations at Aberystwyth on Friday night as the Black & Greens secured their safety from the drop and sent Rhyl to the Huws Gray Alliance with a 4-0 win over the Lilywhites.

Aberystwyth haven’t conceded in their three games since Wayne Jones and Tony Pennock has taken charge of the team.

Latest meetings:
Aberystwyth 0-4 Newtown (10/03/17)
Newtown 2-2 Aberystwyth (31/12/16)
Aberystwyth 1-0 Newtown (26/12/16)

Rhyl v Llandudno | Saturday – 17:15
The three league meetings between these two sides have been drawn this season.

Llandudno have the worst attacking record in the league (30 goals in 31 games).

Four years since their return to the top flight in 2013, Rhyl FC have been relegated from the Welsh Premier League following their 4-0 defeat at Aberystwyth last Friday.

Rhyl started the season strongly and were in 3rd position after the opening 10 games.

But Niall McGuinness’ side hit a wall and have won only four of their last 21 league fixtures.

Latest meetings:
Llandudno 1-1 Rhyl (10/03/17)
Llandudno 2-2 Rhyl (14/01/17)
Llandudno 0-1 Rhyl – R1 Cwpan Nathaniel MG (04/10/16)
Rhyl 0-0 Llandudno (14/08/16)

Highlights of all WPL matches will be on Sgorio every Monday at 6:30 on S4C.