WPL weekend preview

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Sgorio will bring live Friday night football from the Welsh Premier League to S4C for the first time ever this weekend when Prestatyn head west on the A55 to face Bangor City at Nantporth, while Llandudno and Connah’s Quay hope to extend their 100% record when they go head-to-head on Saturday.

Friday

Bangor City v Prestatyn | Friday – 19:30
The meetings between these two sides are always dramatic affairs as we look back on recent memorable occasions such as the 2012/13 Welsh Cup Final, ‘that’ Lee Beattie goal (2014/15 ‘Goal of the Season’), their most recent meeting in the League Cup that ended 4-4 after extra time (which Bangor won on penalties), amongst a freakishly amount of 3-3 draws in the Welsh Premier League!

New Bangor City manager, Kevin Nicholson had the perfect start to life in the WPL with a 5-2 opening weekend win over champions, The New Saints.

But the jubilation of the first game didn’t last too long as the Citizens fell to a disappointing 3-1 defeat at Cardiff Met in their second fixture of the season.

Will inconsistency be an ongoing element to Bangor’s season, or can they learn from last Saturday’s defeat and put things right this Friday?

Prestatyn are back in the top flight after two seasons in the Huws Gray Alliance.

A key figure during their last period in the WPL was versatile midfielder Michael Parker, and despite receiving multiple offers from other clubs, Parker remained faithful to Prestatyn when they were relegated and helped the club to return to the top tier.

And last week, Michael Parker scored Prestatyn’s first goal since their return to the WPL – an injury time winner against Barry to claim their first win of the season following an opening weekend defeat to Connah’s Quay.

This Friday, Michael Parker is set to make his 200th appearance for Prestatyn in the WPL, and will be the first to reach that milestone – a priceless stalwart in Prestatyn’s squad.

But Parker will have his hands full on Friday as he will aim to keep Gary Taylor-Fletcher quiet in front of the live cameras, as Bangor’s 36 year old player/assistant-manager is currently the WPL top scorer after netting three times already this season.

Last meeting:
Prestatyn 4-4 Bangor (Bangor won 3-1 on pens) – (07/09/16) – 2016/17 League Cup First Round

Barry Town v The New Saints | Friday – 19:45
Following a disappointing opening weekend defeat to Bangor City, it was business as usual for The New Saints last weekend as they bounced back with a comfortable 3-0 win over Bala Town.

Wes Fletcher was named ‘Man of the Match’ following his well-taken second-half brace and manager Scott Ruscoe will have been delighted to see Fletcher firing in the goals only days after the departure of talented frontman Scott Quigley who has signed for Blackpool.

There was heart-break for Barry at Prestatyn as the Dragons conceded an injury time goal to fall to their first defeat of the season.

Barry Town and The New Saints are the two most successful clubs in WPL history with 18 championships between them – TNS (11), Barry (7).

Gavin Chesterfield’s men will be eager to get their own back after The New Saints beat Barry 4-0 in their last meeting in the 2016/17 League Cup final.

Last meeting:
The New Saints 4-0 Barry Town (21/01/17) League Cup Final 2016/17

Cefn Druids v Aberystwyth | Friday – 20:00
Both clubs will be targeting nothing less than three points on Friday to kick start their season.

The Druids have been slow off the mark this season losing 0-3 at home to Cardiff Met in their opening fixture followed by a 1-1 draw at Newtown.

Huw Griffiths’ Ancients are the only club yet to score from open play this season.

There have been several changes at Aberystwyth over the summer and it was always going to take time for Neville Powell’s new signings to gel on the pitch.

But the Black & Greens would’ve hoped for more than one point from their first two fixtures (1-1 vs Barry & 0-2 vs Llandudno).

Aberystwyth haven’t won any of their last three meetings with Cefn Druids since winning 0-3 at the Rock back in December 2016.

Last meeting:
Aberystwyth 0-0 Cefn Druids (25/03/17)

Saturday

Bala Town v Cardiff Met | Saturday – 14:30
Cardiff Met start the weekend as one of the three clubs with their 100% record still intact (as well as Connah’s Quay and Llandudno).

The students impressed in their first season in the WPL, but it took them a while to get going as they failed to score until their fourth fixture last season and didn’t pick up a win until their seventh match.

They haven’t had such issues this year as they have flown out of the traps, winning their opening two fixtures, netting six goals in the progress.

It’s fair to say that Cardiff Met’s 3-1 win over Bangor was the biggest shock of the weekend, only a week after the Citizens enjoyed an impressive win over league holders, The New Saints.

Last week’s victory was Cardiff Met’s first home win since they beat Bangor 4-0 back in November 2016.

After keeping the Saints at bay for an hour at Park Hall, Bala Town will feel slightly deflated after coming away from the match with an unflattering 3-0 defeat.

Colin Caton’s side have won all four of their WPL fixtures to date against Cardiff Met.

Last meeting:
Cardiff Met 2-3 Bala Town (25/03/17)

Llandudno v Connah’s Quay | Saturday – 14:30
Parc Maesdu will host possibly the biggest game of the weekend as Llandudno and Connah’s Quay will both look to keep their 100% record going.

Connah’s Quay have the best attacking record from the opening two games (7 goals), while Llandudno are the only club not to concede a single goal in the WPL this season.

It was a case of second-season-syndrome for Llandudno last year, who never really got going after qualifying for Europe the previous year.

The dip in form was partly down to the lack of rest over the summer according to members of the Llandudno camp, and this year the Seasiders are looking sharp and fresh after making the most of the off-season period.

Connah’s Quay have not had the luxury of a summer of rest, but the Nomads look stronger than ever this season as their solid defensive platform has allowed their more attacking assets of Michael Wilde, Matty Williams & Callum Morris to grab two goals apiece already this season.

Andy Morrison’s side are certainly a force on grass pitches, but they have struggled recently on artificial surfaces as they have failed to win any of their last four matches on the 3G’s, scoring only once (Bala 0-0 CQ, Bala 1-1 CQ, TNS 1-0 CQ, Met 0-0 CQ).

Last meeting:
Llandudno 0-2 Connah’s Quay (13/11/16)

Newtown v Carmarthen | Saturday – 14:30
Both teams start the weekend in the relegation zone after concerning results in their opening fixtures.

Newtown faced a tough start away to Bala Town and lost 3-0 at Maes Tegid, before sharing a point with Cefn Druids last weekend.

Carmarthen are the only club yet to pick up a point in the WPL this season following two defeats so far (Llan 3-0 Cam, CQ 3-1 Cam).

The Old Gold play their opening six fixtures away from home while the work is completed on the new 3G pitch at the Cymru Tyres Stadium, and they will have to make sure that they pick up points while on the road otherwise Mark Aizlewood’s men could find themselves trailing the rest of the pack.

There have been at least four goals scored in the last four meetings between these two sides (New 4-1 Cam, New 4-2 Cam, Cam 3-1 New, New 2-3 Cam).

Last meeting:
Newtown 2-3 Carmarthen (a.e.t) (26/10/16) – 2016/17 League Cup Quarter Final

Highlights of all WPL matches will be on Sgorio every Monday at 5:35 on S4C.