WPL weekend preview

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There’s only place left to fight for in the Top Six, and with Barry Town, Cefn Druids, Llandudno and Newtown all still in the race it’s going to be an exciting finale to the end of the first phase in the Welsh Premier League.

Friday, 5 January

Bangor City v Newtown | Friday – 19:45
Bangor have secured a place in the Top Six, and although Newtown are six points behind 6th placed Barry Town they are not out of the race yet as they have a game in hand, to be played on Tuesday against Cardiff Met.

Newtown will be full of confidence following their 2-4 away win at TNS last weekend.

Chris Hughes’ side had only scored three goals in nine away games this season before they netted four at Park Hall on Saturday against the Saints’ 10 men.

After a run of nine games without defeat in all competitions, Bangor City fell to a 1-0 loss on New Year’s Day through a last minute Marc Williams goal (0-1).

Bangor haven’t scored in their last three matches (Cam 0-0 Ban, Llan 0-0 Ban, Ban 0-1 Llan).

Last meeting:
Newtown 1-2 Bangor City (04/11/17)

Prestatyn v The New Saints | Friday – 19:45
TNS have gone nine points clear at the top of the table and are setting their sights on a 7th consecutive league title.

After a disappointing defeat at the hands of Newtown, the Saints reacted instantly with an away win at Bala Town on Tuesday night (0-3).

Prestatyn are on a run of six consecutive defeats in the WPL and have failed to score in their last three outings.

Neil Gibson’s side have haven’t won at home since 20 October (Pres 4-2 Ban) – losing six home games in all competitions since beating their old rivals, Bangor.

Last meeting:
The New Saints 6-1 Prestatyn (14/10/17)

Saturday, 6 January

Carmarthen v Cefn Druids | Saturday – 14:30
The Old Gold have the wind in their sails following a festive double over Aberystwyth.

Carmarthen looked down and out less than a month ago, but Aizlewood’s men have picked up seven points from a possible nine in their last three matches and have closed the gap on 10th placed Aberystwyth to only six points.

Barry Town (6th) might be ahead of Cefn Druids (7th) on goal difference, but some would argue that the Ancients are the favourites to reach the Top Six due to their remaining fixtures.

Barry need to play Connah’s Quay (2nd) and Bala Town (4th) before the split, while Cefn Druids face Carmarthen (12th) and Llandudno (8th).

Huw Griffiths’ first target will be to beat Carmarthen in the WPL for the first time since February 2008 (3-1) – Karl Connolly netting twice for the Druids and Danny Thomas scoring for the Old Gold.

But Carmarthen haven’t lost any of their last 11 league meetings with Cefn Druids (won 8, drawn 3).

Last meeting:
Cefn Druids 0-0 Carmarthen (21/10/17)

Connah’s Quay v Barry Town | Saturday – 14:30
Connah’s Quay will do everything in their power to catch up with leaders TNS who have opened up quite a gap at the top of the table.

But the battle for 2nd place will be interesting this season as there are four strong teams contesting for that automatic Europa spot this year.

Barry are in 6th place on goal difference but face a tough couple of games before the split Connah’s Quay (2nd) and Bala Town (4th).

Gavin Chesterfield’s side were on a run of four games without defeat (won 3, lost 1), before losing 3-0 at Cyncoed last weekend.

Last meeting:
Barry Town 0-1 Connah’s Quay (29/10/17)

Llandudno v Bala Town | Saturday – 14:30
A last-gasp goal from Marc Williams at Bangor on New Year’s Day kept Llandudno in the race for the Top Six.

Iwan Williams’ Llandudno have kept three consecutive clean sheets (5 clean sheets in their last 6 games in all competitions).

Despite a slow start, Bala have secured a place in the Top Six (Bala Town were 9th until late October).
Bala have won their last three WPL games against Llandudno.

Last meeting:
Bala Town 2-1 Llandudno (03/11/17)

Cardiff Met v Aberystwyth | Saturday – 17:30 (S4C)
Cardiff Met have secured their place in the Top Six for the second year running.

With a game in hand, Met’s three remaining matches before the split are against three of the bottom four so they are expected to climb the table before the end of the month.

Cardiff Met have the best defensive record in the WPL – conceded 13 in 19 (0.7 goals a games), keeping 10 clean sheets.

Aber are out of the race for the Top Six and will finish in the bottom half for the 3rd consecutive year (2014/15 was the last time they reached the Top Six).

It was a Christmas to forget for Aber who have lost their last three matches.

Since their remarkable 7-1 win against Prestatyn mid-December, Aber lost 4-0 to TNS before losing twice to bottom side Carmarthen and start the weekend only three points above the relegation zone.

Cardiff Met have won all three games between the sides since their promotion to the WPL.

Aber’s John McKenna had an afternoon to forget when the clubs last met as he scored two own goals (0-2)!

The clubs meet again later this month in the Welsh Cup 4th round.

Last meeting:
Aberystwyth 0-2 Cardiff Met (09/09/17)

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