WPL weekend preview

AFC Telford United vs Harrogate Town

Following the drama of the Welsh Cup quarter finals we turn our attentions back to the league this weekend.

Friday, 9 March

Bangor City v Bala Town | Friday – 19:45
Bala Town hope to leapfrog Bangor City up into the 2nd spot in what should be a thrilling game at Nantporth on Friday night.

Two points separate the sides but Bala Town have a game in hand to play next weekend against the Saints.

If Bangor fail to win this match on Friday, then TNS could secure the title next Friday if they manage to beat both Cardiff Met and Bala Town in their next fixtures.

The Citizens have reached the Welsh Cup semi final, therefore have various routes available that lead to European qualification, while Bala will be determined to clinch the runner-up spot to claim their ticket to Europe.

Bangor have had the better over Bala this season, beating them twice without conceding a goal and knocking five past the Lakesiders in their most recent encounter.

But Colin Caton’s men are on a solid run, losing only once in their last 10 games (Bala 0-3 TNS).

The Lakesiders have been scraping wins as they have not scored more than once in any of their last seven games, and have not scored more than twice in a game since October.

Bangor have won four of their last five games in all competitions, keeping four clean sheets in the process.

Last meetings:
Bangor City 5-0 Bala Town (24/11/17)
Bala Town 0-1 Bangor City (07/10/17)

Carmarthen v Barry Town | Friday – 19:45
A win for Barry Town at Richmond Park on Friday would secure their place in the league for next season.

Gavin Chesterfield’s side are three points clear in the race for 7th spot with a game in hand, and are in a strong position to reach the play-offs as they are the only team to win every WPL game since the split.

With only six games remaining, Carmarthen are still eight points adrift of the safety of the 10th spot, and anything other than a win won’t be welcomed by manager Neil Smothers.

The Old Gold are in search of their first WPL win over Barry in 18 years, but have conceded three goals in each of their last three outings and are yet to keep a clean sheet in 2018.

Despite being on a good run, Barry have also failed to keep a clean sheet since Boxing Day, and Chesterfield’s boys have the worst attacking record away from home this season (7 goals in 12 games).

Last meetings:
Carmarthen 1-2 Barry Town (15/12/17)
Barry Town 3-1 Carmarthen (21/09/17)

Llandudno v Prestatyn | Friday – 19:45
Llandudno need three points to stay in contention for that 7th spot, while Gareth Wilson’s Prestatyn hope to bring their run of 12 games without a win to an end (drawn 1, lost 11).

Prestatyn’s only comfort is that they do have a game in hand to close the gap of 11 points between themselves and safety.

Since Iwan Williams’ first win in charge for Llandudno away at Prestatyn in November, his side have only won two of their 11 league games.

Prestatyn have won only once in 13 away games in the WPL this season (Cam 0-3 Pres).

Last meetings:
Prestatyn 1-3 Llandudno (24/11/17)
Llandudno 2-2 Prestatyn (07/09/17)

Saturday, 10 March

Connah’s Quay v Cefn Druids | Saturday – 14:30
Following their remarkable win over TNS in the Welsh Cup on Tuesday night, Connah’s Quay will be full of confidence ahead of their game on Saturday.

The Nomads start the weekend trailing Bangor by three points in the race for the second spot and European qualification.

Connah’s Quay have the best defensive record in the WPL and have not conceded more than once in any of their last six games in all competitions.

The matches between these sides tend to be tight affairs as no more than two goals have been scored in any of their last seven meetings in the WPL.

The Ancients have not won a WPL game at the Deeside Stadium in over nine years (November 2008).

Last meetings:
Connah’s Quay 1-1 Cefn Druids (29/12/17)
Cefn Druids 0-1 Connah’s Quay (26/12/17)

Newtown v Aberystwyth | Saturday – 14:30
These two teams will still be celebrating their midweek wins in the Welsh Cup as they both booked a place in the semi final where they will meet each other in April.

It’s been a fairly flat season for both these clubs league wise, but reaching a cup final, with the prospect of European qualification would quickly turn a dull season into a memorable one.

Aber won comfortably when these sides last met, but Neville Powell’s Black & Greens have only won twice in 13 away games in the WPL this season (vs Prestatyn and Llandudno).

The Robins have scored in all of their last 11 games since losing 4-0 against Connah’s Quay in December.

Aberystwyth have only lost one of their last eight games in all competitions (won 4, drawn 3).

Last meetings:
Aberystwyth 3-0 Newtown (24/11/17)
Newtown 4-0 Aberystwyth (16/09/17)

Cardiff Met v The New Saints | Saturday – 19:00 (S4C)
On Saturday the champions travel to the capital as Cardiff Met go in search of their first ever win against The New Saints.

There was major disappointment for TNS on Tuesday as their 2-1 cup defeat at Deeside means that they will not be in the Welsh Cup semi final for the first time in eight years.

The result comes only three weeks since TNS were dumped out of the Irn Cup by Dumbarton, and Scott Ruscoe’s dream of the quadruple has been sliced in half.

But TNS start the weekend 12 points clear at the top of the WPL table and need a maximum of eight points from their remaining seven games to secure their title.

It hasn’t been an easy spell for the students recently as Christian Edwards’ side have lost seven of their last eight games in all competitions, with their only win coming against 11th placed Carmarthen.

Cardiff Met are the only club to have lost every WPL game since the league split, and the Archers have only scored once in their last six games.

Met have only scored once in the last five meetings with TNS (Roscrow penalty), and there has been 520 minutes of football played between these sides since the students scored from open play against TNS.

But following the 1-0 defeat against TNS in the League Cup final back in January, Christian Edwards will surely have his side hungry for revenge in front of the live cameras on Saturday night.

Last meetings:
Cardiff Met 0-1 The New Saints (20/01/18) Rownd Derfynol Cwpan y Gynghrair
The New Saints 2-1 Cardiff Met (28/10/17)
Cardiff Met 0-0 The New Saints (15/09/17)

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