WPL weekend preview

gary taylor fletcher v TNS

The New Saints have been crowned champions, but there’s still three European spots up for grabs in the WPL.

The New Saints will represent Wales in the Champions League qualifiers this summer, while the league runners-up, Welsh Cup winners and play-off winners will reach the Europa League qualifiers.

Friday, 30 March

Cefn Druids v Bala Town | Friday – 19:45
Bala Town dropped down from 2nd spot into 4th following their 1-0 defeat at the hands of Connah’s Quay last Friday night.

But only two points separate Connah’s Quay, Bangor and Bala in the race for the runner-up position with only four league games remaining.

Colin Caton’s side have not scored more than twice in their last 20 matches, since winning 1-3 away at Newtown in October.

Cefn Druids have not lost a league match at home to Bala Town since September 2014, and their aim will be to catch Cardiff Met (5th) in the hope of securing a home tie in the play-offs.

Last meetings:
Bala Town 1-0 Cefn Druids (08/02/18)
Bala Town 2-1 Cefn Druids (22/12/17)
Cefn Druids 3-0 Bala Town (21/09/17)

Saturday, 31 Mawrth

Connah’s Quay v Cardiff Met | Saturday – 14:30
Connah’s Quay start the weekend in second place on goal difference following their 1-0 away win at Bala Town last Friday.

It hasn’t been an easy spell for the students recently as Christian Edwards’ side have lost eight of their last 10 games in all competitions, with their only win coming against 11th placed Carmarthen.

The Nomads have had the better of Met in their previous meetings, winning five from seven, with the other two games goalless.

So the students are looking for their first ever win against Connah’s Quay – and their first goal against the Nomads since September 2016 (Nomads have kept six consecutive clean sheets against Met).

Last meetings:
Cardiff Met 0-2 Connah’s Quay (11/02/18)
Cardiff Met 0-0 Connah’s Quay (26/11/17)
Connah’s Quay 1-0 Cardiff Met (23/09/17)

Llandudno v Aberystwyth | Saturday – 14:30
A win for Llandudno on Saturday would secure their place in the WPL for next season.

Llandudno have only won three of their 16 league games since Iwan Williams took over in November (vs Prestatyn, Bangor and Carmarthen).

Llandudno have conceded at least twice in all seven matches since releasing goal-keeper Dave Roberts in January – Roberts had kept eight clean sheets in 21 WPL games this season before switching to Airbus UK.

Three points for Aberystwyth would see them climb up into 9th place for the first time since November (Aber were 9th overnight in November, but haven’t spent a week out of the bottom three since August).

Last meetings:
Aberystwyth 3-1 Llandudno (09/02/18)
Llandudno 2-3 Aberystwyth (14/10/17)
Aberystwyth 0-2 Llandudno (18/08/17)

Barry Town v Prestatyn | Saturday – 14:30
Both clubs were promoted to the WPL last summer, but this Saturday Barry Town have the power to send Prestatyn back into the Huws Gray Alliance as a win for Gavin Chesterfield’s men would relegate Gareth Wilson’s side.

Barry won comfortably when the clubs last met in December with Jordan Cotterill and Macauley Southam-Hales both grabbing a brace each (4-0).

Barry Town are the only team to have won all their league games since the split in the WPL, and Gavin Chesterfield’s side have gone six points clear in the race for the play-offs, with a game in hand.

The Dragons have only conceded three goals in their five games since the split.

The clubs will meet again next weekend in a rearranged fixture at the Motion Finance Stadium.

Last meetings:
Barry Town 4-0 Prestatyn (23/12/17)
Prestatyn 1-0 Barry Town (19/08/17)

Newtown v Carmarthen | Saturday – 14:30
Carmarthen could be relegated this weekend, but only if they lose and Aberystwyth beat Llandudno.

It would be a big blow for Carmarthen if they were to be relegated as they have been members of the WPL for over 20 years (since 1996-97).

Newtown have scored four goals in all of their last three home games against Carmarthen in the WPL.

Chris Hughes’ Robins have won three of their last four games and are still contenders for 7th spot.

Last meetings:
Carmarthen 3-2 Newtown (10/02/18)
Carmarthen 0-2 Newtown (11/11/17)
Carmarthen 0-2 Newtown (24/10/17) League Cup Quarter Final
Newtown 4-1 Carmarthen (26/08/17)

Bangor v The New Saints | Saturday – 17:15 (S4C)
Bangor are hoping to finish 2nd for the first time in six years.

The race for 2nd place is tighter than ever with only two points separating three clubs at the start of the weekend, with all three clubs having to play TNS before the end of the season.

TNS have secured their 12th league title, and their 7th consecutive title in Scott Ruscoe’s first season in charge.

But in the last four years, TNS have lost at least once every year after clinching the title – lost 5 of 17.

In the last four seasons (not including this season), TNS have lost only 11 of their 128 WPL games (8.6%) – but have lost 5 of 17 after securing the championship (29%).

The Saints have also lost their last three games at Nantporth (twice vs Bangor and once vs Bala in the Welsh Cup final), therefore Kevin Nicholson will be confident that the Citizens can get a positive result this Saturday.

Last meetings:
The New Saints 3-0 Bangor City (09/02/18)
The New Saints 2-1 Bangor City (13/01/18)
Bangor City 5-2 The New Saints (11/08/17)

Highlights of all WPL fixtures will be on Sgorio this Tuesday at 5:35 on S4C.