WPL weekend preview

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This Friday Aberystwyth will go head to head with Carmarthen in a fight for survival, while the top two sides meet at Park Hall.

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, 20 April

The New Saints v Connah’s Quay | Friday – 19:45
The New Saints have secured their place in Europe by winning the championship, and now Connah’s Quay can take a great leap towards the continent if they manage a win at Park Hall on Friday.

The Nomads start the weekend in 2nd place, three points above Bangor City with only two games left to play.

Andy Morrison’s men have won their last six games, keeping three clean sheets and conceding only three goals.

But the Nomads have not scored a league goal at Park Hall since December 2012, and have not won a WPL fixture away from home against TNS since October 1995.

TNS have the best attacking record in the WPL, while Connah’s Quay boast the strongest defence in the league.

The Saints have lost four league games this season (vs Bangor x2, Barry and Newtown) – It’s been 10 years since they lost more than four times in a WPL season.

Connah’s Quay have failed to secure the domestic license to stay in the WPL next season – they have appealed the decision and the final call will be made next Thursday, 26 April.

Last meetings:
Connah’s Quay 2-1 The New Saints (07/03/18) Welsh Cup Quarter Final
Connah’s Quay 0-1 The New Saints (24/02/18)
The New Saints 3-0 Connah’s Quay (19/12/17)
Connah’s Quay 0-1 The New Saints (20/11/17) League Cup Semi Final
Connah’s Quay 2-2 The New Saints (10/10/17)

Aberystwyth v Carmarthen | Friday – 20:00
Park Avenue hosts the biggest game of the weekend as a point for Aberystwyth would secure their place in the WPL for next season whilst sealing Carmarthen’s place in the bottom two.

With two games remaining, five points separate these two sides and Carmarthen desperately need a win for any chance of climbing out of the relegation zone.

But there is a hint of confusion in the air as it isn’t too clear as to who will be promoted from the southern league, and with Connah’s Quay and Bangor both waiting for domestic licenses, there could be a potential situation where the 11th placed side would be void of relegation.

We’ve seen memorable moments in the previous meetings between these two sides this season as Carmarthen keeper Lee Idzi scored from his own box on his last visit to Park Avenue, before the clubs shared the spoils at Richmond Park in February when the Old Gold struck two late goals to cancel out Declan Walker’s hat-trick (3-3).

Aberystwyth are the only WPL club that haven’t beaten Carmarthen in the league this season – but Aber did beat the Old Gold in the Welsh Cup quarter finals last month.

Aberystwyth might be in a nervy position in the WPL, but the club could still secure a place in Europe if they were to beat Connah’s Quay in the Welsh Cup final next month.

Last meetings:
Carmarthen 1-3 Aberystwyth (06/03/18) Welsh Cup Quarter Final
Carmarthen 3-3 Aberystwyth (25/02/18)
Aberystwyth 1-2 Carmarthen (01/01/18)
Carmarthen 1-0 Aberystwyth (26/12/17)

Saturday, 21 April

Cardiff Met v Bala Town | Saturday – 14:30
Following four consecutive defeats Bala Town are out of the race for 2nd place and dropped into 4th position, five points behind Bangor City.

But Colin Caton’s crew have a 100% record against Cardiff Met, winning all seven meetings since thse students were promoted in the summer of 2016.

The Lakesiders have not scored more than twice in their last 22 matches, since winning 1-3 away at Newtown in October.

Bala Town captain, Chris Venables is set to make his 400th WPL appearance, becoming the 19th player to reach the milestone.

It’s been a tough spell for Christian Edwards’ side as they have lost 10 of their last 12 domestic games, with their only win coming against struggling Carmarthen (11th).

The reason for their poor league form could be down to tiredness as they have been busy competing in University Cups and were recently crowned champions of the British Universities Cup.

If Bala were to win and Bangor to lose against the Druids on Sunday then the match between Bangor and Bala on the final weekend could prove vital for European qualification (if Connah’s Quay finish 2nd and win the Welsh Cup final, then the 3rd placed team would qualify for Europe).

Last meetings:
Bala Town 1-0 Cardiff Met (24/02/18)
Cardiff Met 1-2 Bala Town (16/12/17)
Bala Town 2-1 Cardiff Met (26/08/17)

Llandudno v Barry Town | Saturday – 14:30
Barry Town have secured 7th spot and booked their place in the play-offs following their 1-1 draw with Newtown last weekend.

Barry Town had won six consecutive games before sharing the spoils with Newtown at Jenner Park last Sunday, but they remain to be the only unbeaten side in the second phase of the WPL this season.

Llandudno are safe from relegation but Iwan Williams will want his side to finish on a high and try to better last season’s 9th placed finish.

The home side have won all three games between these sides in the WPL.

Last meetings:
Barry Town 4-1 Llandudno (24/02/18)
Barry Town 2-0 Llandudno (11/11/17)
Llandudno 1-0 Barry Town (16/09/17)

Newtown v Prestatyn | Saturday – 14:30
Prestatyn’s fate has been sealed in the bottom two, and Newtown will be keen to finish the season strongly.

Prestatyn are on a run of 16 games without a win in all competitions (lost 14, drawn 2) and will return to the Huws Gray Alliance next season.

Despite the poor run, manager Gareth Wilson has put pen to paper on a new deal that will keep him at the helm for next season.

January 2014 was the last time Prestatyn beat Newtown in the WPL.

Newtown and Bala are the only WPL clubs not to concede against Prestatyn this season.

Last meetings:
Prestatyn 0-1 Newtown (25/02/18)
Newtown 3-0 Prestatyn (13/01/18)
Prestatyn 0-0 Newtown (23/10/17)

Sunday, 22 April

Bangor City v Cefn Druids | Sunday – 15:00 (S4C)
Bangor City have failed to secure the domestic license to stay in the WPL next season – they have appealed the decision and the final call will be made next Thursday, 26 April.

The insecurity may have had an affect on the players… since it was revealed that Bangor’s application had been rejected the team have played twice and lost twice against Connah’s Quay.

Cefn Druids have won their last two games and know hope to make it three WPL wins on the bounce for the first time in almost 15 years (Sep-Oct 2003).

The home side has not scored in the three meetings between these clubs this season.

The Druids have not kept a clean sheet since the split, while Bangor have only managed seven goals in their last seven league outings.

Last meetings:
Cefn Druids 0-2 Bangor (23/02/18)
Cefn Druids 0-2 Bangor (16/12/17)
Bangor 0-1 Cefn Druids (27/10/17)

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