WPL weekend preview

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Following opening weekend victories for Aberystwyth and Cardiff Met, both clubs will go head-to-head in front of the live Sgorio cameras at Park Avenue on Friday night. Then on Sunday afternoon, league contenders Connah’s Quay and The New Saints will meet at Deeside Stadium hoping to build on their strong starts to the season.

Friday, 17 August

Aberystwyth v Cardiff Met | Friday – 19:35 (S4C)
Aberystwyth started strongly with a 1-0 win over Llandudno on the opening weekend.

Declan Walker was the hero once again for the Black & Greens – netting the first WPL goal of the season, and what a goal it was!

Aber keeper, Leigh Jenkins was stretchered off in the second half and Neville Powell has wasted no time bringing in experienced stopper Terry McCormick ready for the Friday night fixture.

Aberystwyth have never beaten Cardiff Met in the WPL and have only scored once in four meetings with the students.

Christian Edwards returns to his old stomping ground hoping that his side can gain momentum from their 2-1 victory against Newtown last weekend.

Cardiff Met are starting their third season in the WPL, and having fallen at the final hurdle in the play-off final in their last two seasons, they’ll certainly be hoping that it will be a case of third time lucky this time around.

There hasn’t been much change in Christian Edwards’ squad as the students will be keen to show that consistency is key as they set their eyes on European qualification.

Newtown v Caernarfon | Friday – 19:45
Chris Hughes felt that his side was unlucky to come away from the capital empty-handed, especially as Nick Rushton missed a first half penalty for the Robins.

The Cofis had the perfect return to the WPL after a nine year absence, with a win and a clean sheet against the Druids (1-0).

Around 900 fans were at the Oval to watch the Canaries’ return to the top flight and captain Nathan Craig was boisterous following the game – “we’re not here to make up the numbers… We want to prove everyone wrong and show that this is where we’re supposed to be.”

Saturday, 18 August

Carmarthen v Llandudno | Saturday – 14:30
Both clubs finished last season in the bottom three of the WPL and are hoping for a more stress-free year.

But Carmarthen and Llandudno suffered defeats on the opening weekend of the new season and will want to get some points on the board this Saturday.

Last Friday, 11 new signings made their first appearances for Llandudno since signing this summer, and manager Iwan Williams will be keen for his side to gel together as quickly as possible.

Cefn Druids v Llanelli | Saturday – 14:30
The Druids had a frustrating start to the season losing out 1-0 against newcomers Caernarfon at the Oval.

But that was nothing compared to Llanelli’s horrific start as they were thrashed 7-0 by the Nomads on their return to the top flight.

It was a ‘freebie’ according to manager Andy Hill who says Llanelli are ‘feeling their way into the league’ and that ‘the gulf between the Welsh Prem and the Welsh League (south) is huge.’

Sunday, 19 August

Barry Town v Bala Town | Sunday – 14:30
Despite losing 5-1 to TNS on the opening weekend, Barry manager Gavin Chesterfield thought that his team learnt a lot from the game – “our season isn’t going to be defined by our ability to come and beat TNS… We’ll come on and learn off the back that… Whilst today is a huge negative in terms of the scoreline, its a positive for the growth of my team.”

The new signings were on form for Bala on Friday as they saw off Carmarthen with a 2-1 victory at Maes Tegid.

Bala have not conceded in their previous two WPL matches against Barry, and their defence will have to be solid if they are to compete with TNS at the top this season.

Connah’s Quay v The New Saints | Sunday – 16:00
Two of the title contenders will meet at Deeside on Sunday as the Nomads look to cause an early upset in the race for the 2018/19 championship.

Andy Morrison was in seventh heaven after his side demolished Llanelli last Sunday, with Michael Bakare scoring twice and making two assists on the opening weekend.

The New Saints finished 17 points above Connah’s Quay and the target for the Nomads will be to close that gap this season to push the Saints all the way.

Scott Ruscoe will have bad memories of his last visit to Deeside when Connah’s Quay knocked TNS out of the Welsh Cup on their way to lifting the trophy.

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