WPL weekend preview

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As the first phase of the season comes to a close all six WPL fixtures will be played at 19:30 this Saturday night with the match between Bala Town and Caernarfon being shown live on S4C.

Saturday, 12 January

Carmarthen v Connah’s Quay | Saturday – 19:30
Only two points separate the top three and it’s the Nomads that lead the pack following their 6-1 thumping of Aberystwyth last weekend.

The Nomads have won five of their last six WPL games to stay one point above Barry Town, and two points clear of The New Saints.

In the previous eight season since the 12-team format was introduced, only once has a team been top of the league at the split and then fail to go on to win the title – that was Bangor City in 2011/12 as they finished runners-up to The New Saints.

TNS have been top of the league at the halfway stage for the last six years, winning the league seven seasons on the bounce.

Connah’s Quay have only lost one of their last eight meetings with Carmarthen in the WPL and won 3-1 against the Old Gold at Deeside Stadium back in September.

Carmarthen are six points clear of the relegation zone and are also six points adrift of the all-important 7th place – so will Neil Smothers be looking up or down during the second phase?

These clubs will meet again in two weeks time in the fourth round of the Welsh Cup.

Recent WPL form:
Carmarthen: ❌➖➖✅❌
Connah’s Quay: ✅✅❌✅✅

Llandudno v Cardiff Met | Saturday – 19:30
With 11 games to go until the end of the WPL season, Llandudno have a mountain to climb as they are nine points off the safety of the 10th position following a run of 15 games without a win.

Llandudno’s last league victory came in the reverse fixture against Cardiff Met back in September when Toby Jones grabbed the only goal of the game.

Cardiff Met are in their third season in the WPL, and having fallen at the final hurdle in the play-off final in their last two seasons, they had certainly set their sights on European qualification this time around.

Having reached the Top Six in both previous seasons, Cardiff Met find themselves down in the Bottom Six this year, but securing the 7th spot would still seal their place in the play-offs, and after comfortably beating Barry and Bala in their last two outings, the students are looking like a solid outfit once again.

Goals have been few and far between when these clubs have met with neither team able to score more than once in any of the previous five meetings.

Recent WPL form:
Llandudno: ❌❌➖➖❌
Cardiff Met: ✅❌❌✅✅

Bala Town v Caernarfon | Saturday – 19:30 (S4C)
Following their 3-1 win against Carmarthen last weekend, Caernarfon secured their place in the Top Six in their first season back in the WPL.

By securing a Top Six spot, the Cofis are certain to finish in their highest position in 20 years, since they finished 5th back in 1998/99.

Sean Eardley’s Canaries have only lost one of their last nine matches, while Bala have already lost twice in 2019.

Cofi winger Danny Brookwell was the star of the show when these clubs drew 2-2 earlier this season, scoring two impressive solo goals at the Oval.

Recent WPL form:
Bala Town: ➖✅✅❌❌
Caernarfon: ✅❌➖➖✅

Barry Town v Aberystwyth | Saturday – 19:30
With five wins in their last six games Barry have kept the pressure on Connah’s Quay at the top of the table.

By claiming a Top Six spot, Barry Town are certain to finish in their highest position since 2002/03 when they last won the title.

Aber enjoyed an emphatic run of five consecutive wins between October-November, but things have gone downhill quickly for Neville Powell’s Black & Greens who have dropped into the bottom half after losing five on the bounce.

Barry Town won the reverse fixture through Clayton Green’s goal, but Gavin Chesterfield’s Dragons have not kept a clean sheet since October which should give Aberystwyth a boost of confidence.

Aber have not won at Jenner Park in the WPL since 2003 when Marc Lloyd-Williams and Bari Morgan were on the score-sheet (0-2).

Recent WPL form:
Barry Town: ✅✅✅❌✅
Aberystwyth: ❌❌❌❌❌

Newtown v Cefn Druids | Saturday – 19:30
Newtown remain the only club to be unbeaten at home in the WPL this season, but Cefn Druids will be hoping to bring that record to an end.

The New Saints, Connah’s Quay and Carmarthen are the only teams to pick up a point away at Latham Park this season.

Cefn Druids have lost their last three games, conceding an average of five goals per game.

The last four meetings between these sides have ended in draws,including the revers fixture at the Rock earlier this season (1-1).

Recent WPL form:
Newtown: ✅➖✅✅❌
Cefn Druids: ❌✅❌❌❌

The New Saints v Llanelli | Saturday – 19:30
After a slight stutter at the start of the season, The New Saints seem to be back to their usual selves and are keeping the pressure on the top two.

The Saints have won their last four games without conceding a goal and are waiting to pounce if Connah’s Quay or Barry Town slip up.

The signing of Leon Britton has given Llanelli a well needed boost and the Reds enjoyed their first win since November in Britton’s debut last weekend against Llandudno.

TNS have already beaten Llanelli once this season, and it’s been over 12 years since Llanelli last won away against The New Saints.

Recent WPL form:
The New Saints: ➖✅✅✅✅
Llanelli: ❌❌➖❌✅

Highlights of all WPL fixtures will be on Sgorio every Monday at 5:30 on S4C.