WPL weekend preview

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This Saturday night, The New Saints will travel to Jenner Park hoping to secure the WPL title for the eighth consecutive season – coverage begins on S4C at 19:15.

But the Saints could be crowned champions as early as Friday night if Connah’s Quay lose at Bala Town live on Facebook at 19:45.

Friday, 12 April

Aberystwyth v Cefn Druids | Friday – 19:45
Aberystwyth have won five of their last six games to climb up to 7th, one point clear of Cardiff Met in the race for the play-offs.

Aber’s only defeat in that run came at The Rock against Cefn Druids – the only club who have won all their games against Aberystwyth in the WPL this season.

Like Aberystwyth, Cefn Druids are on a remarkable run and haven’t lost in their last five outings (won 4, drawn 1).

Last meetings:
Cefn Druids 3-1 Aberystwyth (15/02/19)
Aberystwyth 0-2 Cefn Druids (21/12/18)
Cefn Druids 1-0 Aberystwyth (05/10/18)

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

Caernarfon v Newtown | Friday – 19:45
Caernarfon and Newtown are level on points in the 4th and 5th position, and this match could be vital to see who will gain home advantage in the play-offs.
The clubs in the 4th and 5th position will play at home in the semi final, and then the highest finishers will play at home in the final.

The Cofis have won two of their last three games, both at home against Connah’s Quay (1-0) and Bala Town (1-0).

But Newtown are the only club not to drop a points against the Canaries this season.

Last meetings:
Newtown 3-2 Caernarfon (16/02/19)
Caernarfon 0-3 Newtown (19/10/18)
Newtown 2-0 Caernarfon (17/08/18)

Recent WPL form:
Caernarfon: ❌❌✅❌✅
Newtown: ✅➖✅❌❌

Bala Town v Connah’s Quay | Friday – 19:45 (Facebook Live)
The New Saints will be wearing their Black & White scarves on Friday night, as a win for Bala Town against Connah’s Quay would mean that TNS would be crowned champions for the 13th time in their history.

But confidence is low in the Lakesiders’ changing room as Colin Caton’s side have lost six of their last seven games, conceding 12 goals in their last two outings.

Bala Town have not won at home in any competition since beating Connah’s Quay 2-1 on Boxing Day.

Connah’s Quay have pushed TNS further than they’ve been pushed for many seasons, but after a disappointing defeat at the Oval last Friday it looks like Andy Morrison’s title hopes have fizzled out.

If the Nomads avoid defeat on Friday then it would mean that the title race will have gone further than it has since the 2011/12 season when the Saints beat Bangor 5-0 on the final day of the season to win their first of seven consecutive titles.

After losing 1-0 at Caernarfon, this is what Andy Morrison had to say: “The Championship’s gone, it’s as simple as that, we’ve got to go now and cement 2nd place and make sure we’re in the Irn Bru Cup next year.”

The top two will secure a spot in the Irn Bru Cup again next season, before the rule change which will see next season’s League Cup winners take the second spot in the competition alongside the league champions.

Connah’s Quay have only won one of their last four away games in the WPL.

Last meetings:
Connah’s Quay 1-0 Bala Town (08/03/19)
Connah’s Quay 4-1 Bala Town (01/01/19)
Bala Town 2-1 Connah’s Quay (26/12/18)
Bala Town 0-1 Connah’s Quay (30/10/18) Trydedd Rownd Cwpan Nathaniel MG

Recent WPL form:
Bala Town: ❌✅❌❌❌
Connah’s Quay: ➖✅❌✅❌

Saturday, 13 April

Carmarthen v Llanelli | Saturday – 14:30
A 3-2 defeat at Aberystwyth last weekend confirmed Llanelli’s relegation.

It’s been a tough return to the WPL for the Reds who have won only four of their 29 league fixtures since their promotion back into the top flight.

Carmarthen will be thrilled to have avoided the drop and Neil Smothers and his staff will already be putting plans in motion for next season.

Old Gold striker Liam Thomas scored a hat-trick in the last meeting between these sides, and he netted again against Llandudno last weekend to raise his tally to 19 goals – the most goals scored by a Carmarthen player in a single WPL season.

Last meetings:
Llanelli 0-3 Carmarthen (15/02/19)
Carmarthen 2-0 Llanelli (01/01/19)
Llanelli 1-1 Carmarthen (26/12/18)

Recent WPL form:
Carmarthen: ✅❌❌❌✅
Llanelli: ❌❌❌❌❌

Llandudno v Cardiff Met | Saturday – 14:30
After four seasons in the top flight, Llandudno’s time in the WPL has come to an end following their 2-0 defeat at Richmond Park last Saturday.

Despite making several marquee signings, Llandudno only managed four wins in the WPL this season, and they will now join the likes of Colwyn Bay, Bangor and Rhyl in the newly formed FAW Championship North.

Cardiff Met hit a wall at The Rock in their bid to reach the play-offs as they lost 3-1 to Cefn Druids last weekend.

Llandudno have failed to score in any of their previous three league meetings with Cardiff Met at the giant Hospitality Stadium.

Last meetings:
Cardiff Met 3-0 Llandudno (16/02/19)
Llandudno 0-3 Cardiff Met (12/01/19)
Cardiff Met 0-1 Llandudno (16/09/18)

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

Barry Town v The New Saints | Saturday – 19:30
Some said that this was one of the weakest TNS sides they had seen in years – the Saints reacted in the only way they could, by winning games of football.

The New Saints were in an unfamiliar position back in January, lying in 3rd place behind Connah’s Quay and Barry Town, but since their last league defeat in January (0-1 vs Cfon), Scott Ruscoe’s stars have gone 15 league games without a loss, winning 12 of those matches.

In their last 12 WPL matches, TNS have kept 10 clean sheets and scored 51 goals!

With three league games to play, TNS captain Paul Harrison has already broken a WPL record with the most clean sheets since the league structure change (18).

The attacking players have also broken some personal bests, scoring more goals this season than they’ve ever done in previous years – Greg Draper (24), Ryan Brobbel (15), Aeron Edwards (11), Jamie Mullan (9).

With the Welsh Cup final also to come, it’s certainly an exciting period for the Oswestry outfit, but there’s also been deserved celebrations in the Barry camp.

After a fantastic comeback at Maes Tegid last week Barr have secured a top three finish and therefore clinched an European spot for the first time in 16 years.

Gavin Chesterfield was clearly overwhelmed and thrilled after the result at Bala Town: “I got quite emotional if I’m honest with you, as a few of the boys did because we’ve just been on a hell of a journey. We didn’t have a kit six or seven years ago… and some of the those boys have lived every moment with us, and to be here today against an established Welsh Premier League team who’ve qualified for Europe countless times in recent years, and (for us) to get there is just hugely humbling and I’m delighted.”

With only three points between Barry and Connah’s Quay at the start of the weekend, could the Dragons be thinking about nicking that second spot and a place in the Irn Bru Cup next season?

Last meetings:
The New Saints 2-2 Barry Town (16/02/19)
Barry Town 0-2 The New Saints (17/11/18)
The New Saints 5-1 Barry Town (12/08/18)

Recent WPL form:
Barry Town: ➖❌❌✅✅
The New Saints: ✅✅✅✅✅

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