Date: Tue 14 Feb 2017

Dafabet WPL MD25 Preview

We’re running out of superlatives here to describe how great the action is in The Dafabet Welsh Premier League this season. Last weekend, The New Saints’ undefeated streak was finally snapped by Mark Aizlewood’s superb South Walian stars, as Bangor City and Bala Town did their part in making the race for second place even tighter, and that’s before we even talk about the bottom half, where there was plenty of great football to feast our eyes on. WPL Correspondent Jamie Thomas is your guide to this weekend’s five fixtures!

Cefn Druids v Newtown AFC | Friday, February 17th 2017 (19:45)

Just look at those form guides! Since the new year, Cefn Druids and Newtown AFC rank joint-top and second respectively in terms of points picked up over the last four games, with only Carmarthen Town comparing favourably to these two bottom half sides, but with neither of these two sides having tasted Dafabet Welsh Premier League defeat since 2016, this is set to be a superb game!

The Ancients have started Phase Two off superbly with a win away to Rhyl and a home defeat of Aberystwyth to show for their efforts so far, whereas The Robins topped Llandudno away and Rhyl at home to also give them a perfect start to the second stage of the season.
New signings have definitely made a big difference for both of these sides with Ashley Ruane and Nick Rushton making waves for Druids and Newtown respectively, and their performances have been central to both clubs’ impressive form in recent weeks.

It wasn’t the best fixture between these two sides at The Rock earlier on in the winter, as Druids won 1-0 very late in what was a very scrappy game, but the way these two teams are playing at the moment and how much they’ve improved over the last few weeks suggests we’re in for a great game here on Friday night, so, as usual, get down there and witness two top sides go head-to-head!


Aberystwyth Town v Llandudno FC | Saturday, February 18th 2017 (14:00)

The Seasiders do battle yet again, as ninth welcomes seventh to Park Avenue with both of these teams looking for a bit of consistency in their performances as Phase Two rolls on and the teams around them find their feet.

Against Druids on Saturday, Aberystwyth showed flashes of great play, but just lacked a cutting edge as Huw Griffiths’ side made them pay with a very dynamic, all-action display that gave The Ancients a 2-1 win, and for Alan Morgan’s Llandudno, they perhaps should have had two or three goals of their own against Airbus on Friday night, but instead they ran out a 0-0 draw with Andy Thomas’ men.

With Druids and Newtown facing off in the Friday night fixture, regardless of what happens between Aber and Llandudno they’re going to stay in touch with the race for the seventh spot and avoid finishing the weekend in the relegation zone, as Rhyl and Airbus both face off against each other and neither are close enough to cause the other four bottom half sides to look over their shoulders this weekend, at the very least.

John Owen faces his former club in this fixture when he lines up for Aber on Saturday, clearly having a lot of admiration for Llandudno when he spoke to WPL.Cymru last month, and he’s off the mark in terms of goals for Matthew Bishop’s men as of last weekend, so could he be decisive on Saturday? Get down to Park Avenue and see for yourself!

Aberystwyth Town 16/17 Form: LWWLLLLWLLWDWLLWLWDLLWL

Airbus UK Broughton v Rhyl FC | Saturday, February 18th 2017 (14:30)

The Wingmakers secured their first clean sheet since the first game of the season last weekend against Llandudno at The Hollingsworth Group Stadium and, although Llandudno could – probably should – have grabbed a couple of goals of their own, the same could be said for Airbus, as Andy Thomas commented after the game that he’d have put his house on Tony Gray tucking away some of the chances he missed.

Building on that clean sheet against The Lilywhites will be no easy task as Niall McGuinness’ men will be fired up and desperate to put a difficult start to Phase Two behind them with two consecutive defeats to Druids at home and narrowly to Newtown away to show for their efforts.

Rob Hughes was the difference between these two outfits last time out as Rhyl were 3-0 winners, but he has left the club now so The Lilywhites will have to do the business without him, as the 11th-placed team travels to the home of the 12th, so there is an awful lot on the line here and if you can make it to the game you’re sure to see a hotly contested affair.


Bangor City FC v Cardiff Metropolitan | Saturday, February 18th 2017 (14:30)

The Citizens put a tough run in the league behind them last Friday night with a fantastic 2-1 win over Gap Connah’s Quay at The Bangor University Stadium, courtesy of a Henry Jones brace and a generally impressive all-round performance from Ian Dawes’ men, and on Saturday they’ll welcome another side who have gone through a tough run of form of late in the form of Cardiff MET.

The Students won’t have another game to play for two weeks after this fixture as they won’t feature in JD Welsh Cup action next weekend following their 4-2 exit at the hands of Guilsfield last month, so for a chance to go into that break from action on a positive note they’ll want to be closer to repeating the performance put in against Bangor at Cyncoed, where MET won 4-0, as opposed to their last clash in Gwynedd where The Students lost 2-1.

Two fixtures against The New Saints follow for The Citizens after this game, therefore they’ll want to build up as much momentum as possible going into those fixtures – one coming in The JD Welsh Cup and one in the league – so be sure not to miss this fixture if you’re in the area on Saturday!


Carmarthen Town AFC v Bala Town FC | Saturday, February 18th 2017 (14:30)

Speaking of building momentum, The Old Gold have a good deal of it underneath them at the moment, haven’t they!? Consecutive wins in Phase Two away to then-second-placed Gap Connah’s Quay and at home to the reigning Dafabet Welsh Premier League Champions and current table-toppers TNS is just an incredible feat, unprecedented in many ways this season too!

This weekend though, they face the only team that can even think to hold a candle to The New Saints in terms of their league form over the past few months, as Colin Caton’s Bala Town – who have only lost one game in the league since late September – travel to Richmond Park.

The Phase One iteration of this fixture was a seriously close-run affair as The Lakesiders came away with a 3-2 victory just three days after The Old Gold had run out 3-2 victors themselves in extra-time against Newtown in The Nathaniel MG Cup Quarter-Finals.

Bala’s win in that fixture sent them on their way to the stunning run of victories you can see in the form guide below, but this time they face a group of men led by Mark Aizlewood who are just out to enjoy themselves and have no pressure to contend with between now and the end of the season, having already surpassed their own expectations by getting into the top half.

Could Carmarthen make it three wins out of three for Phase Two here, which would incredible considering they’ve played the top three sides in their first three games, so make sure you check this out if you’re in the area!


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Cefn Druids 3-1 Bala