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!
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!
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.
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!
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!