With both sides looking to put distance between themselves and precarious positions in the table – with Druids within three points of dropping out of the top six if Llandudno secure victory and The Ancients lose, and Prestatyn in the drop zone on goal difference – this is a huge fixture of Friday night football that is typically impossible to predict.
Furthermore, both of these outfits will be desperate to bounce back having lost not just their last JDWPL fixtures, but also having been the victims of defeats to lower-ranked teams in The JD Welsh Cup last weekend, with Ruthin Town overcoming Neil Gibson’s side and Llanrhaeadr Ym Mochnant conquering The Ancients, so if ever there were going to be times where these two sides felt like they needed to put in big performances, it is surely going to be this Friday night.
With Aberystwyth facing Connah’s Quay Nomads and Newtown facing Cardiff Met this weekend, Prestatyn will surely see the extra significance of gaining all three points on Friday night at Bastion Gardens, with their relegation battling counterparts all facing higher-ranked top six sides, but Druids will be very keen to secure victory too so this one is sure to be a very entertaining affair on Friday night.
MATCH FACT: The clubs have won one-each in WPL meetings at Prestatyn with 2 draws and an 8-6 goal lead for Druids.
Their current run of three games without a JDWPL win is the longest winless run of the season for Andy Morrison’s side in the league, and with The New Saints having pulled out a seven-point gap at the top of the table to The Nomads in fourth, it is exceptionally important that the Deeside Stadium outfit put together a run of wins going into the split in just over a month’s time.
Facing Aberystwyth, though, will be an incredibly tough test. Bala Town are going through an injury crisis at the moment, but for anyone to beat a Colin Caton side 4-0, that takes something special, for sure.
Looking at the sides who have managed to overcome Aber in recent weeks too, Bala, Bangor City and The New Saints inflicted Aber’s last three JDWPL defeats, and they were all by the finest of margins, so that tells you how well this side are playing at the moment.
Nev Powell’s men are doing very well at the moment, they have a great record historically on Deeside, but they’ll be coming up against a Connah’s Quay side who will be very keen to carry the momentum from their convincing JD Welsh Cup win into this match – make sure you don’t miss this one.
MATCH FACT: Nomads have won 10 of their home matches v Aber whilst the visitors have 13 successes.
The Robins have turned a corner, make no mistake about it, and in the nick of time too! Losing to Aberystwyth in their last JDWPL fixture was a blow, undoubtedly, but otherwise there have been very positive signs coming from the performances of the Latham Park outfit in recent weeks.
This weekend, they welcome Christian Edwards’ Cardiff Met to Powys in what is a very significant fixture for both sides at this stage of the season as Newtown look to build up a gap between themselves and the two teams tied on points with them in and around the drop zone, whereas Met are five points behind the champions at the top of the table and will be looking to close the gap.
Significant tests were overcome in the cup last weekend, with Newtown topping Guilsfield and Met coming away from Penybont with victory after dominating large chunks of the match, so this will be a match between two sides who are going to be in quite confident mood, and outfits who are known for playing some very good football – head over to Latham Park to catch this one!
MATCH FACT: This is only the second-ever fixture between these two sides at Latham Park in The JDWPL, with Met winning last season’s iteration 1-0.
Although the form guide strongly suggests otherwise, Carmarthen are improving by the week at the moment and were unlucky at Park Hall two weeks ago to lose 5-2 to The New Saints, with Scott Ruscoe himself conceding that the score wasn’t reflective of the visitors’ efforts against his JDWPL champions.
Couple that with a character-building victory in the cup last weekend, and you can understand perhaps why Mark Aizlewood’s Old Gold might head to Richmond Park to welcome on Llandudno on Saturday with a fair bit of confidence behind them.
The Seasiders are flying high in terms of their confidence at the minute too, as Iwan Williams’ first JDWPL win came two weeks ago at Prestatyn and that was following up by an emphatic victory over Gresford in the cup last weekend. Danny Hughes told WPL.Cymru recently that Williams has certainly brought the confidence and belief back to the Giant Hospitality Stadium with him, and that has shown in recent weeks.
A win here for Llandudno and other results going their way could see Williams’ men into the top six, but it won’t be easy.
MATCH FACT: Only two meetings at Richmond Park between the clubs since Tudno’s promotion two seasons ago; the visitors have won both matches and lead 5-2 on goals, and lead 4-1 in overall victories between the two sides.
Three successive defeats are what The Dragons have been through in recent weeks – last Sunday’s JD Welsh Cup clash included – but with some key players returning to the squad after representing Wales in the Home Nations futsal competition, Gavin Chesterfield’s side end their run of away games by returning home to welcome Bangor City to Jenner Park for a huge fixture this coming Saturday afternoon.
The reverse fixture brought about one of the results of the season, as the Dragons won 1-0 in Gwynedd back in September – a result that sent Bangor’s form guide spiralling in the wrong direction – but since overcoming that difficult run of results, the Citizens have been flying, taking on some of the league’s most in-form teams and brushing them aside to secure huge wins and vaulting them back up into contention at the top of the table.
A classic JDWPL fixture filled with so much history, this clash on Saturday afternoon is set to be epic, as Bangor will no doubt be desperate to avenge their defeat to Barry earlier in the season, with The Dragons equally eager to end their own difficult run of results.
MATCH FACT: The Dragons lead in overall match victories between the two sides by 12 wins to four with five drawn, and lead on goal difference by 50 to 23.
It is set to be some showdown in front of the Sgorio cameras this weekend, as Colin Caton’s Bala Town welcome Scott Ruscoe’s TNS to Maes Tegid for this weekend’s live JDWPL fixture.
Still winless in the JDWPL against The New Saints, Colin Caton won’t be thinking about that record at all going into this fixture as he looks to pick up a side ravaged by injuries which has conceded an uncharacteristically large amount of goals in their last two games, losing 5-0 to Bangor City and 4-0 to Aberystwyth Town, so the manager certainly has his work cut out ahead of this one.
These two sides met earlier in the season with The New Saints winning 3-0 at Park Hall, in the midst of what was a tough start to the season for Bala, but since then they’ve gone on a bit of a tear and climbed up the table at pace.
The last two results have very much gone against them, but the Lakesiders will be hoping their exceptional spirit and togetherness can help them pull out the performance they need for this fixture against a Scott Ruscoe side that is sitting five points clear at the top of the table going into a crunch stage of the season. Don’t forget to tune in for this one!
MATCH FACT: In 25 JDWPL encounters Bala have never beaten The New Saints, with Scott Ruscoe’s man having won five and drawn seven at Bala, leading 25-13 in terms of goals between the two at Maes Tegid.