Yes, that’s right, if TNS equal or better Connah’s Quay’s result this weekend, they will be champions for the eighth successive season. We have crunch fixtures elsewhere in the top six as well, and some crucial matches with significance for the bottom half.
A clash between the two form teams in the bottom six is sure to cause some fireworks this weekend, as Aberystwyth welcome Druids to Park Avenue for this fixture. This is the first of two tests for Aber as to whether or not they can hold onto their seventh spot, coming before their big clash against Cardiff Met at Cyncoed next week.
Two of the most in-form sides in the league, there is a lot to look forward to about this one as Aber have won their last four in succession and Druids are unbeaten in their last five with only one draw in that stretch.
MD29 action saw Druids do Aber a favour of sorts by beating Met 3-1, but they’ll be taking no prisoners in this outing either and could well hand the initiative back to Christian Edwards’ side in the race for seventh – who play Llandudno away on Saturday – if they get a positive result in Ceredigion.
Live on Sgorio’s Facebook page is a clash between two sides who have struggled to consistently secure positive results in recent weeks, as Bala – who have won one of their last five – welcome Nomads to Maes Tegid, with the visitors having to win to give themselves any chance of keeping their title hopes alive for another week.
The Lakesiders were on the wrong end of a heavy score line last week as they squandered a 2-0 second-half lead to lose 5-2 to Barry Town United at Maes Tegid, and will have to do better and be sharper at both ends of he pitch to have a chance of getting back to winning ways on Friday night.
The Nomads’ season of extensive cup runs has perhaps caught up with them in recent weeks, as they’ve only won two of their last five fixtures as well, and need a result here on Friday – not just to keep any hopes of winning the league title alive, but also to stave off the threat of Barry stealing second, as they’ve crept up behind the Deeside outfit in the standings again.
Whoever wins this fixture will put themselves in the driving seat to secure home advantage throughout the European Playoffs, as the Robins and the Cofis are currently tied on goal difference in the standings in fourth and fifth respectively.
A win for either side on Friday night would be significant with only two games remaining in the regular season, and also important for momentum going into what is set to be a hugely competitive round of playoff fixtures.
Caernarfon secured a big boost last week as they overcame Nomads 1-0 at the Oval, and in their last home game of the season they welcome Chris Hughes’ side who were thumped 6-0 by The New Saints last week, albeit after an extended period without a game due to rearranged fixtures and a lack of representation in the latter stages in the JD Welsh Cup.
Meetings between these two have been keenly contested this season, and another close battle is expected this evening.
Llandudno's relegation to Tier 2 was confirmed last weekend as they fell to a defeat against Carmarthen Town, but Cardiff Met’s were also disappointed after last weekend as they lost to Cefn Druids and handed the initiative to Aberystwyth in the race for seventh spot.
The Seasiders are playing for pride alone at present, but have lost a key player this week as Ben Clark has returned to TNS following his loan period – the young midfielder regularly impressed for Tudno in a host of positions since joining the club, and many expect he will have a bright future in the game, but that future won’t continue at the Giant Hospitality Stadium.
Cardiff Met slipped up back in Phase One at home against Mark Cowan’s side as a Toby Jones goal gave them a 1-0 win, but the Archers have responded well against Llandudno since then and won the last two meetings comfortably. They’ll be hoping for the same this weekend to get back to winning ways ahead of a crucial game against Aberystwyth next week.
A Carmarthenshire Derby is what we have on our hands this Saturday at Richmond Park as relegated Llanelli travel to Carmarthen, who secured their top flight status last week with a win over Llandudno.
That win ended a rotten run for Neil Smothers’ side, who had lost three of their previous four at the time, and it saw Liam Thomas get back on the scoresheet and break the single-season scoring record in the JDWPL for the Old Gold. He’ll surely now look to push on to catch Greg Draper, but with a five-goal gap between the two with three games to play, it could be too much of an ask.
Llanelli fell to Aberystwyth at Park Avenue last week, but threatened to steal a point at the end of the game after coming back from 3-0 down to make it 3-2, but again they couldn’t quite score the decisive goal to get more points on the board.
That result confirmed the Reds' relegation, but they'll be looking to finish the season as strongly as possible as they regroup and prepare for life in Tier 2 next season.
Barry have had an incredible season and will eagerly await their upcoming adventures in the Europa League, having secured European football for this coming summer last week, but before then they have a few more league fixtures to contend with and know that they could play a crucial role in deciding where the league title finds it’s home with a win this weekend.
If Barry were to win alongside a victory for Connah’s Quay at Bala on Friday, it could bring the gap at the top back down to four points with two games to go, but this will be a tall order against The New Saints who are on an absolute tear at the minute.
They won 6-0 at a canter last weekend at Latham Park, and their record in the last five games is faultless. They’ve been in this position before, so will be used to the pressure, but Barry will want to do everything they can to prevent a TNS party at Jenner Park and keep the title race alive for another week.
Saints could have already been crowned champions if Connah's Quay lose to Bala tonight, but it's surely now in the bag now for a side who last lost in the League back on MD14 (0-1 at home to Caernarfon). Since MD18's win over Llandudno just before Christmas, Scott Ruscoe's side have only dropped points once, although that was against this weekend's opponents.
This will be Aeron Edwards' last chance for action this season, as he starts a three-game ban as of Monday for improper conduct in the tunnel after the two sides met on MD24.