WPL Round Up: TNS break record and race for top six stays tight
From record breaking runs to two time English Premier League winners watching on, this weekend’s Dafabet Welsh Premier League action was yet another action packed affair.
Whilst Matchday 16 saw some sides make vital pushes to top six qualification, the race for fourth, fifth and sixth continues to look as if it will go down to the final day before the split.
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The New Saints 4-0 Airbus UK
This game was much more than a standard home victory for The New Saints, as Airbus stood in the way of TNS breaking Bangor’s record of 16 consecutive Welsh Premier wins. Any chances of a loss of faith from TNS were cancelled out by a dominant first half performance, in which John Routledge brace and goals from Aeron Edwards and Scott Quigley did enough to seal a new record of 17 straight Welsh Premier wins which all but confirms TNS’ title retention.
The result inflicts further damage upon Airbus who have endured a torrid season so far, sitting bottom of the table with just 12 points and three victories.
Rhyl 1-2 gap Connah’s Quay
Rhyl came into this match off the back of a dominant 3-0 win over Airbus, with members of the Lilywhites suggesting it was a good time to play Nomads, who were in relatively poor form having lost twice in a week against Newtown in the WPL and The New Saints, who knocked them out of the Nathaniel MG Cup during a mid week semi final.
This prophecy was almost true, with Rhyl taking the lead in the first half via Zyaac Edwards who got on the end of a well timed counter attack, taking Nomads by surprise who had dominated from the start of play.
Despite an overall poor performance as conceded by manager Andy Morrison, Nomads took the win via a deflected equaliser from Les Davies and a second half strike from Tom Field.
The win tips Connah’s Quay for a top six spot as they have surpassed the 30-point mark, with Rhyl still in contention in eighth place but with seven losses in their last eight games.
Aberystwyth Town 1-3 Bala Town
Bala Town continued a reach vein of form on Friday night, beating Aberystywth to go nine games unbeaten. Mike Hayes and Lee Hunt sent the Lakesiders ahead in the first half before Kurtis March got one back for the hosts in the second. The result was confirmed by in the 90th minute courtesy of a John Irving goal.
The result sees Bala stay third, with Colin Caton’s men on a brilliant run which looks set to challenge gap Connah’s Quay current hold on the automatic Europa League qualification spot.
For Aberystwyth Town, disappointment will reign after a mammoth effort to get the game on involving the installation of temporary floodlights following damage to Park Avenue during a tornado. Sitting 10th in the table, the black and green’s must pick up points soon if they are to get a top six place.
Cefn Druids 1-0 Newtown AFC
Just as Newtown looked to have turned a corner after a 2-1 win against Connah’s Quay last week, Cefn Druids took all three points with a sucker punch 89th minute goal on Friday night.
The encounter was no classic with few major incidents throughout, but a goal from Hesp after he got a touch on a Mike Pritchard strike was enough for the Ancients to snatch the win.
With losses for Rhyl and Aberystwyth it has indeed been a good weekend for Cefn Druids, whilst Newtown slip back into the relegation zone.
Bangor City 1-2 Carmarthen Town
Ian Dawes’ reign as Bangor’s new manager got off to a rocky start on Saturday, after he officially replaced Andy Legg following the shock sacking of Andy Legg. Liam Thomas sent the Old Gold ahead in the 26th minute before Brayden Shaw brought Bangor level just before half time.
Lee Surman got Carmarthen’s winning goal, but would later be sent off after receiving a second yellow for a rash tackle. The victory is a major one for Carmarthen, who are now sixth and looking to stay there.
Bangor remain fourth and are far from any danger of not qualifying for the top six, but Ian Dawes will have work to do to win over the Bangor faithful.
Cardiff Met 1-1 Llandudno FC
Cardiff Met’s streak of six consecutive home victories came to an end on Sunday when Llandudno took a point from the Cyncoed Campus. Lee Thomas was key in sending Llandudno level, but not without controversy after making a seemingly heavy challenge in order to pass to John Owen who slotted past Fuller in goal.
This was a meeting between two sides gunning for the top six and both will have wanted more than their solitary point, with Cardiff Met fifth and Llandudno in seventh.