Phase Two Reaction: A battle from the start
The Dafabet Welsh Premier League Phase Two kicked off to an action packed start on Saturday afternoon. With the split decided, the top and bottom six teams began their campaigns to either reach Europe or avoid relegation.
Although the weekend was the first of 10 games until the end of the season, it contained some vital results.
The New Saints 2-0 Cardiff Met
The New Saints extended their staggering run of games unbeaten to 23 against Cardiff Met. The game opened with even play, but TNS grew into the game to go 1-0 up via Adrian Cieslewicz with a chip over Cardiff goalkeeper Will Fuller.
A second half Darlington goal sealed a TNS win, whilst the students can reflect on a respectable performance against the champions who could retain the title as early as February.
gap Connah’s Quay 0-1 Carmarthen AFC
gap Connah’s Quay suffered a rare home defeat to Carmarthen thanks to a 75th minute Ceri Morgan strike. The first half saw Dwaine Bailey and George Horan miss good chances for their respective sides in a game where both defences were seldom broken down.
Nathan Woolfe was brought on at half time to increase the pressure on Carmarthen’s goal, but the combination of Morgan’s strike and rigid defensive organisation sent all three points to South Wales.
Bala 3-2 Bangor City
Bala claimed victory in a dramatic live televised affair at Maes Tegid. In the first half both sides had great chances to go ahead, but a Chris Venables header sent Bala ahead in the 5th minute of added time on the end of the first half.
Bangor looked to bounce back in the second half when Nardiello equalised, but in the midst of a rapid game Bala went 3-1 up via Anthony Stephens and Stuart J Jones. A late skill goal from Branco made it 3-2 in injury time, but Bala held on for the win.
Check out our FULL match report on Bala v Bangor here.
Aberyswyth Town 1-0 Airbus UK
The Green and Black started Phase Two in a better way than they finished Phase One, following their two home defeats to the Cefn Druids and Cardiff Metropolitan. The win not only puts Aber at the top of the Dafabet Welsh Premier League Conference but inflicts the woes onto Airbus UK.
The first half was goalless but debutants Dylan Rees and Malcom Melvin put in a good shift for Matthew Bishop’s side as both sides didn’t threaten either goal.
Early in the second half though, Aberyswyth would be awarded a penalty but Luke Sherbon, the captain would miss as his crossbar would hit the underside of the bar and bounce clear.
A minute later though, Luke Sherbon would make ammends and open the scoring for Aberyswyth as he would beat the Airbus goalkeeper.
Aber would grind out for the three points, creating an 11 point gap over bottom side Airbus.
Llandudno 1-2 Newtown
Newtown began Phase Two as they left off as they drew with The New Saints on the final day of Phase One a few weeks back. With an extended break following their exit to The New Saints in the earlier round, it gave Chris Hughes the chance to work closely with his players, many of which who have come through the Newtown ranks.
Jason Oswell would open the scoring for the Robins at Llandudno in the 28th minute with a header and the Robins seemingly going into the break 1-0 up, on the stroke of half time, Newtown doubled their lead as Rushton would score on his return to Newtown.
Llandudno would pull one back through January signing Sam Hart but it wasn’t enough in the end as the Robins continue their fightback.
Rhyl 0-2 Cefn Druids
Niall McGuinness’s side dropped into the drop zone after a 2-0 home defeat to the Cefn Druids, A quickfire first half double from Adam Hesp and Ashley Ruane was enough to erase last week’s JD Welsh Cup defeat to Llanfair United for Huw Griffith’s men.
Photo Credit: NCM Media