MATCHDAY TWO PREVIEW: Welsh Premier League
The Welsh Premier League got back underway last weekend with some surprising victories and stand-out performances and we move into Matchday 2 of Wales’ top flight.
Bangor City beat the League Champions, The New Saints 5-2 at Nantporth, whilst Bala Town, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Connah’s Quay Nomads and Llandudno recorded commanding victories over Newtown, Cefn Druids, Prestatyn Town and Carmarthen Town.
Barry Town United also made their return to the Welsh Premier League as they drew 1-1 with Aberystwyth Town at Jenner Park in front of the live Sgorio cameras.
But now it’s time for a new week of Welsh football and more whistles being blown and more balls being kicked by Wales’ elite.
Newtown AFC v Cefn Druids – 18/12/2017 19:45
The Robins suffered a heavy defeat last Friday at Maes Tegid and after a summer which has seen a big change in the playing squad with many players leaving and players come in to replace them, they will want to start to gel as a team and understand one another.
The Druids also suffered a heavy defeat like their opponents as they saw Cardiff Metropolitan’s Chris Baker score twice against them, as well as a free-kick from Eliot Evans.
Experienced defender Leon Clowes picked up a red card in the defeat to Bala and is unable to play but during the week, Chris Hughes recruited Shrewsbury Town defender Ryan Sears to add to his back-line.
Stuart Cook also misses out for Druids after receiving two yellow cards following a late challenge on Met skipper Bradley Woolridge.
Aberystwyth Town v Llandudno – 18/12/2017 20:00
Llandudno stagnated last season as they were unable to recapture their form in the previous season but Saturday’s showing against Carmarthen Town is already talk of the town as some discuss whether that they can challenge for a top six place this season.
Neville Powell made his return to the Welsh Premier League after a one year absence with a 1-1 draw with newboys Barry Town United on Sunday, courtesy of a debatable goal from Spittle. The goal stood and so far Aber remain unbeaten under Powell, albeit being one game.
Aberystwyth front-man John Owen has played for both sides and could play a massive part in the fixture after starting last weekend.
Cardiff Metropolitan University v Bangor City – 19/12/2017 14:30
Cardiff Metropolitan University host early Welsh Premier League title chasing Bangor City in an early clash between the two sides at Cyncoed Campus this coming Saturday.
The Archers welcome Kevin Nicholson back to the South Wales capital following his time spent as Cardiff City U23’s manager before being appointed as Bangor City’s First Team Manager this summer.
Both sides have a 100% win record after winning their opening day fixtures on Matchday One and they will look to retain that when the two sides face off in the club’s fourth clash this year.
The Archers claimed a 3-0 victory over Cefn Druids on Saturday as Chris Baker’s brace earned him a place in Sgorio’s five-in-form, as well as Eliot Evans scoring a long distance free-kick, to give the Met a commanding three-nil victory.
Bangor City go into the game on the back of a shock 5-2 victory over League Champions, The New Saints as Kevin Nicholson’s men sent shockwaves through the Welsh football scene.
Club record signing Brayden Shaw showcased his worth by scoring a brace on Friday evening, as well as another brace from experienced centre-forward and Assistant Manager, Gary-Taylor Fletcher. Summer recruit Anderson Cayola was also on the score sheet for the home side after converting a penalty in the 81st minute after being fouled.
Connah’s Quay Nomads v Carmarthen Town – 19/12/2017 14:30
Carmarthen continue their season on the road as they await the completion of their pitch renovation, which will see them join a long line of Premier League clubs with an authentic 3G pitch.
For now though, they’ll have to continue their season with another away trip and this weekend they travel to free-scoring Connah’s Quay Nomads, who flexed their full-time status plans with a commanding 4-0 victory at Prestatyn last Friday.
Prestatyn Town v Barry Town United – 19/12/2017 14:30
It’s the battle for the new boys as Gavin Chesterfield’s men travel to Prestatyn Town, a side that beat them in the Welsh Cup semi-final, all those years back.
Barry may have more confidence going into the game after picking up a point in their opening fixture but it is still early days and all to play for.
Prestatyn did show signs of competitiveness though in the game and may find it more of a level playing field in this fixture.
The New Saints v Bala Town – 19/12/2017 17:15
Live in front of the television cameras, the reigning League Champions take on the Welsh Cup holders who beat The New Saints in the final.
Under a new manager in Scott Ruscoe, he will take charge of his first home fixture in the Welsh Premier League. He’s already had the experience of managing them in the Champions League but it may be somewhat of a different atmosphere this time round at Park Hall.
The Champions though will be without Scott Quigley who left the Oswestry side earlier this week to join League One side Blackpool in what was a club-record fee.
Bala have never beaten The New Saints in the league but this could be their best opportunity yet after the confidence of the clash between the sides in their last meeting.
Colin Caton’s men also started the season strongly after scoring four goals last week, in what is an indifferent start to their season this time round following a slow start last season.
(Featured Image: Naomi Jones of Bala Town)