Welsh Football League MD21 Review (plus WFL Cup quarter-finals)
It’s Matchday 21 in the Welsh Football League this weekend. However, with the Welsh Football League Cup quarter-finals taking place on Saturday it means there is a slightly reduced schedule.
This is the usual look at what will be going on in the Welsh League this weekend across all three divisions, as well as a special preview of the four ties in the League Cup as we enter what is now the business end of the competition.
Game of the Week
AFC Llwydcoed v Llanelli Town
All four League Cup ties have something about them, but holders Llanelli Town’s visit to the Cynon Valley has the potential for the biggest upset of the round.
While Division Two club AFC Llwydcoed are not quite the lowest-ranked side left in the competition (with Llanelli Town the highest) the vast difference between the scale, the resources available and the aspirations of the clubs means if the home side were to pull off a result it would send shockwaves through south Wales football.
Llanelli Town lead Welsh League Division One, but other sides have shown this season they can be rattled.
The task is doing it for the full 90 minutes, as was evident at Ton Pentre last week. The Rhondda Bulldogs led for most of that match but eventually succumbed to The Reds’ class in the second half.
If Llwydcoed can reach that level of performance themselves, however, it could be one heck of a cup tie.
There is one other inter-divisional tie in the round, STM Sports of Division Two will host Division Three leaders Trefelin BGC. There is a long standing history between the clubs that stretches back to their time in the South Wales Amateur League.
Both sides have been going really well in their League campaigns, but there are contrasting narratives in their cup stories. STM Sports were beaten by South Wales Alliance side Penydarren BGC in both the Welsh Cup and the FAW Trophy; Trefelin in their League Cup campaign have already knocked out two Division Two clubs.
There is one all Division One tie with Cwmbran Celtic travelling to Briton Ferry Llansawel. With both sides unlikely to either challenge for the title or face the threat of relegation this season, the League Cup represents the highlight for both clubs so this could be a rip-roaring tie as they go all-out in search of a semi-final place.
The final tie is Division Two leaders Pontypridd Town at home to fellow Division Two side Aberbargoed Buds. On paper Pontypridd will be much fancied, but the Buds have already won at the USW Sports Park this season in the league so an ‘upset’ is by no means off the table in this one.
None of the top three of in action this weekend, giving an opportunity to the chasing back to close the gap. Last weekend Penybont (4th) and Goytre (6th) drew with each other – a result that was of little use to either side – Goytre are at home to Ton Pentre (15th) and only a win will do if they are to keep their diminishing title aspirations alive.
Monmouth Town (13th) and Cwmamman United (14th) need to start picking up points. Both have home games against Port Talbot Town (8th) and Goytre United (5th). Port Talbot’s trip to Monmouthshire will be their first game under new manager Cortez Belle.
Other fixture: Undy Athletic (10th) v Afan Lido (7th)
Like Division One, the top 3 have no league game this weekend due to the League Cup fixtures. It means Caldicot Town (3rd) could go back to the top if they win at Risca United (6th). Ammanford (5th) should not be discounted in the title race either and a win in their fixture against Pontardawe Town (7th) would consolidate their position among the challengers.
There’s a massive game at the bottom as West End (13th) entertain Dinas Powys (15th). Dinas Powys really need the points as they have played more games than those around them; a win for West End could well mean they have a cushion good enough to ensure another season in Division Two.
Other fixtures: Abergavenny Town (11th) v AFC Porth (16th), Croesyceiliog (8th) v Llantwit Major (9th)
Despite no league game due to their League Cup commitments, Trefelin BGC will remain top of Division Three at the end of the weekend. However, both Swansea Univeristy (2nd) and Bridgend Street (3rd) could close the gap with wins. They face the bottom two in the Welsh League, Swansea Uni are at home to Neuadd Wen (15th), Bridgend Street travel into the valleys to play Treowen Stars (16th).
Other fixtures: Ynysygerwn (13th) v Treharris Athletic Western (10th), Caerau (12th) v Chepstow Town (8th), Panteg (7th) v Trethomas Bluebirds (9th), Penrhiwceiber Rangers (11th) v Tredegar Town (4th), Pontyclun (6th) v Newport City (5th)