MacWhirter Welsh League football preview

WITH all three MacWhirter Welsh League top-flight clubs playing away tomorrow, the focus of attention falls on a county derby between unbeaten Divi-sion Two leaders Goy-tre and Caldicot Town.

All games kick off at 2.30pm and figures in brackets relate to the clubs’ league positions.

Division One Aberaman Park – Aberdare Town (12) v Cwmbran Celtic (14)

Celtic looked good when recording 3-1 home victories over both Bridgend Town and Monmouth Town in mid-August.

However, head coach Della Cheedy has since seen his team lose three successive league games – plus a Nathaniel League Cup tie.

But there were signs in all four that they are capable of far better and this game does offer them some hope of stopping the rot.

Having pointed that out, this won’t be a walk in the park because Aberdare were 3-1 winners at Caerleon last Saturday.

League form guide: Aberdare: L L W L D W; Celtic: L W W L L L

Sports Ground, Margam – Tata Steel (16) v Monmouth Town (11)

Can’t quite figure out if Monmouth’s playing record of 2-2-2, with goals both 16 for and against, actually represents a consistent or inconsistent start to their debut top-flight campaign.

What is clear is that there are always goals-a-plenty when the Kingfishers play and their last league outing produced a stirring comeback from 3-0 down to snatch a 3-3 draw at AFC Porth.

Elliott Ford scored all three in that match to take his league tally to five, just one behind team-mate Daniel MacDonald.

Tata Steel are also in their first season in Division One, but are struggling at the foot of the table – although they did win 1-0 at Ton Pentre recently.

League form guide: Tata Steel: L L L D W L; Monmouth: D L W W L D

Pri Deri Park, Myhill – West End (8) v Caerleon (10)

After posting fine league wins at Cwmbran Celtic and Barry Town, manager Lee Relish’s Caerleon have since suffered two disappointing defeats. Firstly there was a 3-1 home reverse at the hands of Aberdare Town before they crashed out of the Nathaniel League Cup when losing 2-1 after extra time at Caldicot Town.

Nonetheless, Caerleon have proved they can survive in their first season back in the top flight, although the priority is to find the net on a more regular basis.

The Swansea-based hosts are ahead of Caerleon on goal difference only, although they have played a game less and were 2-1 winners at champions Cambrian & Clydach last time out.

League form guide: Caerleon: W D L W W L; West End: L W L W D W

Division Two

Recreation Ground – Aberbargoed Buds (3) v Cardiff Corinthians (15)

Aberbargoed have appeared in more games, seven as opposed to six, than any other team in the top 13 – with no less than half a dozen played at home.

Nonetheless, player-manager Alyn Jones’ team has shown some decent form – although he will be aware that a more regular goal input is certainly needed.

They have scored 17 less than the side above them, Dinas Powys, from one game more and their total is only six better than the visitors from two matches more.

The Corries are struggling badly following relegation from the top flight and are in desperate need of their first points of the season.

League form guide: Aberbargoed: W L W L W; Corries: L L L L L

Recreation Ground – Ammanford (5) v Newport YMCA (6)

Having exited three cup competitions in a month – Gwent Senior, Welsh and Nathaniel League – YMCA are now left to concentrate on attempting to secure a Division One return.

They are another side who find goals hard to come by and their total of six from as many outings is the lowest in the entire top ten.

However, their last league game did produce a fine 3-1 home win over Penrhiw-ceiber Rangers – although this is a difficult task for boss Simon Pratt’s men.

Ammanford have lost only one of six and are unbeaten in their last five league and cup matches.

League form guide: YMCA: W L W D L W; Ammanford: D L W W D W

Woodland Road – Croesyceiliog (13) v Garden Village (11)

Can’t quite decide if Croesyceiliog are a side destined for a season-long battle against relegation or one which has the potential to produce a series of wins to join the promotion race.

What is clear is that it is a fairly young side which has a sprinkling of experience and that is usually a formula for success.

As I have written countless times, if someone can keep up with six-goal, player-coach Jody Jenkins on the scoring front then Croesyceiliog can do well.

The visitors had lost three successive games, but recovered to win an NL Cup tie 1-0 at Cwmbran Celtic last weekend.

League form guide: Croesyceiliog: L W L L D; Garden Village: D W W L L

Plough Road - Goytre (1) v Caldicot Town (10)

Goytre are the league’s only club with a 100 per cent record – plus there have been victories in both the Gwent Senior and Welsh Cup.

Player-manager Carl Evans’ side also contains the league’s leading scorer in nine-goal Luke Prosser, while experienced player-coach Simon Truman has four to his name.

Like Division One Mon-mouth, Caldicot boss Nathan Cadette’s team has an equal playing record of 2-2-2 with nine goals scored and conceded.

Therefore it doesn’t take a football expert to realise that they will have to be in tip-top form if they are to get anything positive out of this intriguing-looking county derby.

League form guide: Goytre: W W W W W W; Caldicot: D W L D L W

The Causeway – Undy Athletic (8) v Caerau (Ely) (4)

Undy return to league action following a two-week break and are seeking to land a third successive victory.

Manager Mark Crook’s outfit has wins over Caldicot and Cwmaman Institute, each without conceding, to build on and with leading scorers Gareth Cullimore and James Barnes keen to extend their respective five and two-goal totals.

They will start here on the back of last week’s 3-1 away NL Cup win at Division Three Pontypridd.

But Crook and co will be fully aware that the visitors are no mugs and indeed the capital side has lost only once in five league outings.

League form guide: Undy: W L L W W; Caerau: W W W D L

Division Three

The Willows, Tremorfa: Bridgend Street (16) v Abertillery Bluebirds (9)

A stuttering start for Abertillery, who have managed only one win in the four league matches they have played to date.

However, that was their last league match, a 2-1 home success over Tredegar Town, and a win here would stabilise their mid-table position.

Manager Adrian Howells, however, must lift his troops following last Saturday’s 3-0 away NL Cup defeat at Goytre.

The capital visitors have endured a miserable start to their campaign, losing all four league matches as well as being dumped out of the NL Cup 2-1 at home by debutants Llantwit Major.

League form guide: Abertillery: L D L W; Bridgend St: L L L L

Shannon Close, Bettws: Newport Civil Service (8) v Llantwit Major (11)

NCS have made an inconsistent start to the 2012-2013 season, although there have been signs that on their day they are a very capable team.

I watched them bridge a division gap to win a NL Cup tie 2-1 after extra time at Newport YMCA last Satur-day.

Often it really does depend on what NCS team turns up and if it’s one in the mood to play some good football, then this game offers the chance of further progress.

Newcomers Llantwit Major have only played two league games, although the first of those was a 4-1 home success over Treowen Stars on August 25.

League Form guide: NCS: W D L W L; Llantwit M: W L

Ty-Isaf Park: Risca United (2) v Pontypridd Town (3)

Second v third clash which has Risca seeking to stretch their unbeaten league run to a sixth game.

Player-manager Paul Mich-ael’s team is full of goals and its total of 16 from five is the highest in the entire 16-strong section – with Brendan Scott on six, Ian Turner with four and Rob Aldridge three.

They will begin on the back of last weekend’s 1-1 away draw with Newcastle Emlyn, although this is a tough encounter despite Risca having home advantage.

Pontypridd have lost only one of five, although they were beaten 3-1 at Undy in a Nathaniel League Cup tie last time out.

League form guide: Risca: W D W W D; Pontypridd Town: D W L W W

Sports Complex: Tredegar Town (12) v Bettws (14)

Since winning their opening-day fixture 2-0 at AFC Llwydcoed, the wheels have come off for Tredegar in terms of points gathering.

Lady Luck has deserted them somewhat because they have played some decent football in losing four successive league games. Player-boss Shane Davies must galvanise his men here and this game does appear to be one in which the rot can be stopped.

Bridgend-based Bettws failed to win either of the only two league games they have played since relegation from Division Two, although they did manage a 3-2 home NL Cup triumph over Cardiff Corinthians last Saturday.

League form guide: Tredegar Town: W L L L L; Bettws: D L

Athletic Ground: Treharris Athletic Western (16) v Chepstow Town (10)

Chepstow have had precious little league action to date with just two matches having been played since promotion as Gwent County League champions.

However, a 2-1 defeat at Pontypridd was more than made up for when defeating visiting Cardiff Metropolitan University 7-2.

Returning-from-injury striker Jason Thorn scored twice in that win and the key to a successful Chepstow campaign depends on him playing and scoring on a regular basis – although the team do have others capable of finding the back of the net.

Treharris have also only played two league matches, losing both and this looks like a good opportunity for the visitors to gain something positive.

League form guide: Treharris: L L; Chepstow: L W

Bush Park: Treowen Stars (7) v Llanwern (1)

Treowen get a quick-fire chance of revenge having been beaten 3-0 by Llanwern at Newport Stadium last weekend.

Boss Carl Evans and his men have made a solid start to their season and victory could, depending on other results, lift them into the top three.

Table-topping Llanwern secured that home success over Treowen thanks to an Alex North hat-trick and, because of that outcome, manager Gareth Morgan’s team will be slight favourites here.

Treowen, though, have won both of their home league games, against Bridgend Street and Tredegar, so this won’t be any sort of easy task for the visitors.

League form guide: Llanwern: W D W W L W; Treowen: L W W L W L

Other fixtures

Division One: Bryntirion Athletic v Bridgend Town; Taffs Well v Goytre United; AFC Porth v Barry Town; Haverfordwest County v Cambrian & Clydach; Pontardawe Town v Ton Pentre.

Division Two: Briton Ferry Athletic v Cwmaman Institute; Caerau (Maesteg) v Ely Rangers; Dinas Powys v Penrhiwceiber Rangers.

Division Three: AFC Llywydoed v Cardiff Grange Harlequins; Cardiff Metropolitan University v Newcastle Emlyn.

Gwent County League

Division One: AC Pontymister v Fleur-De-Lys; Blaenavon Blues v Cwmbran Town; Clydach Wasps v Coed Eva Athletic; Fairfield United v Lliswerry; Pentwynmawr Athletic v Govilon; Panteg v Abercarn United; PILCS V Albion Rovers

Division Two: Cromwell v Llanhilleth Athletic; Lucas Cwmbran v Mardy; Malpas United v Tredegar Athletic; Newport Corinthians v RTB Ebbw Vale; Rockfield Rovers v Cwmffrwdoer Sports; Spencer Youth & Boys Club v Cefn Fforest; Trethomas Bluebirds v Blackrock Rovers.

Division Three: Marshfield v Neuadd Wen; New Inn v Race; Pontypool Town v Ynysddu Crusaders; Rhymney v Tranch; Sebastopol v Ponthir;n Trinant v Caldicot Castle; Whiteheads v Thornwell Red & White.

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