MacWhirter Welsh League football preview

First published in Sport

WHILE the majority of local sides bid for places in round two of the Welsh Cup tomorrow, there are a couple of MacWhirter Welsh League derbies – the pick of which is the Division Two promotion tussle between Undy Athletic and Newport YMCA.

MacWhirter Welsh League, Division Two (KO 2.30pm)

Old Road: Briton Ferry Llansawel (5) v Caldicot Town (11).

Caldicot need to steady the ship after being dumped out of the Welsh Cup and FAW Trophy by non-league sides recently.

There have also been two defeats in the last three league outings for manager Nathan Cadette’s team, which has striker Mitchell Slape top scoring with five goals.

On the plus side there was a fine 2-1 home League Cup success over Division One side Caerleon, an outcome which which shows Caldicot can produce a positive result when the mood takes them.

This, however, is a tough ask against a BFL team gunning for a fourth successive league victory and a sixth from the last seven games.

Form guide: BFL: W W L W W W, Caldicot: W L D L W L

The Causeway: Undy Athletic (3) v Newport YMCA (7).

After a slow start following promotion, Undy have managed to build up a head of steam and seek a fifth consecutive win.

Should manager Mark Crook’s team, which has Gareth Cullimore top scoring with nine goals, achieve that then they would go second behind runaway leaders Goytre.

Undy will be favourites to repeat August’s 2-0 home Gwent Senior Cup win over the visitors but Simon Pratt’s men are no pushovers.

YMCA were held to a 1-1 draw by visiting second-placed Dinas Powys last Saturday, a result which prevented them from posting a third straight victory and they've lost only one of their last six league matches.

Form guide: Undy: L L W W W W, YMCA: W D L W W D

Division Three

Sports Complex: Tredegar Town (11) v Newcastle Emlyn (7).

Little appears to be going right for manager Shane Davies’ Tredegar side, which starts here on the back of last weekend’s 3-1 defeat at Chepstow Town.

That was their fifth defeat in seven, although the nine goals conceded is bettered by only two teams who have played the same number of matches.

But because they’ve only scored the same amount it could well end up being a long, hard season for them unless they can manage to start to score on a far more regular basis.

The visitors lost a three-game unbeaten record last time out when they beaten 5-2 at home by Cardiff Metropolitan University.

Form guide: Tredegar: L L L L W L, Newcastle E.: W L W D D L

Bush Park: Treowen Stars (6) v Abertillery Bluebirds (14).

It’s an odd fact that Treowen are on the cusp of the promotion pack with four wins in seven, despite having the worst goal difference – minus four – in the top 12.

And with his team having only netted eight times, boss Carl Evans will be all too aware that his team simply must be more sharper in front of goal.

Last time out they posted a 1-0 home success over leaders Llanwern while Abertillery have conceded nine in losing their last two league games since winning 2-1 at Tredegar Town on September 1.

The home side will fancy their chances but Abertillery chief Adrian Howells is a cagey campaigner and his team can not be ruled out.

Form guide: Treowen: W W L W L W, Abertillery: L D L W L L

Welsh Cup round one (South) (KO 2pm and played to a conclusion)

Recreation Ground: Aberbargoed Buds v Treforest.

If Aberbargoed believe this will be an easy task then they only need to speak with those involved with Division Two rivals Caldicot Town.

They also hosted Treforest in the last round and came unstuck as the South Wales Amateur League side progressed thanks to a shock 2-1 win at Jubilee Way.

But player-manager Alyn Jones’ team is in high spirits following last weekend’s 9-0 FAW Trophy thrashing of another non-league team, CRC Rangers of the Swansea Senior League.

Recreation Ground: Ammanford v Chepstow Town.

Chepstow are in good form and their bid to bridge a division gap comes on the back of three successive league wins.

Striker Jason Thorn has made a good recovery from injury and scored five goals in those trio of victories and player-chief Russell Griffiths’ men will seek to emulate county neighbours YMCA.

They won 2-0 at Ammanford two Saturdays ago, although the west Walians recovered enough to defeat visiting Caerau (Maesteg) 2-1 last time out.

Cold Bath Road: Caerleon v Barry Town.

Having beaten Barry home and away in league games, you would think manager Lee Relish’s men would, and excuse the pun, relish a third match-up with the seaside outfit.

However, much has happened in recent weeks, notably Caerleon have lost three consecutive league games and Barry have won four on the trot to go top of Division One.

Caerleon may also not be at full strength because of suspension and injuries – all in all the perfect criteria for a cup upset!

International Sports Stadium: Cardiff Grange Harlequins v Llanwern.

An all-Division Three clash between the visiting leaders and a home side which has lost four of its first six league games.

Llanwern, under boss Gareth Morgan, have an in-form goalscorer in Alex North, who has netted hat-tricks in two of his side’s last three outings.

The Quins, though, are nothing if not extreme battlers and this is one which could go all the way to a penalty shootout to decide to reaches round two.

Woodland Road: Croesyceiliog v Caerau (Ely).

A cup tie between two clubs who shared 10 goals only the previous Saturday.

Croesyceiliog player-coach Jody Jenkins scored four times in that remarkable 5-5 draw to take his league tally to 10 for the season.

Goalkeeper James Peckham also saved a penalty in that game and the Croesyceiliog stopper could well prove to be a key performer if this game can not produce a winner after extra time.

Celtic Park: Cwmbran Celtic v Cambrian & Clydach.

Everything Celtic touches turns to rust these days and head coach Della Cheedy will be desperate to end a run of six straight league and cup defeats.

They’ve conceded 12 goals in the last two matches and face a huge challenge against the defending league champions who won 1-0 at this venue in late August.

That all adds up to the ingredients required for a cup upset and a Celtic success can not be completely ruled out.

Plough Road: Goytre v AFC Llwdycoed.

It’s almost sure that Goytre player-manager Carl Evans will tell his team that this is a banana skin of a cup tie.

Division Two table-toppers Goytre have posted 10 successive league and cup wins since the season’s start while the more-than-capable visitors have five wins in six Division Three starts.

If 11-goal Luke Prosser is on form then that could sway matters for the home side, who have netted 38 times in those 10 outings.

Sports Ground: Monmouth Town v AFC Porth.

This match comes just three weeks after the sides were involved in six-goal thriller at the same venue – with Monmouth recovering from a 3-0 deficit to snatch a draw.

At that time the visitors were Division One leaders but have since dropped to third while the Kingfishers have moved up to seventh on the back of a three-match unbeaten run.

This is a tie which is almost impossible to predict, although the home team might be slight favourites given Daniel MacDonald has scored as many goals (11) as the entire Porth team has in eight league games.

Y Weirglodd: Rhayader Town v Risca United.

A trip into the unknown this for player-boss Paul Michael’s Risca side, which is in fine form having climbed to second place in the Division Three table.

However, the Huws Gray Cymru Alliance hosts will be aware that the visitors are without eight-goal man Brendan Scott, who is suspended following a recent red card.

The home team maybe playing football three levels higher, but again this tie could well go all the way to a penalty shootout.

Other fixtures

MacWhirter Welsh League, Division Three: Treharris Athletic Western v Llantwit Major.

Welsh Auto Parts Gwent County League

Division One: Abercarn United v Lliswerry; Blaenavon Blues v AC Pontymister; Clydach Wasps v Abertillery Excelsiors; Fairfield Utd v Albion Rovers; Fleur-De-Lys Welfare v Govilon; Panteg v Cwmbran Town; P.I.L.C.S. v Coed Eva Ath; Pill v Pentwynmawr Athletic.

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

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

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