Welsh League and Cup football preview

First published in Gwent Football

WITH the majority of local clubs playing in round one of the Nathaniel Car Sales League Cup, only three are in MacWhirter Welsh League action tomorrow – including Llan-wern and Treowen Stars, who meet at Newport Stadium.

All league games will kick off at 2.30pm, but cup matches are scheduled to start at 2.00pm with extra time and penalties if required.

Division Two

(Figures in brackets refer to league positions)

Recreation Ground – Aberbargoed Buds (6) v Caerau (Ely) (5)

Aberbargoed’s win one, lose one sequence continued last time out when they were beaten 3-1 at home by county rivals Caldicot Town.

Previous to that, they secured a 1-0 win over visiting Garden Village – two results which show just how inconsistent a start to the campaign they have made.

But a win here for player-manager Alyn Jones’ side could, depending on other results, take them up as high as third position.

The visitors have made an unbeaten start following relegation from the top flight at the end of the 2011-2012 season and they begin here following a 3-3 draw at Amm-anford.

Form guide: Aberbargoed: W L W L W L; Caerau: D W W W D

Division Three

Newport Stadium – Llanwern (3) v Treowen Stars (7)

Llanwern lost their unbeaten league record when losing 3-2 at AFC Llwydcoed last time out, although they recovered to win a Welsh Cup round-two qualifying tie 2-1 at Tredegar Town last weekend.

Forward Marcus Power has netted three times, his final total for the whole of the previous campaign, but Llan-wern chief Gareth Morgan will want another player to also find the back of the net more regularly.

Treowen have made a reasonable start under boss Carl Evans, although they crashed out of the Welsh Cup when beaten 4-0 at Division Two Croesyceiliog.

However their last league appearance did produce a fine 3-1 home success over Bridgend Street on Septem-ber 1.

Form guide: Llanwern: W D W W L; Treowen: L W W L W

Parc Emlyn – Newcastle Emlyn (6) v Risca United (1)

Unbeaten Risca are top of the Division Three table and start this game having won their previous league game 7-0 at home – against Newcastle Emlyn!

Since, player-manager Paul Michael’s side have beaten visiting non-leaguers Perthy-celyn United 3-0 in a Welsh Cup qualifying round two encounter.

Brendan Scott and summer signing Ian Turner lead Risca’s goalscorers with five and four respectively, while Rob Aldridge has three.

Since being thrashed at Risca, the hosts bounced back to defeat vastly under-strength Newport Civil Service 4-2 at home last Saturday.

Form guide: Newcastle E: W W L W; Risca: W D W W

Nathaniel Car Sales League Cup, round one

Jubilee Way – Caldicot Town v Caerleon

Caldicot were stunned 2-1 at home by non-league outfit Treforest last Saturday in a Welsh Cup qualifying round one tie.

That was a real shock because manager Nathan Cadette had previously guided them to a fine 3-1 Division Two victory at Aberbargoed Buds.

Caerleon lost 3-1 at home to Aberdare Town in their last outing, a result which prevented them from gaining a third successive Division One win. Boss Lee Relish’s men will start as favourites to progress, especially as that win at Aberbargoed is Cald-icot’s only one in their last five league and cup outings.

International Sports Stadium – Cardiff Grange Harlequins v Chepstow Town

Chepstow, under player-boss Russell Griffiths, secur-ed their first league win of the season on Wednesday at the second time of asking – and in some style.

Returning-from-injury striker Jason Thorn (2), Rob Thorn, Richard Sharratt, Tony Shier, Sam Rushworth and Dan Morgan were their scorers as they thrashed visiting Cardiff Metropolitan University 7-2.

That followed up last Satur-day’s 2-1 home Welsh Cup qualifying round two success over South Wales Amateur League outfit Ton & Geli.

The hosts, also of Division Three, have won only once in four league games – but were 3-0 home Welsh Cup winners against Treharris Athletic Western last weekend.

Celtic Park – Cwmbran Celtic v Garden Village

Although Celtic played well in patches in all of their last three games, they nonetheless lost them all and certainly need a morale-boosting win here from a game which breaks a remarkable sequ-ence of 17 successive away cup games for the club.

Only one goal was scored in those trio of games, although it’s not all doom and gloom for head coach Della Cheedy’s men who only conceded four.

Celtic did well in posting successive Division One home wins over Monmouth Town and Bridgend Town in mid-August and that sort of form could book their passage to the next round here.

The visitors have won two, including 2-1 at Undy Athletic last month, drawn another and lost a couple of league games and will begin 11th of 16 in the Division Two table.

Bridge Meadow Stadium – Haverfordwest County v Goytre

Goytre travel as Division Two leaders having won all six of their games with striker Luke Prosser the league’s top scorer with nine.

Player-manager Carl Evans’ team followed those half-dozen victories up last Saturday by defeating visiting Division Three outfit Abertillery Bluebirds 3-0 in a Welsh Cup tie.

However, this is an extremely tough challenge against a side placed fifth in Division One with just one defeat from six matches.

The hosts’ well-appointed ground will seem a different world to Goytre’s more homely Plough Road HQ, but could serve as a great motivator to them to cause a cup upset.

Sports Ground – Monmouth Town v Dinas Powys

In their first season in the top flight following successive divisional championship wins, Monmouth have acquitted themselves reasonably well.

They have a record of two wins, as many draws and a couple of defeats – and have, most notably, become the first team to score goals against both Haverfordwest County and AFC Porth when those clubs were top of the table.

The Kingfishers have always been prolific goalscorers and have already managed 16 in their six league games – although the down side is they have conceded the same amount and clean sheets are fast becoming a priority for joint managers Barry Burns and Robin Pick.

The visitors are unbeaten with a record of 4-2-0 and are second in Division Two.

Mendalgief Road – Newport YMCA v Newport Civil Service

A city derby which throws together rivals who have not met much competitively in recent years.

YMCA are fourth in Division Two with three wins, a draw and a defeat under boss Simon Pratt – whose team was bundled out of the Welsh Cup last Saturday when beaten 2-1 at Division Three side Risca United.

NCS also ply their trade in the lower level, they are seventh with a record of 2-1-2 under the joint managership of Ian Burman and Martin Elwick.

They lost 4-2 at Newcastle Emlyn last time out, although have the capabilities to cause a cup upset here and this is a clash which could quite easily have to be decided on pen-alties.

Recreation Ground – Pontardawe Town v Abertillery Bluebirds

Abertillery have struggled somewhat to put any consistent results together and find themselves ninth of 16 in Division Three with one win, a draw and two losses under boss Adrian Howells.

They lost out 3-0 in the Welsh Cup to county rivals Goytre last Saturday, although their last league game produced a fine 2-1 win at Tredegar Town.Tom Heard and Luke Lewis, though, have both managed to find the back of the net three times in seven league and cup outings – although this is a huge ask to gain a victory.

Pontardawe find themselves third in Division One with four wins and two defeats and start here on the back of a fine 2-0 win at former champions Goytre Utd.

Ynysangharad Park – Pontypridd Town v Undy Athletic

Undy boss Mark Crook has guided his team to sixth place in Division Two on the back of three victories in five games following last season’s second-tier championship success.

Top scorer is Gareth Culli-more, who has five league goals to his credit, and Undy will hope he and fellow-striker James Barnes can fire them into the next round.

Undy have won their last two matches, respective 3-0 home and 2-0 away victories over Cwmaman Institute and Caldicot Town – but this won’t be easy.

Pontypridd are second in Division Three with a 3-1-1 record which includes a 2-1 home victory over Chepstow Town in August.

Athletic Ground – Treharris Athletic Western v Croesyceiliog

Croesyceiliog are fresh from a 4-0 home Welsh Cup success over Treowen Stars, although a playing record of 1-1-3 has them lying in 13th position in Division Two.

Goalscoring is not a problem, their total of 13 equals that of third-placed Caerau (Ely), but only three sides have conceded more than the 14 manager Mark Waddon’s side have let in at the other end.

Nonetheless, Croesyceiliog will start here as firm favour-ites because Treharris have lost both league games they have played and were dumped out of the Welsh Cup 3-0 by Cardiff Grange Harlequins.

Other fixtures

MacWhirter Welsh League

Division One: Barry Town v Goytre United; Ton Pentre v Bridgend Town; Tata Steel (Markham) v Bryntirion Athletic.

Division Two: Ely Rangers v Ammanford.

Nathaniel Car Sales League Cup, round one: AFC Porth v AFC Llwydcoed; Bettws (Bridgend) v Cardiff Corinth-ians; Briton Ferry Llansawel v Aberaman Athletic; Caerau v West End (Swansea); Cardiff Metropolitan University v Taffs Well; Llantwit Major v Bridgend Street; Penhriwceiber Rangers v Cambrian & Clydach.

Welsh Autoparts Gwent County League

Division One: Abercarn United v Fairfield United; Albion Rovers v Clydach Wasps; Coed Eva Athletic v Pentwynmawr Athletic; Cwmbran Town v P.I.L.C.S.; Govilon v Abertillery Excelsiors; Lliswerry v Blaen-avon Blues; Panteg v Pill.

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

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

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