MacWhirter Welsh League football preview

WITH all three top-flight clubs away from home in the MacWhirter Welsh League, neutral fans seeking the prospect of a goal-laden game may well find it worth watching the Division Two clash between hosts Croesyceiliog and Caerau (Ely) – the clubs having scored 20 between them in two recent league and cup meetings!

MacWhirter Welsh League, Division One

Dinas Park: AFC Porth (3) v Cwmbran Celtic (15).

Head coach Della Cheedy’s team put in a vastly improved performance in their last outing, a 1-0 home Welsh Cup defeat at the hands of defending league champions Cambrian & Clydach.

However, it was still a seventh straight league and cup reverse and although the season remains at a fairly early stage, gathering points has become an absolute must for Celtic.

Cheedy watched Porth struggle to beat Division Three hosts Newport Civil Service 3-2 in a Nathaniel League Car Sales Cup tie last Saturday.

It was far from a convincing display by Porth but Cheedy will be only too aware that his side will have to find their very best form to gain anything positive here.

Form guide: Porth: W D W D L W, Celtic: W L L L L L

Jenner Park: Barry Town (1) v Monmouth Town (8).

The Kingfishers return to league action following a 6-5 Welsh Cup penalty shootout win over divisional hosts Porth last weekend.

The top-flight debutants seek a fourth consecutive league triumph after wins over Dinas Powys, Margam-based Tata Steel and Pontardawe Town.

It’s not all about leading 11-goal marksman Daniel MacDonald because Elliott Ford has netted six times and seven other players have also got on the scoresheet in league games this campaign.

Since losing 3-1 at home to Caerleon on September 4, a quartet of wins have taken Barry to the top of the 16-strong division.

Form guide: Barry: L L W W W W, Monmouth: W L D W W W

Sports Ground, Margam : Tata Steel (9) v Caerleon (12).

Three defeats have spoilt what had been a fair start to Caerleon’s return to the top flight.

Manager Lee Relish’s squad appears to lack a genuine goalscorer – only 10 goals have been scored in nine league outings.

However, this match-up represents a good chance for Caerleon to return to winning ways or at the very least gain a point.

Margam-based Tata have won only one of nine games and have a worse scoring record than the visitors, having netted just six times in nine fixtures.

Form guide: Tata Steel: L D W L L L, Caerleon: L W W L L L

MacWhirter Welsh League, Division Two

Recreation Ground: Ammanford (7) v Caldicot Town (12).

Caldicot ended a run of three successive defeats by coming through a home NLCS Cup tie 3-0 against Division Three outfit Newcastle Emlyn.

However, manager Nathan Cadette’s side remains one of the league’s most inconsistent sides. Followers never really know which team is going to turn up.

Their record shows fine wins over wins at Aberbargoed Buds, Caerleon and Newport YMCA – but also home cup defeats at the hands of non-league opponents.

These teams drew 2-2 at Caldicot in August and with Ammanford having lost three of their four league and cup games parity could again be the final outcome.

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

Old Road: Briton Ferry Llansawel (2) v Newport YMCA (3).

Intriguing second versus third clash between teams with vastly-different goals for and against records.

In a nutshell, BFS score a lot and concede quite a few while unbeaten-in-four YMCA don’t find the target as often but don’t concede many.

If YMCA are to make a return to Division One then their main goal-getters, Daniel Edwards and Olly Beckett need to get into double figures. The pair currently have just four and three respectively.

This, though, is an extremely difficult task for the visitors who face a host side gunning for their fifth straight league victory.

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

Woodland Road: Croesyceiliog (10) v Caerau (Ely) (8).

Football often does its best to produce the exact opposite of fans’ expectations – so don’t be surprised if this previously goal-laden fixture ends up 0-0.

But given the teams have recently scored 20 goals between them in two league and cup games the odds on a goalless stalemate seem remote.

Croesyceiliog have been beaten only once in regulation time in their six matches and kept their first league clean sheet of the campaign when winning 3-0 at Cardiff Corinthians last Saturday.

The visitors have not won in four league games since defeating visiting Newport YMCA 1-0 on August 25.

Form guide: Croesyceiliog: L L D D D W, Caerau: W W D L L D

Plough Road: Goytre (1) v Penrhiwceiber Rangers (9).

With eight successive wins since the season’s start plus having a game in hand over the two teams below them, Goytre are marked down as hot favourites to land the Division Two title.

They did, however, suffered their first defeat last weekend when visiting Division One side Taffs Well won a NCSL Cup tie 1-0.

That was the first blank fired by player-manager Carl Evans’ team who, jointly with Dinas Powys, are the league’s top goalscorers with 31 from eight.

The visitors are without a win in four league fixtures – including a 4-3 home defeat at the hands of Undy Athletic in late September.

Form guide: Goytre: W W W W W W, Rangers: L W D L D L

MacWhirter Welsh League, Division Three

Cwmnant-y-Groes, Six Bells: Abertillery Bluebirds (13) v Bettws (Bridgend) (15).

Little is going right for Abertillery, who have failed to win any of their last six league and cup outings in regulation time, although three defeats were by the odd goal.

The last time they won a league fixture was on September 1, when they beat hosts Tredegar Town 2-1.

This particular match-up, however, is a really good opportunity for manager Adrian Howells’ side to secure much-needed points.

Bettws have yet to post a league win in four attempts and included in their three defeats was a 4-0 loss at Tredegar on September 22.

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

Cyncoed Campus: Cardiff Metropolitan University (6) v Newport Civil Service (11).

NCS start on the back of an unlucky 3-2 home NCSL Cup defeat by Division One high-flyers Porth, although it was a fourth defeat in five league and cup games.

They are a better side than their record and league position suggest and I saw them play to their potential when they knocked Division Two hosts Newport YMCA out of the NCSL Cup in September.

A lack of goals is hampering their progress, it’s only 11 in seven games, although Cardiff Met’s defensive record is not among the best.

Although sixth in the table, the students have conceded 20 goals in eight outings – the highest amount in the entire top 12.

Form guide: CMU: W L D L W D, NCS: D L W L L L

Newport Stadium: Llanwern (2) v Chepstow Town (9).

A county derby between a host side determined to return to the top of the table and a visiting team seeking a fourth straight triumph.

Llanwern, who recently signed Chris Ashley but released Chris Perry and Rob Warner due to work commitments, have won all four of their home league games.

Chepstow had to wait a while to make their league returns due to football red tape, but are progressing well under Russell Griffiths.

The outcome could depend on who comes out on top between the respective clubs’ leading league scorers – six-goal Alex North and Jason Thorn, who has scored five.

Form guide: Llanwern: W W L W L W, Chepstow: L W W W

Leisure Complex: Tredegar Town (10) v Pontypridd Town (5).

Tredegar have hit form of late and start with two wins from their last three league encounters under player-chief Shane Davies.

The last of those victories came on October 6 when visiting Newcastle Emlyn were defeated 3-1.

The home side’s defensive record of only 10 goals against is the best in the entire bottom seven, although the visitors are even meaner.

They have conceded just seven in as many outings and this could well end as a low-scoring draw.

Form guide: Tredegar: L L L W L W, Pontypridd: W L W W D W

Athletic Ground: Treharris Athletic Western (16) v Risca United (3).

Until last Saturday, this would have been a game which Risca would have have began as red-hot favourites to stretch their unbeaten league run to eight.

But Treharris, who have lost all five league games, produced one of the shock NCSL Cup results of recent seasons – a 2-1 home win over Division One leaders Barry Town.

Risca are still without suspended top scorer, eight-goal Brendon Scott, as they seek a quick-fire season’s double.

They were 2-0 home winners over Treharris on September 29, a mixed day for Scott who scored both goals and missed a penalty before being sent off to earn his current three-game ban.

Form guide: Treharris: L L L L L, Risca: D W W D D W

OTHER FIXTURES

Division One: Bryntirion Ath v Aberdare Town; Goytre Utd v Bridgend Town; Haverfordwest County v West End (Swansea); Pontardawe Town v Cambrian & Clydach.

Division Two: Garden Village v Cwmaman Institute; Ely Rangers v Cardiff Corinthians.

Division Three: AFC Llwydcoed Llantwit Major; Bridgend Street (Cardiff) Newcastle Emlyn.

Gwent County League

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

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

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

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