The second phase of the season is in flow and with nine games remaining the Top Six teams are competing for a place in Europe, while the Bottom Six clubs are battling to avoid relegation.  

The New Saints are 17 points clear at the summit and are in a promising position to claim their third championship in a row and lift the trophy for the 16th time in their history.  

In second place, Connah’s Quay are 10 points clear of Bala Town in the race for the second automatic spot in Europe. 

The club that finishes highest in the Bottom Six (7th place) will be allowed to compete with the remaining Top Six clubs in the end of season play-offs for the final ticket to Europe, while the bottom two teams will be relegated into the second tier. 



Bala Town (3rd) v The New Saints (1st) | Friday – 19:45 

A point for The New Saints on Friday night would secure their place in the top two, and therefore confirm their place in Europe for the 25th successive season. 

The Saints secured their 27th consecutive win by defeating Newtown on Tuesday night (3-0) but ‘Guinness World Records’ have now decided that the run isn’t eligible for a world record as the streak includes a penalty shoot-out victory over East Fife in October. 

Nevertheless, since their last defeat against Swift Hesperange on August 1st, The New Saints have gone on a 35-game unbeaten run in all competitions and are 17 points clear of Connah’s Quay at the top of the JD Cymru Premier. 

As well as securing their place in the Scottish Challenge Cup final after beating Falkirk last weekend, the Saints have already lifted the Nathaniel MG Cup in January and progressed to the quarter-finals of the JD Welsh Cup. 

The Oswestry outfit will be determined to go the entire season without losing a league game for the first time ever, and to beat their previous run of 39 competitive games without defeat between August 2014 and April 2015. 

Craig Harrison led The New Saints to two consecutive trebles between 2014-16 (JD Cymru Premier, JD Welsh Cup, Nathaniel MG Cup), but winning the quadruple for the first time is the goal this year. 

The Saints have not lost any of their previous 17 games against Bala Town (12 wins, five draws), and Colin Caton’s side have not scored in their last four meetings between the two teams. 

But the Lakesiders were the last team to take points from the champions in a goalless draw at Maes Tegid in September, and they will be eager for a similar result on Friday to end the Saints’ winning streak. 


League form:  

Bala Town: ➖✅✅✅❌ 

The New Saints: ✅✅✅✅✅ 


Cardiff Met (4th) v Caernarfon Town (6th) | Saturday – 14:30 

Third place is the realistic target for these two clubs in the hope of claiming an automatic route to Europe. 

Cardiff Met are aiming to reach Europe for the first time since 2019, while Caernarfon Town are desperate to get a taste of European football for the first time ever. 

Cardiff Met start the weekend three points behind Bala Town (3rd) following their draw at Maes Tegid last Saturday, with Caernarfon Town are another three points behind the Archers. 

After a run of seven wins in eight games between October and December, Cardiff Met have become sluggish and have not won any of their last six fixtures.  

Like Cardiff Met, Caernarfon Town started the second phase of the season with a good point away from home against Connah’s Quay, and the Cofis have only lost one of their last five matches on the road (2-1 vs TNS). 

Caernarfon Town had won eight games in a row against Cardiff Met before the teams drew 2-2 at Cyncoed Campus last month in the final league game before the split. 


League form:  

Cardiff Met: ➖➖❌➖❌ 

Caernarfon Town: ➖➖✅❌❌ 


Newtown (5th) v Connah’s Quay (2nd) | Saturday – 14:30 

Scott Ruscoe had a baptism of fire in his first game as Newtown manager on Tuesday night as the Robins lost 3-0 against his former club The New Saints. 

And after facing the table-toppers, the next task is to host the second-placed before welcoming Bala Town (3rd) in their following league game.  

It’s going to be a difficult spell for Newtown who have already lost five league games in a row for the first time since September-October 2016. 

Connah’s Quay will be disappointed to have dropped points at home against Caernarfon Town last weekend and Neil Gibson will demand three points on Saturday to take a step closer to the European prize.  

The Nomads will be the favourites at Latham Park having lost just one of their previous 18 meetings with Newtown (13 wins, four draws). 


League form:  

Newtown: ❌❌❌❌❌ 

Connah’s Quay: ➖✅❌✅✅ 



Haverfordwest County (8th) v Pontypridd United (11th) | Friday – 19:45 

Haverfordwest County have forfeited their place at the top of the Bottom Six following their surprise defeat against Aberystwyth Town last Friday. 

This was their first defeat away from home since October and the Bluebirds have only won one of their last five league fixtures. 

However, there is only goal difference separating Haverfordwest County and Pen-y-bont in the race for 7th place and a spot in the play-offs. 

Pontypridd United have climbed off the bottom of the table after a big win against Barry Town United in what was a perfect result for Gavin Allen in his first game in charge. 

Pontypridd United have the worst attacking record in the league (16 goals in 23 games), but six of those have been scored in their last two games which seemingly means that the squad have finally found their shooting boots.  

There are no issues at the other end of the pitch as Pontypridd United have the best defensive record in the Bottom Six, and only New Saints’ Connor Roberts (12) has kept more clean sheets than Pontypridd United goalkeeper George Ratcliffe (9) in the league. 

Haverfordwest County was one of the three clubs that failed to score in their two games against Pontypridd United in the first phase of the season (along with Bala Town and Aberystwyth Town). 


League form:  

Haverfordwest County: ͏❌❌➖✅❌ 

Pontypridd United: ✅✅❌✅❌ 


Aberystwyth Town (10th) v Colwyn Bay (12th) | Friday – 20:00 

This is a vital fixture for Colwyn Bay at the bottom of the table as a loss at Park Avenue would leave the Seagulls seven points from the safety of 10th place. 

Three points for Colwyn Bay would leave them just one point behind Aberystwyth Town, but easier said than done for the team suffering from a lack of confidence after losing seven league games on the trot. 

Aberystwyth Town secured their fifth win in the league last weekend, and their fourth victory by one goal to nil (winning 0-2 vs Pen-y-bont in the only other win). 

Colwyn Bay are one of the clubs to lose 1-0 against Aberystwyth Town this season, despite playing the majority of the match with an extra man following Mark Cadwallader’s first-half dismissal for Aber. 

But the Black and Greens are also one of only three clubs to lose against Colwyn Bay in the league this season (along with Pen-y-bont and Pontypridd United) as Steve Evans’ side beat Aberystwyth 3-1 at Llanelian Road in September. 


League form:  

Aberystwyth Town: ͏✅❌✅➖❌ 

Colwyn Bay: ❌❌❌❌❌ 


Pen-y-bont (7th) v Barry Town United (9th) | Saturday – 12:45 (Live online) 

Pen-y-bont have risen to 7th place after beating Colwyn Bay last weekend, and Rhys Griffiths’ team will be determined to hold their ground at the top of the Bottom Six in order to compete for a place in Europe at the end of the season. 

Pen-y-bont have appealed against their three-point penalty for playing an ineligible player during the first phase of the season, and there is a possibility that the club will regain those three points if their appeal is successful. 


It was a disappointing result for Jonathan Jones in his first game in charge of Barry Town United last Saturday, losing 3-0 at home against bottom of the table Pontypridd United. 

The Dragons start the weekend seven points clear of the bottom two but will have to be careful not to slip into troublesome territory. 

But a win for Barry Town United on Saturday would leave them only two points behind Pen-y-bont in the race for 7th place, which highlights the importance of this fixture.  

But Pen-y-bont are on a run of eight games without defeat against Barry Town United (won five, drawn three), managing to keep a clean sheet in six of the eight meetings. 


League form:  

Pen-y-bont: ✅❌✅✅❌ 

Barry Town United: ❌✅✅➖❌ 


The highlights of the games will be available on Sgorio’s social websites, and the best of the weekend’s action can be seen on S4C on Monday evening

Rhys Llwyd

Author Rhys Llwyd

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