“We don’t even look at the league table until we’re at least 10 games in.”
That’s the old cliché used by football managers at the start of every season, but now as we’ve reached that mark there will be one happy gaffer at Oswestry who will be delighted to see his Saints seven points clear at the summit.
While over the border at the Deeside Stadium, the champions will be scratching their heads as they scroll down the table to find themselves in 10th position, only a point above the relegation zone.
Friday, 29 October
Connah’s Quay (10th) v Cefn Druids (12th) | Friday – 19:45
After back-to-back championships, not many would have predicted that the champions, Connah’s Quay, would be lying as low as 10th place with just 10 points from 10 league games.
The Nomads are in an untenable position, since they’ve collected at least 20 points from their opening 10 games in each of their last five seasons.
Connah’s Quay are currently on their longest run without a league win since 2014/15 (8 games), but they have the perfect opportunity to turn the corner this Friday as they host Cefn Druids who have picked up only one point from their last 19 league matches.
Despite the Nomads’ poor form, they still boast the second-best defensive record in the league having conceded just one goal more than The New Saints.
Craig Harrison’s side will have enjoyed the distraction of the Nathaniel MG Cup on Tuesday night as the Nomads saw off Holywell Town with a comfortable 4-0 victory to book a place in the semi-final.
Cefn Druids lost 2-0 at home against Connah’s Quay on the opening night of the season, and the Ancients have failed to win away against the Nomads since December 2011.
Connah’s Quay: ❌͏͏➖❌❌➖
Cefn Druids: ❌❌➖❌❌
Aberystwyth Town (11th) v Flint Town United (2nd) | Friday – 20:00
At Park Avenue the team that are second from bottom will welcome the team that are second from top in this weekend’s live fixture.
Kai Edwards netted his first league goal since 2017 against his former club as Flint Town United fought back to clinch a solid point at home against The New Saints last Friday.
Late goals are becoming a re-occurring theme for Neil Gibson’s men who have scored in the dying minutes in each of their last three league games to secure wins against Caernarfon Town and Barry Town United before last week’s draw against The New Saints.
And it was a controversial 94th minute goal that separated these two teams in the reverse fixture back in August as Flint captain Alex Jones seemed to have slapped the ball into the Aberystwyth goal with his hand.
Aberystwyth Town would take any sort of goal at present as the Black & Greens have failed to find the net in seven of their 10 league games this season and have not scored in their last four meetings with Flint Town United.
There was only one point between these two clubs in the 10th and 11th positions at the end of last season, but it’s safe to say that one team has certainly improved this year, while the other is still desperately trying to stay afloat in the JD Cymru Premier.
Aberystwyth Town: ✅❌❌✅❌
Flint Town United: ❌❌✅✅➖
Saturday, 30 October
Caernarfon Town (7th) v Barry Town United (8th) | Saturday – 14:30
After making the Top Six for the last three seasons, both Caernarfon Town and Barry Town United will be displeased to be sitting in the bottom half of the table.
Despite three consecutive top half accomplishments, the two teams have gradually slid down the rankings each year, with Barry Town United finishing one place above the Cofis in every season since their promotion (18/19 Barry 3rd, Cfon 4th | 19/20 Barry 4th, Cfon 5th | 20/21 Barry 5th, Cfon 6th).
Caernarfon Town have lost their last three league games, while Barry Town United are only two points above the relegation zone after claiming just one point from their last five league outings.
The league record might be abysmal, but there was reason to celebrate at Jenner Park on Tuesday as the Dragons smashed seven past Pontypridd Town to reach the Nathaniel MG Cup semi-final.
Caernarfon Town: ✅➖✅❌❌
Barry Town United: ❌❌❌❌➖
Haverfordwest County (9th) v Newtown (3rd) | Saturday – 14:30
Newtown are the in-form team in the JD Cymru Premier as Chris Hughes’ side are now level on points with second-placed Flint Town United following a fantastic run of four consecutive league victories.
Haverfordwest County have also climbed up the table and are out of the relegation zone after losing just once in their last five league matches.
But both sides tasted disappointment on Tuesday night as the pair were knocked out of the Nathaniel MG Cup, and with the two clubs already out of the Welsh Cup they can now concentrate solely on the league.
Newtown are unbeaten in their last six visits to the Bridge Meadow Stadium (won 5, drawn 1), and the Robins’ current away record is outstanding with just one defeat in their last 12 league games on the road.
Haverfordwest County: ✅➖✅❌✅
Pen-y-bont (6th) v Bala Town (4th) | Saturday – 14:30
After a slow start to the season, Pen-y-bont have won three on the bounce in all competitions and crept up into the Top Six.
A win for Pen-y-bont would lift them above Bala Town who have been dragged down to 4th place after failing to win any of their last three league games.
But there were smiles at Maes Tegid on Tuesday night as the Lakesiders won 3-1 against Newtown to advance into the Nathaniel MG Cup semi-final, which is a trophy Bala Town will be looking to get their hands on for the first time.
Pen-y-bont have never beaten Bala Town in the past, and Rhys Griffiths’ side had lost all previous seven meetings against Colin Caton’s crew before their 2-2 draw at the start of this campaign.
Bala Town: ✅✅➖❌➖
The New Saints (1st) v Cardiff Met (5th) | Saturday – 14:30
The New Saints dropped points for only the second time this season in their frustrating encounter with Flint Town United last Friday.
Anthony Limbrick certainly felt hard done by with the controversial decisions that led to the 1-1 draw at Cae y Castell, but the Saints remain seven points clear of the chasing pack and are still unbeaten in the league.
Cardiff Met will be feeling confident after they secured their place in the Nathaniel MG Cup semi-final with an away win at Haverfordwest County on Tuesday night.
The students have only lost on one of their last nine away trips in the JD Cymru Premier, and Dr Christian Edwards will be determined to get the Archers back into Europe in his final season in charge at Cyncoed Campus.
The New Saints: ✅✅✅✅➖
Cardiff Met: ❌✅❌✅➖
Highlights of all games will be available on Sgorio’s online accounts.