The league has been split into two as we head into the second phase of the JD Cymru Premier season and on Saturday the Top Six sides begin their push to secure European qualification while the Bottom Six battle to avoid relegation. 

 Saturday, 11 February 


 Cardiff Met (4th) The New Saints (1st) | Saturday – 12:45 (S4C online) 

The footballing world can be cruel on ambitious managers, but it’s very rarely that a manager is removed from his role after over-achieving. 


In a club statement, Cardiff Met announced that Ryan Jenkins had stepped down due to additional work commitments and since the Archers have secured a spot in the Top Six for the first time since the 2017/18 season, they require a ‘UEFA Pro’ license holder to compete for a place in Europe. 


Dr Christian Edwards has returned to the hot seat at Cyncoed Campus, only nine months since leaving the role, and his first challenge is to face an unstoppable TNS team. 


Finishing in 3rd position has been enough to seal a European spot in each of the last eight seasons, and as there’s only four points separating the four clubs between the 2nd and 5th positions, it promises to be an enthralling contest in the Top Six this season. 


The New Saints have ended the first phase of the season 16 points clear of the chasing pack and have broken the record for most goals scored (83) and fewest goals conceded (8) before the split. 


11 of those goals came against Cardiff Met as the Archers suffered the heaviest top-flight defeat in their history when the Saints last visited the capital (Met 0-7 TNS). 


Since their defeat to Dundee in the Scottish Challenge Cup in September, The New Saints have gone 20 games without a loss in all competitions (won 18, drawn two), and could possibly secure the championship as early as the end of February.  


But after an impressive run of nine league matches without a loss (won seven, drawn two), Cardiff Met will be keen to become the first team to beat the Oswestry outfit in the league this season.  


League form: 

Cardiff Met: ✅✅➖✅✅
The New Saints: ✅✅✅✅✅

 Bala Town (5th) v Pen-y-bont (3rd) | Saturday – 14:30 

There are four European tickets up for grabs this year, and those will be granted to the top two in the league, the JD Welsh Cup winners, and the play-off winners. 

If either one of the league’s top two teams also go on to lift the Welsh Cup, then the 3rd placed team would automatically qualify for Europe, and seeing as these two sides have reached the Welsh Cup semi-finals and are only one point apart in the league, this match could be crucial in the race for Europe. 


Bala Town have a fantastic home record with 12 wins and 11 clean sheets in their last 15 games at Maes Tegid, and Colin Caton’s crew have never lost at home to Pen-y-bont. 


After qualifying for Europe in eight of the last 10 seasons, Bala Town are experienced on the European stage but are yet to make a real impact after winngin just one of their nine European ties. 

Pen-y-bont are determined to get a taste of European football for the first time in their history, and Rhys Griffiths’ gang will be full of confidence having won six games on the bounce, and kept nine clean sheets in 13 matches. 

Pen-y-bont came out on top in the double-header during the first phase, winning 2-0 on the opening weekend before the 1-1 draw at Maes Tegid in October. 


League form:
Bala Town: ❌➖✅❌✅ 

Pen-y-bont: ✅✅✅✅➖

 Newtown (6th) v Connah’s Quay (2nd) | Saturday – 14:30 

Neil Gibson’s clan are currently 16 points behind league leaders, The New Saints, but it’s the 2nd position that is crucial for the Nomads as that will secure their place in Europe. 

Connah’s Quay’s remarkable run of 21 games without defeat came to an end last month, and the winds have since turned at Deeside with the Nomads now on a run of four league matches without a win. 

Nevertheless, Connah’s Quay have kept seven clean sheets in their last eight games, including their 5-0 victory against Airbus on Saturday in the Welsh Cup quarter finals. 

A lack of goals has seen Newtown stumble lately as the Robins haven’t found the net in their last three matches and are still waiting for their first goal in 2023. 

Newtown begin the second phase 11 points behind Connah’s Quay and Chris Hughes’ squad have only won once in their last 14 meetings with the Nomads (drawn two, lost 11). 


League form:
Newtown: ❌➖✅✅❌ 

Connah’s Quay: ❌➖➖➖✅


Caernarfon Town (8th) v Haverfordwest County (7th) | Saturday – 14:30 

Caernarfon Town have had to settle for a place in the Bottom Six for the first time since their promotion in 2018, but the Cofis will be determined to secure the 7th position which would guarantee their ticket to the end of season play-offs. 

But it’s Haverfordwest County who lead the way in the bottom half, as the Bluebirds begin the second phase two points ahead of the pack following their excellent victory over Connah’s Quay in their final game before the split. 

Caernarfon Town have only won once in their last 12 matches (drawn one, lost 10), with the only win coming against bottom of the league side, Airbus UK. 

But the Canaries have won three of their last four meetings with Haverfordwest County, which includes the 2-1 triumph at the Oval in September. 

Haverfordwest County have a poor away record this season, winning just twice in 13 games on the road in all competitions (drawn one, lost 10), and are without an away win since beating Airbus in November. 


League form:
Caernarfon Town: ❌✅❌❌❌ 

Haverfordwest County: ✅❌➖❌  


 Pontypridd United (11th) v Airbus UK (12th) | Saturday – 14:30 

The league’s bottom two sides meet on Saturday but both teams have contrasting hopes of avoiding the drop. 

Pontypridd United are only two points adrift of safety, while Airbus are 24 points behind 10th placed Aberystwyth Town, and with only 10 games left in the league season, it would take a miracle for Jamie Reed to save the Broughton boys from falling back into the JD Cymru North. 

With just one draw and 21 defeats in 22 games, Airbus find themselves on -2 points following their three-point deduction for fielding an ineligible player against Caernarfon Town in September, and the Wingmakers have broken the record for the least number of points at the end of phase one. 


Pontypridd United have already beaten Airbus twice this season with Ben Ahmun grabbing a first half hat-trick in their previous meeting in October (Air 0-4 Pont). 


League form:
Pontypridd United: ❌❌✅➖✅
Airbus UK: ❌❌❌❌❌ 


Flint Town United (9th) v Aberystwyth Town (10th) | Saturday – 14:30 

The result of this match could determine if these two teams will be looking or down for the remainder of the season. 

Six of Flint Town United’s last seven matches have been at home, and the Silkmen have only lost one of those at Cae-y-Castell, which was against The New Saints. 

It’s a worrying time for Aberystwyth Town who are hovering above the relegation zone after winning just one of their last eight league games. 

Aberystwyth Town are one of only two clubs who have been ever-present since the league’s formation back in 1992 (along with Newtown), and Anthony Williams will be desperate not to see the Black & Greens slip into the second tier. 

The Seasiders failed to keep a clean sheet during the first phase of the season, but they did get the better of the Silkmen, winning 2-1 at home before the 1-1 draw at Flintshire last month. 


League form:
Flint Town United: ✅❌➖➖❌
Aberystwyth Town: ✅❌➖❌❌ 

 All goals can be viewed on Sgorio’s online accounts, and the weekend’s highlights will be on Sgorio on Monday night at 10:05 on S4C. 

Rhys Llwyd

Author Rhys Llwyd

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