There are only four rounds of matches left to play in the JD Cymru Premier season, and since The New Saints have already secured the championship, the attention has turned to the race for 2nd place and the battle to avoid relegation.
The New Saints have sealed their place in Europe, but there are three more tickets up for grabs which will be given to the league runners-up, the play-off winners, and the JD Welsh Cup winners.
If The New Saints were to do the double and beat Bala Town in the JD Welsh Cup final, then the 3rd placed team in the league would be granted the final European spot.
Cardiff Met (4th) v Pen-y-bont (3rd) | Friday – 19:45
12 weeks have passed since Pen-y-bont originally broke league rules by bringing on an ineligible substitute, yet their punishment is still unconfirmed.
Pen-y-bont are currently on a run of 11 league games without defeat (won six, drawn five), and despite the off-field uncertainty regarding a six-point deduction, the team are determined to qualify for Europe for the first time in their history.
Cardiff Met have gone five games without a win but are still in a favourable position to secure an European spot for the first time in three years.
This will be the fourth match between the sides this season, and their head-to-head record are equal with each team winning once, and the other game ending goalless.
Cardiff Met: ❌➖➖❌❌
Bala Town (5th) v Connah’s Quay (2nd) | Friday – 19:45
Connah’s Quay are one of four clubs who are unbeaten since the league split (along with TNS, Pen-y-bont and Pontypridd) and the Nomads could take a giant step towards securing the runners-up spot this Friday.
Neil Gibson’s men are three points clear of Pen-y-bont, and if Rhys Griffiths’ gang were to receive their pending six-point deduction then Connah’s Quay could very well confirm a 2nd place finish this week with a win against Bala Town (only if Cardiff Met v Pen-y-bont ends in a draw).
Bala Town have gone eight league games without a win for the first time since September 2010, and the Lakesiders must turn draws to victories if they are to finish in the top three for a fourth successive season.
Remarkably this will be the sixth meeting between these sides this season as they’ve clashed in the Nathaniel MG Cup final and in the JD Welsh Cup semi-final.
Bala Town came out on top in those cup fixtures, but it’s Connah’s Quay who have edged it in the league encounters, winning once and drawing twice.
But the aggregate score over the five meetings currently stands at 4-4, therefore this one could go either way on Friday night.
Bala Town: ➖➖❌❌➖
Connah’s Quay: ✅➖➖✅➖
Newtown (6th) v The New Saints (1st) | Saturday – 14:30
If anyone thought for a second that The New Saints would take their foot off the gas after securing their 15th league title, then they were mistaken, as the champions smashed seven past a helpless Cardiff Met last Saturday to bring their league tally to 96 goals in 28 games (3.4 goals per game).
The target for Craig Harrison’s squad is to reach the hundred, and hopefully break their own record of 101 goals scored in 2016/17.
Nevertheless, it ended goalless when these teams last met at Latham Park on the opening weekend of the season, but the Saints have since scored 12 goals in three home matches against Newtown.
Newtown have only netted once in their last six home games against The New Saints, and with the automatic European spots slipping out of reach, the Robins will now have one eye on the play-offs as they prepare to qualify for the third year running.
The New Saints: ͏✅➖✅➖✅
Caernarfon Town (9th) v Airbus UK (12th) | Friday – 19:45
Richard Davies had a decent start to his tenure as Caernarfon boss with a 2-2 draw at Haverfordwest County last Saturday.
Davies will have to adapt quickly into his new role because Caernarfon Town are now just one point above the relegation zone, which means a home fixture against bottom side Airbus is a must-win match for the Canaries.
After losing 27 of their 28 league games this season, along with point deductions for breaking league rules, Airbus UK have already been relegated and will drop back down to the JD Cymru North.
Anything other than three points for Airbus on Friday would confirm their status as the worst team to ever play in the JD Cymru Premier.
Nine points is the record for the lowest tally since the league was formed, and that record is shared between Cemaes Bay in 1997/98 (38 games), Cefn Druids in 2009/10 (34 games), and Druids again in 2022/23 (32 games).
Caernarfon Town have won their last six meetings with Airbus UK, which includes three victories during this campaign.
Caernarfon Town: ➖❌❌➖✅
Airbus UK: ❌❌❌❌❌
Flint Town United (10th) v Haverfordwest County (7th) | Saturday – 14:30
Flint Town United are in real danger of dropping down into the second tier as they are currently level on points with Aberystwyth Town (11th).
But the Silkmen have an impressive home record and have only lost once (vs TNS) in their last nine games at the Essity Stadium (won four, drawn four).
Haverfordwest County lead the race for 7th spot as the Bluebirds aim to reach the play-offs for the first time in their history.
The teams have met three times this season and Haverfordwest County have certainly conquered thus far, picking up seven points from a possible nine against the Flintshire faction.
Flint Town United: ❌➖✅➖❌
Haverfordwest County: ➖✅✅❌✅
Pontypridd United (8th) v Aberystwyth Town (11th) | Saturday – 17:15 (S4C)
At the end of the first phase of the season, after 22 games, Pontypridd United sat in 11th place, trailing Aberystwyth Town by two points.
Now, the tables have turned, and its Aberystwyth Town down in the deep end, two points below their next opponents, Pontypridd United.
No team has amassed more points than Pontypridd United since the split (14pts from a possible 18), but the league newcomers certainly aren’t out of the woods yet.
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.
And Aber’s recent form proves that they are up for the fight as the Seasiders have won three of their last four matches.
Pontypridd United have won their last five fixtures at home, but having already met three times this season the teams’ head-to-record are equal with both sides winning once before the dramatic 3-3 late comeback by Ponty at Park Avenue last month.
Pontypridd 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 9:30 on S4C.