On the final weekend before the league split there’s a three-horse race between Caernarfon Town, Haverfordwest County and Pen-y-bont to secure the last ticket into the Top Six. 

On Saturday night the league will be split in two and for the remainder of the season the Top Six clubs will compete for a place in Europe, while the Bottom Six teams will fight to avoid relegation. 

The New Saints, Connah’s Quay, Bala Town, Newtown, and Cardiff Met have already secured their place in the top half for the second season running, and Caernarfon Town go into the weekend in the elusive 6th position, two points above Haverfordwest County. 

There will be a big change at Newtown for the second phase of the season as they announced this week that manager Chris Hughes has left the club after a decade at the helm at Latham Park. 

Chris Hughes is the second manager to leave his role this month following the departure of Andrew Stokes who stepped down as Pontypridd United boss last week. 


Saturday, 13 January 


Cardiff Met (5th) v Caernarfon Town (6ed) | Saturday – 17:15 (S4C) 

The task is simple for Caernarfon Town, beat Cardiff Met and they will claim the final position in the Top Six. 

But a loss or a draw would open the door for Haverfordwest County or Pen-y-bont to take advantage and climb above them. 

The Cofis had managed to reach the Top Six for four consecutive years before failing to hit the target last season and finishing the campaign in 9th place, just four points above the relegation zone. 

Richard Davies’ troops have raised the standard this year with new additions proving to be valuable assets with the Canaries now favourites to secure the last ticket into the Top Six. 

Cardiff Met have confirmed their place in the top half for the second season in a row, but Ryan Jenkins’ squad are stuck in a difficult spell after suffering their heaviest ever league defeat last weekend (8-0 vs TNS). 

Cardiff Met have failed to score in their last four matches (lost three, drawn one), and they will need to turn the corner quickly to compete for a place in Europe. 

Caernarfon Town won 5-1 against Cardiff Met earlier in the season as Sion Bradley hit a hat-trick at the Oval, and the Cofis have an outstanding record against the Archers having won all their last eight meetings, keeping five clean sheets. 


League form:  

Cardiff Met: ❌➖❌✅✅ 

Caernarfon Town: ✅❌❌✅➖ 


Haverfordwest County (7th) v Bala Town (3rd) | Saturday – 17:15 

Haverfordwest County are Caernarfon Town’s biggest threat for a place in the Top Six, as a win for the Bluebirds against Bala Town could lift them into the top half if the Cofis were to stumble. 

Haverfordwest County have not been in the top half all season, and it would be quite a feat if Tony Pennock’s side could leapfrog Caernarfon Town on the final weekend before the split. 

The Bluebirds have not finished higher than 7th place since the 2004/05 season when they ended the campaign in 4th place with only The New Saints, Rhyl and Bangor City finishing above them that year. 

But after losing just one of their last eight league matches (0-1 vs TNS) Haverfordwest County have a chance to make it this year, although they’re depending on a favour from Cardiff Met. 

Bala Town have managed to secure a place in the Top Six for the 10th successive season, and Colin Caton will be extremely proud of the club’s current position after making several major changes to the squad over the summer. 

The Lakesiders have only lost once in their last nine games in all competitions (six wins, two draws), and confidence will be high in preparation for the second phase of the season. 

Bala Town won 2-0 in the reverse fixture in October thanks to two goals from George Newell, and the Lakesiders will be the favourites again on Saturday as they’re unbeaten in their previous seven meetings with Haverfordwest County (won four, drawn three). 


League form:  

Haverfordwest County: ͏➖✅❌✅➖ 

Bala Town: ✅✅❌✅➖ 


Pen-y-bont (8th) v Connah’s Quay (2nd) | Saturday – 17:15 

Pen-y-bont have received a three-point penalty for fielding an ineligible player and have therefore dropped to 8th place. 

However, Pen-y-bont are likely to appeal the decision and if their appeal was to be successful, and if they beat the Nomads, then they could potentially climb into the Top Six if other results would also go their way. 

This is the second year running that Pen-y-bont have broken the league rules and lost points because of it, but they managed to finish 3rd and reach Europe last year despite the three-point deduction. 

It has not been a good season for Pen-y-bont who would have expected to reach the Top Six following last year’s successes, but there remains a small glimmer of hope after two consecutive wins against Cardiff Met and Pontypridd United. 

After losing heavily against The New Saints in their last outing Connah’s Quay are now 15 points behind the front runners, which means that finishing second is the realistic target for the Nomads who are 10 points above Bala Town (3rd) with 11 games left to play. 

The head-to-head statistics are certainly on Connah’s Quay’s side as they have already beaten Pen-y-bont 4-2 earlier this season and are unbeaten in eight meetings with Rhys Griffiths’ gang. 


League form:  

Pen-y-bont: ✅✅❌❌➖ 

Connah’s Quay: ❌✅✅✅✅ 


Aberystwyth Town (10th) v Barry Town United (9th) | Saturday – 17:15 

It was a vital victory for Aberystwyth Town against Colwyn Bay last weekend (Aber 1-0 CB) with the Black & Greens stepping above the Seagulls and out of the relegation zone. 

It was Aberystwyth Town’s first win at home in the league since April when they beat Caernarfon Town on the last weekend of the season to secure their top-flight status. 

Barry Town United also caused quite a shock last weekend as they defeated Newtown 4-0 to claim their first win at home in the league since October, and their biggest league win since March 2021. 

One position and five points separates these two teams that sit above the bottom two and both clubs will see this as a crucial match in the battle to avoid the drop. 

Mark Cadwallader’s late header was enough to win the corresponding match for Aberystwyth Town against Barry Town United at Jenner Park in November (Barr 0-1 Aber), and the Ceredigion clan haven’t lost in six meetings with the Barry boys (won five, drawn one). 


League form:  

Aberystwyth Town: ͏✅➖❌❌❌ 

Barry Town United: ✅➖❌❌➖ 


Colwyn Bay (11th) v Pontypridd United (12th) | Saturday – 17:15 

Pontypridd United are preparing for their first game since the departure of manager Andrew Stokes who announced that he had stepped down from his role last week. 

Stokes had led Pontypridd to 8th place last year in their first season in the JD Cymru Premier, but after problems off the field which led to a six-point penalty for the club, the manager has decided to step aside. 

Colwyn Bay have fallen back down into the bottom two following their disappointing loss against 10-man Aberystwyth Town last weekend. 

Pontypridd United are the only team lower in the table than Colwyn Bay, and that is only because they received a six-point penalty in December for breaking league rules. 

Pontypridd United have the worst attacking record in the league having scored just 10 goals in 21 games to date, but it will be a chance for Andrew Stokes’ men to add to their tally as Colwyn Bay have the worst defensive record in the league. 

Colwyn Bay have lost their last five league matches, whilst Pontypridd United have not won an away league fixture since August (vs Aberystwyth Town). 

Colwyn Bay won 3-0 in the reverse match at Pontypridd, which was the Seagulls’ biggest win in the league since their promotion over the summer. 


League form:  

Colwyn Bay: ❌❌❌❌❌ 

Pontypridd United: ❌✅❌❌❌ 


The New Saints (1st) v Newtown (4th) | Saturday – 17:15 

After a decade at the helm of Latham Park, Chris Hughes has left Newtown after leading the club to Europe on three occasions. 

Newtown have reached the Top Six this year for the seventh time under Chris Hughes’ guidance, but the Robins will need to appoint another manager for the second phase of the season to replace the 44-year-old from Denbigh. 

The New Saints have gone on a run of 31 games without defeat in all competitions for the first time since 2017, and have won 23 consecutive matches, breaking 15 points clear of Connah’s Quay at the top of the league. 

As well as flying to the top of the table, The New Saints have secured their place in the final of the Nathaniel MG Cup, have progressed to the fourth round of the Welsh Cup and the semi-finals of the Scottish Challenge Cup. 

This is the Oswestry outfit’s best run since August 2016 to February 2017 (31 games without defeat), and during that time they broke the world record with 27 consecutive victories. 

Craig Harrison’s contingent will be determined to break their own record, and to beat their previous run of 39 competitive games without defeat between August 2014 and April 2015. 

Newtown had been putting pressure on Connah’s Quay in the race for second place, but after three consecutive defeats the Robins have slid down the ladder and now 11 points separate themselves from the automatic place in Europe. 

Josh Daniels and Ben Clark scored to secure a 2-0 win for The New Saints at Latham Park in November, and the champions have won their last five games against Newtown scoring 19 goals (3.8 goals per game), conceding just once in seven games. 


League form:  

The New Saints: ✅✅✅✅✅ 

Newtown: ❌❌❌✅✅ 

 The highlights of the games will be available on Sgorio’s social websites, and the best of the weekend’s action can be viewed on Monday night at 9:30 on S4C. 

Rhys Llwyd

Author Rhys Llwyd

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