Gwent weekend preview
THE majority of local clubs are involved in Nathaniel Car Sales Welsh League Cup ties on Saturday, although Risca United kick off the action tonight on Friday with a 'home' Division One game at Ystrad Mynach.
Division One (7.15pm).
Centre of Sporting Excellence, Ystrad Mynach: Risca United (13) v Caerau (Ely) (3).
Risca finally opened their win account and moved off the bottom of the table with a fine 2-1 away success over Garden Village last weekend.
Now the trick is to repeat the feat at home on this venue's 3G playing surface, where so far they have lost to Barry Town United (1-0) and Ton Pentre (3-1).
A victory here could take player-manager Paul Michael's troops into a mid-table position, albiet overnight, although they will start the game as the underdogs.
The visitors lost only four times in 30 outings when winning the top-tier title in 2014-2015 - yet have been beaten twice already in just five starts.
Risca United: L L L W
Caerau (Ely): W W L L W
Saturday (League games kick off at 2.30pm).
Division Two (figures in brackets relate to table positions of 16).
Larkfield Ground: Chepstow Town (9) v Ammanford (7).
Chepstow's inconsistent start to the new campaign means they appear to be one of those teams which will do well providing the 'right one turns up.'
They lost their opening games 7-1 and 2-0, won the next 6-0, were beaten for the third time 2-1 before landing a fine 1-0 away success at Porth last weekend.
Manager Dave Livermore and assistant Gary Proctor will doubtless see this game as a good test for their side and a win here could well act as a catalyst for further progression.
Unbeaten Ammanford were promoted from Division Three at the end of 2014-2015 and have conceded only two goals in their four fixtures.
Chepstow Town: L L W L W
Ammanford: W D D W
The Causeway: Undy Athletic (7) v West End (9).
It's been an average start for Undy joint boss Michael Flynn, who shares dug-out duties with the experienced Laurence Owen.
The pair's latest match ended in a 2-1 reverse at the hands of Margam-based hosts Tata Steel, although reports suggest Undy missed enough chances to have won comfortably.
Undy have been on the cusp of the last three promotion races, finishing fourth, fifth and and six, following their 2011-2012 Division Three title win - so maybe this is their season.
West End are just a point below Undy in their second campaign since relegation from Division One and were convincing 5-1 visitors over visitors Pontardawe Town last Saturday.
Undy Athletic: W L D W L
West End: L W L L W
Division Three (figures in brackets relate to table positions of 19).
Pen-Y-Pound Stadium: Abergavenny Town (1) v Bridgend Street (4).
Abergavenny have made an excellent start to their debut Welsh League season and a 1-1 home draw against Llantwit Major was the first points dropped in four outings.
Manager Steve Morgan saw his side begin by winning at Tredegar Town and then Panteg before completing a quick-fire double over visiting Panteg.
Striker Richie Jeremiah scored in that game to take his campaign league tally to five, one behind Cwmbran Celtic's Josh Bull at the top of the goalscorers list for those player attached to Gwent clubs.
The capital-based visitors have made a 100 per cent start with away wins over Lliswerry and Newport Civil Service plus a home victory over newcomers STM Sports.
Abergavenny Town: W W W D
Bridgend Street: W W W
Bush Park: Treowen Stars (11) v Llantwit Major (18).
Treowen will be flat out to make it three games unbeaten following a start of two consecutive defeats and three more points here will lift them up to sixth place.
Boss Simon Evans has assembled a fairly strong squad and there is a real chance they could well win more than they lose during 2015-2016.
The bottom line is the Stars have to 'stars' and the emphasis is very much on togetherness and hard work, attributes which often add up to success.
The visitors also went down to a couple of reverse to start their campaign, but secured their first point by drawing 1-1 at table-topping Abergavenny last time out.
Treowen Stars: L L D W
Llantwit Major: L L D
League Cup, round one (ties kick off at 2.00pm and played to a conclusion).
Athletic Ground: Caerau v Aberbargoed Buds.
Because they have a two-division advantage, Aberbargoed will obviously start as favourites here to make it through to round two.
Striker Tom McCarthy scored 27 league goals as they earned first-time promotion last season and he has already netted three Division One goals.
However the unbeaten-in-three hosts appear to have rebuilt well following a couple of indifferent seasons and will certainly feel able to give this tie a real go.
Cold Bath Road: Caerleon v Treharris Athletic Western.
If you go on league form, then Caerleon will be the more fancied of these Division Three rivals to gain a place in the next stage.
But being unbeaten in four starts and up against a side which has won just once in the same amount of outings will count for nothing once the first whistle blows.
Therefore it would not be any great surprise to anyone if this particular tie went all the way to a penalty shoot-out following an extra-time stalemate.
Jubilee Way: Caldicot Town v Newport YMCA.
This is a tough ask for YMCA to bridge a divisional gap as boss Mark Williams' Caldicot outfit sits proudly on the top of the second-tier table having won all four of its games.
Under new manager Nicky Morgan, YMCA are seventh in Division Three with an even record of won, lost and drawn one.
However this is a derby cup tie and therefore nothing can be taken for granted and the only certain matter is the hosts will have to work hard if they are to make progress.
Woodland Road: Croesyceiliog v Cwmamman United.
Croesyceiliog will be doubtless be straining at the leash to post a first win of the campaign from this all-second-tier meeting.
The Cockerls won this cup back in 2009-2010 and there's no reason whatsoever why manager Mark Waddon team can't go on a decent run again.
Cwmamman are up from Division Three and have won twice in a trio of matches, including a 1-0 home triumph over Llanwern.
Station Road, Wenvoe: Ely Rangers v Llanwern.
Llanwern continue to re-organise following the shock, pre-season resignation of Gareth Morgan as manager - former player Dan Hartrey taking over from the newly-appointed AFC Porth boss.
They have failed to win any of their three Division Two games, but the positive aspect was the two defeats suffered were by single-goal margins.
Ely have a similar record from as many Division Three fixtures following last season's relegation and this could well be another tie to be decided from the penalty spot.
Sports Ground: Monmouth Town v Cwm Welfare.
Monmouth's poor beginning to the 2015-2016 campaign continued in mid-week, when they slipped to a 3-0 home Division One defeat to Goytre.
The Kingfishers now have no wins from five league matches and will certainly be hoping experienced goalkeeper Keiron Blackburn has fully recovered from a rib strain
Cwm are placed second from bottom of the 19-team Division Three table with only one point from a possible nine, that gained from a recent 2-2 draw at Ely Rangers.
Shannon Close, Bettws: Newport Civil Service v Cwmbran Celtic.
NCS are another club which favours having joint managers with Monmouth Town youth-team boss Simon Berry this season joining Ben Burrows in the Division Three club's dug-out.
Celtic also have a new man in charge in the shape of goalkeeper Nicky Church, who has to date guided his side to four victories in five Division Two starts.
That will mark them down among neutrals as the more fancied to go through, although there are many cases of higher-placed sides leaving this venue with their tails between their legs.
Bush Park: Panteg v Lliswerry.
This is Panteg's third successive weekend involved in a cup tie following an abandonment then a subsequent Welsh Cup victory over visiting Newport YMCA.
However their Division Three form is not so good and they currently prop up the entire 51-strong league with no wins from three starts.
Lliswerry slipped out of the national competiton when beaten on penalties by Newport Civil Service, although they have won one of four lower-tier fixtures to sit in seventh position.
Ynys Park: Ton Pentre v Goytre.
Goytre stretched their unbeaten start to five games with a convincing 3-0 away win over county and Division One rivals Monmouth Town on Wednesday night.
Player-boss Carl Evans and fellow-joint manager Lee Relish watched on as goals came from Matthew Prosser (2) and Kris Leek and the outcome moved them up a couple of rungs to third in the 16-strong table.
Ton are just two points and one place behind Goytre with three wins from five outings and this tie has all the ingredients to probably end up all square at the end of 120 minutes.