- Gwent Weekend Preview


Seven local clubs will attempt to reach the Nathaniel Cars Welsh League Cup quarter finals this weekend, starting with Friday's League Cup tie between Risca United and Treowen Stars.

 
Friday (7.15pm kick off and to be played to a conclusion).

Nathaniel Cars Welsh League Cup, round three 
 
Centre of Sporting Excellence, Ystrad Mynach: Risca United V Treowen Stars.

This is Division Three v One tie in which Treowen will hope to re-produce the form which enabled them to win 2-0 at second-tier Undy Athletic in the last round.
It's difficult to gauge how this game will pan out as each side has not played since December 5, Treowen losing 3-1 at Abergavenny Town and Risca winning 2-0 at home to Briton Ferry Llansawel.
The game has been switched to this 3G venue from Treowen's Bush Park and although there is a two-section gap between the teams, don't be surprised it it goes all the way to a penalty shoot-out.
 
Saturday.
 
Nathaniel Cars Welsh League Cup, round three (all 1.30om kick offs and to be played to conclusions):
 
Centre of Sporting Excellence, Ystrad Mynach: Aberbargoed Buds v Ammanford.
 
Aberbargoed were runners-up in this competition in 2010-2011 and reached this stage as a result of previous-round wins over Division Three side Caerau (Maesteg) and Llantwit Major.
They may see this tie as an opportunity to try to discover some confidence before returning to their day job of attempting to claw themselves away from the Division One relegation zone.
The visitors are third in Division Two and each of their last four league games have been in Gwent - winning at Croesyceiliog, Llanwern, but losing at Cwmbran Celtic and Caldicot Town.
 
North Site, Bettws Road: Bettws (Bridgend) v Caerleon.
 
This is a tie which could well go to a penalty shoot-out as Caerleon are placed eighth in the Division Three table with Bettws the side immediately below them.
If that is to be the case, then Caerleon will certainly have to do far better than they did in the their previous visit to this venue, a 3-1 league defeat on September 26.
Caerleon kept clean-sheets in each of their last two league games, winning 2-0 at Lliswerry and drawing 0-0 at home with Ely Rangers - the latter a side Bettws drew 3-3 with on December 19.
 
Old Road: Briton Ferry Llansawel v Chepstow Town.
 
A lack of match practice could be an issue here for Chepstow, whose only appearance since October 31 was a 3-2 round-two win at Ely Rangers on November 21.
That's a long time to go without a competative game and you have to go back even further to find Chepstow's
last league win - August 29 when they won 2-1 at AFC Porth.
However cup ties often throw form and placings out of the window and certainly Chepstow will feel they have a
chance to be giantkillers here.
 
Cwrt-Yr-Ala: Caerau (Ely) v Panteg.
 
An away tie against the reigning Division One champions will obviously mean Panteg will start as underdogs to bridge a two-section gap.
However the hosts are certainly not as good as they were last season, not a difficult conclusion to arrive at given they have lost seven of 12 league matches this season.
Panteg have played only 11 league fixtures, but have won twice in this competition and this is another tie which could well provide a shock result.
 
Grenig Park, Glanaman: Cwmamman United v Cwmbran Celtic.
 
Celtic will doubtless be itching to cross the white line as this will be their first game since they lost a lengthy unbeaten run when going down 3-1 at Llanwern on December 12.
This is their third successive away tie in this competition, having already won at the home grounds of Newport YMCA (5-0) and Barry Town United (4-3).
It may also be significant to note Cwmamman have played only once since October 24 and because of that, Division Two rivals Celtic will be favoured to reach the eight.
 
Nathaniel Cars Welsh League (all 2.00pm kick offs).
 
Division One (figures in brackets relate to table positions of 16).
 
Jenner Park: Barry Town United (5) v Monmouth Town (10).
 
Monmouth ended a six-game winless run by defeating hosts Aberbargoed Buds 3-0 last weekend, when Richard Greaves and Nick Harrhy both took their season's goal tallies to 10.
Here The Kingfishers will seek to avoid a campaign double defeat having lost by the same score at home to Barry on September 19.
If they can keep strong at the back, then Monmouth will continue to climb the table because scoring has not been a problem for manager Andrew Smith's side, whose 32-goal tally is the highest among the top 13
Barry are eight points better off having won seven and drawn three of 15 fixtures, although they have won only one of their last three outings at this venue - which now has a 3G playing surface.
 
Last-six form:
Barry: W W D L W D
Monmouth Town: L L D D L W
 
Plough Road: Goytre (2) v Ton Pentre (11).
 
If Goytre are continue to be classed as genuine title contenders, then they simply must arrest an alarming slump of three successive defeats.
The positive aspect of the last two losses were they were by only one goal, 2-1 at Barry Town United and Briton Ferry Llansawel, so it could be argued there's not a lot wrong.
Goytre defeated Ton Pentre 1-0 at home in mid September and here will defend an unbeaten run of eight league matches at this venue.
The visitors' form has been patchy all season and three reverses from their last four games has them sitting just above the relegation zone.
 
Last-six form:
Goytre: W W W L L L
Ton Pentre: W D L L W L
 
Division Two: (figures in brackets relate to table positions of 16).
 
Jubilee Way: Caldicot Town (2) v Pontardawe Town (4).
 
Caldicot are hunting a third win on the trot plus a second victory of the season over the visitors, who they beat 2-0 at Pontardawe on September 26.
They will begin just a couple of points adrift of table-topping Undy Athletic and have two games in hand over their closest rivals with the sides scheduled to meet at this venue on February 6.
They do have an inferior goal difference than Undy, but it's better than the three teams immediately below them - the visitors, Cwmamman United and Cwmbran Celtic.
Pontardawe are on a roll of nine games without defeat and it's actually just one loss in their last 13 league outings - a 5-1 away defeat against Swansea-based West End as far back as August 29, 2015.
 
Last-six guide:
Caldicot Town: L W W L W W
Pontardawe Town: D W W D D W
 
Newport Stadium: Llanwern (13) v Undy Athletic (1).
 
Llanwern are placed just above the drop zone with only a couple of victories from 13 league starts, the last an unexpected 3-1 home triumph over Cwmbran Celtic two weeks before Christmas.
They have, however, lost 2-0 at this venue since that win to another promotion contender, Pontardawe Town, and now comes the biggest test of all - a visit from the leaders.
Undy are unbeaten in eight, won this corresponding fixture 3-1 at home on September 26, and have recently signed former Caldicot midfielder/forward Luke Harris and Slovakian-born midfielder Oliver Trajtel.
This match-up marks another return to his old hunting ground for Undy's former long-time Llanwern manager Laurence Owen, whose side is seeking to make their Division One debut in 2016-2017.
 
Last-six form:
Undy Athletic: W W W W D W
Llanwern: D W L L W L
 
Sports Ground, Margam: Tata Steel (8) v Croesyceiliog (16).
 
Including this visit to the outskirts of Port Talbot, bottom-placed Croesyceiliog have 18 games from which to maintain their second-tier status.
So with 54 points still to play for, it would be churlish to write off their ambition of staying up and success here could well be prove a catalyst for better times.
However what could be a problem in this particular game as Croesyceiliog have played just one since November 21, a 2-1 home defeat at the hands of Caldicot Town on December 5.
During the same period, the hosts managed to get onto the field twice and the bottom line is Croesyceiliog must better the 1-1 draw they gained when entertaining Tata in late September.
 
Last-six form:
Tata Steel: L D L W W L
Croesyceiliog: W L L L L L
 
Division Three (figures in brackets relate to table positions of 18).
 
The Willows High School, Tremorfa: Bridgend Street (1) v Newport Civil Service (18).
 
This clash is one between two sides who have had to wait a long time for a game, the hosts not having played since November 28 - with NCS' previous match being the week before.
Therefore even though there are 33 points and 17 places seperating them, it's virtually impossible to predict the outcome, although the hosts will obviously start as favourites.
Once again, the amount of clubs to be relegated at the end of the season won't be known until after the last ball is kicked with estimates ranging from four to six.
Under those circumstances it doesn't need a football genuis to figure out NCS are in deep trouble, but the positive is they still have 24 fixtures remaining.
 
Last-six form:
Bridgend Street: W W W W W W
Newport Civil Service: L L L L L L
 
 
Riverside Ground, Radyr: Cardiff Corinthians (15) v Abergavenny Town (4).
 
Abergavenny lost the chance to second in the table on Wednesday, when they slipped to a 3-0 away defeat at the hands of promotion rivals Pontypridd Town and also had Dan Jenkins sent off.
The result ended Abergavenny's fine six-match unbeaten sequence, including four wins on the trot, and it was the first time in 14 league games the league debutants failed to score a goal.
These teams met at Abergavenny on October 21, when the Gwent side ran out easy 5-1 victors - although the capital side has shown a recent improvement in form.
Following a run of nine games without a win, including losing five on the trot, Corries' relegation fears were eased slightly with a a victory and a draw in December.
 
Last-six guide:
Cardiff Corinthians: L L L L W D
Abergavenny: D W W W W L
 
Spytty Park: Lliswerry (11) v Cwm Welfare (12).
 
Scoring only one goal in losing three consecutive losses has severely damaged Lliswerry's hope of a top-six spot and they are five points off that position currently occupied by Tredegar Town.
However given the visitors are the team immediately below them, this will be a match-up from which Lliswerry may feel confident of ending their poor run.
The 3G surface at this venue means the fixture will go ahead with Lliswerry seeking to land a fifth victory in their 17th league outing of the campaign.
The visitors have lost only once in their last three league games, although those trio of fixtures stretch back to October 31 last year.
 
Last-six guide:
Lliswerry: L W W L L L
Cwm Welfare: W L L W L D
 
Mendgalief Road, Pill: Newport YMCA (10) v Treharris Athletic Western (16).
 
YMCA were thumped 5-0 on a 3G playing surface when visiting Cardiff-based STM Sports last Saturday, an outcome which was their sixth defeat in 14 games.
However they are more than capable of earning a fifth success here and are they currently just four points off sixth position with a couple of games in hand.
YMCA began their home league campaign with a 3-1 triumph over Bridgend-based Bettws, but failed to win any of their subsequent six matches - three draws and the same amount of defeats.
Struggling Treharris have been sidelined since drawing 1-1 at Tredegar in December 5, although they still have as many as 23 games still left to play.
 
Last-six guide:
Newport YMCA: L W L L W L
Treharris Athletic Western: W L L D L D
 
Sports Complex: Tredegar Town (6) v Llantwit Major (7).
 
Only one point earned from the last 12 on offer has more or less scuppered Tredegar's chances to gaining promotion to Division Two.
They are 12 points adrift of second-placed Pontypridd Town having played three more matches and this particular clash marks the end of the first half of Tredegar's 30-fixture programme.
Nonetheless, stranger things have happened in football over the years and a victory here could well be the start of a lengthy winning run for Tredegar.
Llantwit Major are four points behind, but have played five games less and they've not lost in the league since going down 2-1 at Panteg on September 26.
 
Last-six guide:
Tredegar: W W L L D L
Llantwit Major: L W W W W D