- Gwent Weekend Preview


FIVE local clubs will seek to join Risca United in the Nathaniel Cars Welsh League Cup quarter finals on Saturday, while others are involved in games concerning either promotion or relegation issues.
 
Nathaniel Cars Welsh League Cup, round three (1.30pm kick offs and to be played to conclusions).
 
Centre of Sporting Excellence, Ystrad Mynach: Aberbargoed Buds v Ammanford.
 
This tie has was abandoned after 75 minutes last Saturday with Division One outfit Aberbargoed leading their second-tier opponents 1-0 and the winners will be away to Risca United in the quarter finals.
Aberbargoed were runners-up in this competition in 2010-2011 and reached this stage as a result of previous-round wins over Division Three sides Caerau and Llantwit Major.
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 v Caerleon.
 
This could well be decided on penalties as Caerleon are placed eighth in the Division Three table with Bettws the side immediately below them and the teams are playing for a trip to either Goytre United or Taffs Well in the last eight.
If it does go all the way, 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.
However cup ties often throw up unlikely results and certainly Chepstow will feel they have a chance to be giantkillers against their Division One hosts.
Whoever wins this tie will then entertain either Caerau (Ely) or Panteg for the chance to reach the competition's semi finals.
 
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 have struggled this season in losing seven of 12 league matches and with Panteg having already won twice in this competition, this is another tie which could well provide a shock result.
The side which comes out on top will face an away tie at either Division One outfit Briton Ferry Llansawel or second-level club Chepstow Town.
 
Celtic Park: Cwmbran Celtic v Cwmamman United (switched from Cwmamman).
 
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, having already won at Newport YMCA (5-0) and Barry Town United (4-3) and a win will give them a home clash with Division Three promotion contenders Pontypridd Town in the last eight.
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 last eight.
 
Nathaniel Cars Welsh League (all 2.00pm kick offs).
 
Division One (figures in brackets relate to table positions of 16).
 
Aberaman Park: Aberdare Town (13) v Risca United (12).
 
A couple of wins from their last three league games plus last Friday's emphatic 8-0 home League Cup win over Division Three side Treowen Stars, points to Risca having finally turned the corner.
Those victories have taken them out of an away from the relegation zone, although it's all so very tight in and around the bottom of the table.
Success against fellow strugglers is always invaluable and should Risca gain another three points here, then it could prove to be the catalyst for better times for The Cuckoos.
Aberdare have gained only a single point from the last eight league fixtures and managed to score just one goal in those games.
 
Last-six:
Aberdare Town: L L L D L L
Risca United: L L L W L W
 
Stafford Common, Gorseinon: Garden Village (16) v Goytre (2).
 
With leaders Cardiff Metropolitan University in League Cup action this weekend, this is a marvellous opportunity for Goytre to reduce the current four-point gap between them and the students.
While football offers no guarantees whatsoever, Goytre will feel confident they can stop a run of three successive defeats here.
They will also be seeking a campaign double having defeated Garden Village 3-1 at home back in late September, when Calum Miles, Sam O'Sullivan and an own goal accounted for the west Walians.
The hosts are enduring as nightmare season and with only two points gained from a possible 45, seem almost certain to be playing Division Two football in 2016-2017.
 
Last-six:
Garden Village: L L L L L D
Goytre: W W W L L L
 
Division Two (figures in brackets relate to table positions of 16).
 
Woodland Road: Croesyceiliog (16) v Dinas Powys (14).
 
This clash against their fellow strugglers is as crucial as they come for Croesyceiliog and a win can often spark a run of success.
There's only a couple of points between these sides and manager Mark Waddon and his players may feel they can secure a second league victory of the campaign.
To do so, they will have to end a run of five games without a victory - a sequence which includes four consecutive defeats at this venue.
Dinas Powys, who are only two points better off, did post a 3-1 away triumph at Penrhiwceiber Rangers in their last outing on December 12.
 
Last-six guide:
Croesyceiliog: W L L L L L
Dinas Powys: D L L L L W
 
Newport Stadium: Llanwern (13) v AFC Llwydcoed (9).
 
Only two wins and as many draws from 13 league fixtures are the reason Llanwern are battling against the drop to Division Three.
They did manage to cross the white line last Saturday, but their home clash with county rivals Undy Athletic was abandoned when they were losing 1-0 with seven minutes of the first period remaining.
Because they have had five consecutive home matches, Llanwern have not played an away league game since November 7 - although on that ocassion they won 3-2 at Tata Steel.
After going five without a win, Llwydcoed posted two successive wins - but the last of those, 4-0 against West End, was as far back as December 5.
 
Last-six guide:
Llanwern: D W L L W L
AFC Llwydcoed: L D L L W W
 
The Causeway: Undy Athletic (2) v Penrhiwceiber Rangers (12).
 
Undy were poised to go top last weekend when they led hosts Llanwern 1-0 before the game at Newport Stadium was called off shortly before the break.
Manager Laurence Owen's men looked sharp and could well have scored more goals and they will feel confident of stretching their unbeaten run to a nine.
They are the division's joint top scorers alongside Llanelli with 36 goals with experienced striker Gareth Cullimore their leading marksman with eight.
Rangers are 20 points adrift of Undy with three wins and 10 defeats and struggling sides such as Croesyceiliog, Chepstow Town and Llanwern will be keen to discover the outcome of this game.
 
Last-six guide:
Undy Athletic: W W W W D W
Penrhiwceiber: L L L W L L
 
Pro Deri Park, Myhill: West End (11) v Caldicot Town (1).
 
Five wins from their last six league encounters has lifted Caldicot back to the top of the second-tier table under astute manager Mark Williams, who has signed central midfielder James Gidney from Undy Athletic.
Last season, his side missed out on promotion by finishing fourth - despite it keeping 14 clean-sheets from 30 fixtures.
To date, Caldicot have managed six shutouts and given they have games in hand over the first three clubs immediately below them, are justifiably tagged as promotion favourites.
West End are placed just above those clubs regarded as fighting against relegation, although they will need to improve on a current record of only two wins from seven if they are to remain there.
 
Last-six guide:
West End: D L W L L D
Caldicot Town: W W L W W W
 
Division Three (figures in brackets relate to table positions of 18).
 
Pen-Y-Pound Stadium: Abergavenny Town (3) v Caerau (4).
 
This is a vital clash for both sides, who are just outside the two-strong promotion zone occupied by capital-based leaders Bridgend Street and Pontypridd Town.
Each has played a game more than the top two and Abergavenny's hopes of getting three points closer were dashed on Wednesday, when their home game against lowly Treharris Athletic Western was postponed.
Certainly Abergavenny will have to perform much better than they did when visiting Caerau on September 19 last year, when they slumped to a 6-2 defeat.
The visitors lost their last game 5-1 at Bridgend Street and that was as long ago as November 28, so assessing their capabilities is near impossible.
 
Last-six guide:
Abergavenny: W W W D W L L W D W W W W L
Caerau: W D W W W W W L W W L L
 
Mount Pleasant Park, Beddau: Cwm Welfare (12) v Newport Civil Service (18).
 
If NCS manage to play here, they will bridge a 56-day gap since their last match and when all said and done, that's not too far short of a pre-season break.
Therefore attempting to guess how they will fare in this particular fixture is almost impossible, although the only certain matter is they must win following seven successive defeats.
They are already firmly entrenched at the bottom of the table having gained just four points from a possible
30 and given as many as six could be relegated out of the league, then even draws are not currently acceptable.
Cwm are 10 points better off having played a couple of games more and were in action last weekend, when a late goal
saw them slip to a 3-2 defeat against Lliswerry at Spytty Stadium.
 
Last-six guide:
Cwm Welfare: L L W L D L
Newport Civil Service: L L L L L L
 
Cardiff University Playing Fields, Llanrumney: STM Sports (5) v Lliswerry (7).
 
Lliswerry ended a poor run of three defeats on the trot by seeing off visiting Cwm Welfare 3-2, thanks to a late winner from their leading scorer Josh Brown.
He is back following a short break from playing for the club and his presence between now and the end of the season will prove vital to Lliswerry.
The game marks the second half of their 34-fixture programme and it means every club below them has matches in hand from which to overtake them.
Like Lliswerry, League debutants STM also play on a 3G pitch and their five-game unbeaten run marks them down as favourites here to clinch a third successive win.
 
Last-six guide:
STM Sports: L W W D W W
Lliswerry: W W L L L W
 
Leisure Complex: Tredegar Town (6) v Cardiff Corinthians (15).
 
Tredegar have gone off the boil and just one point from their last four league outings has more or less put an end to their promotion prospects.
They are 12 points adrift of the second and final promotion spot currently occupied by Pontypridd Town - who have no fewer than four games in hand.
Nonetheless Tredegar boss Gareth Harbord won't settle for anything less than 100 per cent effort and this is certainly a fixture his side are capable of winning.
Having explained that, the relegation-threatened visitors have improved enough to be unbeaten in their last two outings following a run of no wins from nine.
 
Last-six guide:
Tredegar: W W L L D L
Cardiff Corinthians: L L L L W D
 
 
Bush Park: Treowen Stars (13) v Newport YMCA (11).
 
Treowen need a confidence boost after a recent run of three defeats in four league matches, plus last weekend's 8-0 League Cup thrashing at the hands of Division One.
Manager Simon Evans' side were playing some attractive football earlier this season, although it is now paying the price for not securing enough wins.
YMCA are two points better off, but have played a couple of games more and with the amount of clubs exiting the league still unclear, also need to put some ticks in their win column.
A draw may suit the Pill-based side more and should that be the outcome, it will be the fifth time in 15 league games that YMCA will have earned parity.
 
Last-six guide:
Treowen Stars: D W L W L L
Newport YMCA: L W L L W L