- Gwent Weekend Preview

THE weekend's action gets underway at Ystrad Mynach on Friday night, when struggling Risca United seek three points to ease their top-flight relegation fears. 

Friday (7.30pm).

Division One (figures in brackets relate to table positions of 16).

Centre of Sporting Excellence, Ystrad Mynach: Risca United (15) v Cambrian & Clydach (3).

Risca were not in top-level action last weekend, when they were beaten 2-0 away by Division One rivals Haverfordwest County in a League Cup, quarter-final tie.
This game marks the beginning of the second half of their 30-fixture programme and they are currently a couple of points from safety - but with two matches in hand.
Their 20-goal tally from 15 outings is the lowest in the bottom seven, although I understand they played well in patches in going down 5-3 at this venue against leaders Goytre the previous week.
C&C may well be a ‘wounded animal’ here as they will surely want to make up for their last display, which produced a hugely-disappointing 1-0 loss to visiting basement side Caldicot Town. 

Last-six guide:
Risca: L L W D L L
C&C: W L D W L

Saturday (all 2.00pm).

Division One.

Jubilee Way: Caldicot Town (16) v Taffs Well (7).

Given seven of Caldicot's 13 points have earned in their last half-dozen outings, their chances of escaping relegation have increased.
However the problem is they have just 13 matches remaining and the three teams above them have all played less fixtures plus they will be minus Sam Watkins, who picked up a knee injury in training this week.
But moral was boosted massively last Saturday, when they won 1-0 on the home ground of title-chasing Cambrian & Clydach.
The visitors, though, will wanted to redeem themselves for losing their grip on the League Cup after a 1-0 away last-eight loss to Division Three side Bridgend Street (Cardiff).

Last-six guide:
Caldicot: L W D L L W
T. Well: W L W W D W

Celtic Park: Cwmbran Celtic (11) v Caerau (Ely) (4).

It’s all gone wrong for Celtic with a run of just four points from 27, since they beat Monmouth Town 7-1 at home on October 15.
They were without a game last weekend and will start here four points ahead of the first relegation position, but Ton Pentre do have games in hand.
Celtic have signed Dan and David Davies back from Gwent County League side Cwmbran Town and the brothers made scoring comebacks in the reserves’ 4-3 win over Chepstow Town last Saturday.
Caerau are eight points adrift of leaders Goytre, but have played two fixtures less and reached the League Cup semi finals with a 1-0 away win over Division Three outfit Llantwit Major last time out.

Last-six guide:
Celtic: L L L D L L W L L
Caerau:  L D W W L D

Plough Road: Goytre (1) v Port Talbot Town (9).

Goytre are six points clear at the top, but second-placed Barry Town United are the new danger having appeared in three less matches.
The clubs meet at Barry’s Jenner Park on February 25 and if there is to be a winner of that particular encounter, then the league silverware could eventually sit in their trophy cabinet.
Goytre are by far the section’s top goal scorers with 46 in 17 matches, although they do need to tighten up at the back because they have shipped an average of two per game over the last six.
Port Talbot are in good form and besides seeking a fourth consecutive victory, have a solid defensive record of only three goals conceded in the last half-dozen games.

Last-six guide:
Goytre: W D L W W D
P. Talbot: W L L W W W

The Causeway: Undy Athletic (13) v Monmouth Town (12).

This is a county derby neither side can afford to lose and while both will certainly want a victory, a point each will not be the end of the world.
Undy were poor in losing 5-0 at Penybont recently, a result which came as something of a shock given they had won 1-0 at Goytre United previously.
Monmouth’s mini revival came to an end when losing 3-1 at home to Barry and their survival depends very much on improving at away record of only four points from 27.
Conversely, Undy have massively underachieved at this venue with three wins and six defeats, so maybe a stalemate really is on the cards.

Last-six guide:
Undy: L L L L W L
Monmouth: L W L W W  L

Division Two.

Merthyr Road: AFC Llwydcoed (10) v Abergavenny Town (9).

Abergavenny have settled well at this level following last season’s promotion from Division Three and are two games away from completing half of their 30-fixture programme.
Indeed should they win the three games in hand over second-placed Briton Ferry Llansawel, then they would only be as many points adrift of the west Walians.
They have managed a trio of wins in their last four outings, but the first of those victories was as long ago as December 3.
Despite a thumping 6-0 home win over visiting West End (Swansea), the hosts start behind Abergavenny on goal difference and  have played a couple of matches more.

Last-six guide:
Llwydcoed: L W W L L W
Abergavenny: L L W W L W

Woodland Road: Croesyceiliog (8) v Pontardawe Town (11).

Over recent seasons, it’s been rare for me to have been able to write such words as ‘Croesyceiliog are seeking a fourth consecutive victory.’
But I am delighted to do so because that’s exactly the target they chase having let in only two goals in defeating Aberbargoed Buds, Ammanford and Dinas Powys.
Given the visitors’ recent poor form in losing their last trio of fixtures, certainly this game offers Croesyceiliog with a good chance of putting another tick in their win column.
There may not be too many goals in this one as Pontardawe are the division’s second-lowest scorers (just 18 in 15) while they have the best defensive record among the bottom 10 of just 23 conceded. 

Last-six guide:
Croesyceiliog:  L L L W W W
Pontardawe:  L W W L L L

Grenig Park, Glanaman: Cwmamman United (5) v Aberbargoed Buds (12).

Just one defeat in four has boosted Aberbargoed's bid to draw away from the danger area and they have played less games than three of the quartet of teams underneath them.
However they do face more away games having played eight of 13 on the 3G playing surface at their adopted home at Ystrad Mynach.
They proved they can hold their own against higher-placed teams when they were unlucky to be held to a 3-3 draw by visiting Pontypridd Town last weekend.
This match-up will also be played on 3G and while the hosts will begin as favourites, there are no genuine reasons why Aberbargoed can not earn a positive result. 

Last-six guide:
Cwmamman: D L W D W W
Aberbargoed: W L W L W D

Newport Stadium: Newport City (16) v West End (Swansea) (15) - POSTPONED.

Division Three.

Willows High School, Tremorfa, Cardiff: Bridgend Street (6) v Chepstow Town (5).

Chepstow’s fine recent run of form has taken them to only four points off a promotion position in their first season out of relegation from Division Two.
However there are only two clubs to go up at the end of the campaign, so there is precious little scope if Chepstow hit a barren spell.
However they do own the best away record in the entire division of six wins from eight and that could help their bid to secure a fourth straight triumph.
The hosts had endured a recent blip in form, but have bounced back in recent weeks to defeat Cwm Welfare 2-0 away and then Caerleon 7-0 at this venue last weekend. 

Last-six guide:
B. Street: L W L L W W
Chepstow: W W L W W W

Mount Pleasant Park, Beddau: Cwm Welfare (15) v Panteg (12).

The only thing guaranteed in football is that nothing is guaranteed, yet a goal-less draw seem as unlikely here snowfall on the sun!
Between them these clubs have played 32 league games this season with the total amount of goals scored being a quite staggering 146.
Panteg caused a shock in beating visiting then-leaders Caerau (Maesteg) 3-0 last time out while the visitors sprang a surprise of their own by winning 5-0 at Treowen Stars.
A draw has featured only once in Panteg’s 17 league matches and one here would not harm their chances of avoiding the drop out of the league - just don’t bank on it being 0-0.

Last-six guide:
Cwm: L W L L L W
Panteg: L W L D L W

Leisure Complex: Tredegar Town (16) v Trefelin B.G.C. (9).

Tredegar were desperately disappointed to have conceded a couple of late goals when they went down 3-2 at Caerleon recently.
The outcome prevented them stretching their mini revival to a third game and they are currently seven points from safety - although they do have games in hand.
They strengthened their options by signing right back Danny Hillman, who was released this week by Newport County, and midfielder Joel Morgan from local football in Merthyr Tydfil.
League debutants Trefelin have played the second-least amount of fixtures (11) in the division, but have lost only twice.

Last-six guide:
Tredegar: L L L W W L
Trefelin: L D W W L D

Bush Park: Treowen Stars (14) v Caerleon (13).

This is a crucial relegation derby between two clubs who both lost away mid-week fixtures.
Treowen slipped to a 2-0 defeat against leaders Trethomas Bluebirds and they also had player-coach Dean Randall sent off.
Caerleon netted goals through James Davies, his 10th of the campaign, and Sam Harrision, but still went down down 5-2 in the capital to STM Sports.
Matters looks worse for Caerleon, who head Treowen by just two points having played six more matches than their county rivals.

Last-six guide:
Treowen: W W D L L L
Caerleon: L L L L W L