- Gwent Weekend Preview

GOYTRE can strengthen their position at the top of the Division One table with victory over one of their title-chasing rivals while for the third successive week, basement side Risca United kick off the action with a Friday fixture.

Friday (7.45pm).

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

Centre of Sporting Excellence, Ystrad Mynach: Risca United (16) v Caerau (Ely) (6).

With 39 points still left to play for, Risca can most certainly fight their way out of trouble and maintain their top-flight status.
However a win here is absolutely essential for The Cuckoos because losing can be become a habit.
Their last victory on this 3G playing surface was 2-1 against Cwmbran Celtic on the first Saturday in January, since when they have suffered three defeats on the trot.
Caerau are going through a difficult period of having conceded 14 goals in losing all three of their recent games, the last of which was 6-4 at Cwmbran Celtic on January 7.

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

Saturday (all 2.00pm).

Division One.

Jenner Park: Barry Town United (3) v Cwmbran Celtic (7).

Two wins on the trot have eased fears Celtic were heading for a battle against relegation and indeed they are actually only eight points behind leaders Goytre.
A top-four finish is a more realistic target, but more clean-sheets are needed because last Saturday’s blank in their 1-0 home success over Ton Pentre ended a run of 15 league matches without one.
Barry have not lost in seven home league games (six wins and a draw) while their current overall unbeaten run stands at the same number (5-2).
However Celtic will be defending a brilliant run of five undefeated league and cup games against Barry (three wins and a couple of draws).

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

Jubilee Way: Caldicot Town (15) v Ton Pentre (14).

Caldicot were denied the opportunity to record a third straight win when their scheduled fixture at Caerau (Ely) was postponed.
Winning a game, especially a home one, against relegation rivals is crucial to avoiding the drop and given Ton have lost six successive times, then clearly Caldicot will be favourites here.
However all good and bad records eventually come to an end, so it’s extremely doubtful that Caldicot will be anywhere near complacent about this task.
Ton played well in patches in going down 1-0 at Cwmbran Celtic last Saturday, but they are the division’s second lowest scorers behind Port Talbot Town (21) with only 22 netted in 14 outings.

Last-six guide:
Caldicot: W D L L W W
Ton:  L L L L L L

Plough Road: Goytre (1) v Taffs Well (4).

Successive postponements means Goytre have not played since being held 2-2 at this venue by namesakes Goytre United on January 14.
They lead second-placed Cambrian & Clydach by two points having played a couple of games fewer, but Barry Town are the real danger because they trail Goytre by three with two games in hand.
Goytre remain the section’s top scorers with 48 in 17 while the visitors have netted exactly half that total from the same amount of games
Indeed they have managed only three in eight away league fixtures, although they have lost only two of those .

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

Glenhaford Park Stadium: Goytre United (9) v Monmouth Town (13).

Monmouth grabbed what could eventually prove to be a crucial point with a late leveller in a 1-1 draw at high-flying Cambrian & Clydach.
It sees them three points above the danger zone, although all the teams below – Ton Pentre, Caldicot Town and Risca United – have games in hand.
They will, however, have Ashley Ford and Simon Crook available again for selection following one-match suspensions
The home side also has much to play for in their final 13 games because they are just 10 points off the top, but only eight clear of the relegation area.

Last-six guide:
United: D W W L D W
Monmouth: W L W W L D

The Causeway: Undy Athletic (12) v Afan Lido (8).

Because they were not in action last Saturday, Undy will be itching to cross the white line to follow up a 5-1 triumph against visiting Monmouth Town two weeks ago.
They have yet to draw at home (4 wins and 6 draws) and parity in their games at this venue has happened only 13 times in 84 over the last five and a half seasons.
One from this fixture would certainly not be the end of the world, but the need is a victory for Undy because they are too close to those in danger of going down.
No wins from four has the visitors sitting in mid-table, half-a-dozen points ahead of Undy with both clubs having 13 matches remaining.

Last-six guide:
Undy: L L L W L W
Lido: W W L D L L

Division Two.

Centre of Sporting Excellence, Ystrad Mynach: Aberbargoed Buds (12) v West End (15).

Aberbargoed’s mini revival of two unbeaten came to an abrupt end last weekend, when they slipped to a 3-0 reverse at this venue against Aberdare Town.
They stand a couple of points ahead of the danger area and this fixture takes them to the mid-way point of their 30-game programme.
Had they found someone to supplement 10-goal Scott Armitage, then they wouldn’t be 12 points behind fifth-placed Cwmamman -  who’ve let in only three less from the same amount of games.
West End’s only victory since early November was 2-1 at home to Abergavenny Town on December 7 and their away record is an uninspiring with just one win  and six defeats.

Last-six guide:
Buds: W L W L W D L
West End: W L L W L L

Newport Stadium: Newport City (16) v Abergavenny Town (10).

City lie 10 points from safety with only 14 games remaining, but recently added three new members to their management team and several playing recruits to boost their squad numbers.
And considering they have lost five of their last six, letting in just 10 goals in those matches suggests their defensive problems are being addressed.
Abergavenny have played just one game since the week before Christmas, although it did produce a 3-2 success over visiting AFC Porth on January 7.
They are one of only two teams City have beaten this season, although the points were eventually deducted after it was discovered the victors had fielded an ineligible player.

Last-six guide:
City: L L W L L L 
Town: L L W W L W

Division Three.

Cold Bath Road: Caerleon (13) v Ely Rangers (4).

With all three clubs currently occupying the relegation spots having games in hand to overtake Caerleon, this is a game they dare not lose.
They do, however have a reasonable home record of five wins and a draw in 10 and last played at this venue on January 14, when they saw off Tredegar Town 3-2.
Jamie Davies has 10 league goals, Nathan Murphy five and Ben Siggins four, but the trio must each double their totals if Caerleon are to have any hope of survival.
Ely’s promotion bid was going well until January produced just four points from a possible 12 with 21 goals shipped - although they remain in the hunt to go up.

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

Panteg House, Griffithstown: Panteg (11) v Trefelin (10).

Panteg are here defending a three-game unbeaten home record and seek third consecutive victory to continue their battle to climb away from danger.
The scoring exploits of Luke Dyke and Lewis Iles have been well documented on these pages and should they maintain that form, then surely safety will eventually be earned.
However while scoring goals is a good positive, then negative with Panteg is their habit of conceding them (48 in 18) - witness a 5-5 draw at this venue against STM Sports (Cardiff) in December.
Having played only 13 fixtures (five less than Panteg and seven fewer two other clubs), it’s difficult to gauge the form of the visitors – who drew 1-1 at home with Treowen Stars last Saturday.

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

Leisure Complex: Tredegar Town (16) v Trethomas Bluebirds (2).

Tredegar gained a deserved point when a late Ian Pettit strike earned them a 1-1 draw at Chepstow Town last weekend.
It was his 14th league goal of the campaign, but the problem is Tredegar have scored only eight others in 15 outings.
For a bottom-placed side, their home form is fair with three victories in seven, but they simply must improve their away record of only one point from a possible 24.
League debutants Trethomas are a decent side, but their chances of going up by remaining in the top may be hindered by the fact they have played far more many games than any other promotion contender.

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