- Gwent Weekend Preview


WELSH League debutants Abergavenny Town host Pontypridd Town in a second versus first Division Three clash on Saturday, although the weekend's action starts on Friday night tonight with Risca United's Division One relegation derby against Monmouth Town at Ystrad Mynach.
 
Friday (7.15pm).
 
Division One (figures in brackets relate to table positions of 16).
 
Centre of Sporting Excellence. Ystrad Mynach: Risca United (12) v Monmouth Town (13).
 
Risca's recent fine form surge has taken them out of the top-flight relegation zone and certainly a mid-table place is not beyond them.
They last lost on February 27, when they went down 4-3 at Monmouth, and they start having posted successive clean-sheets in winning 1-0 at Goytre and beating Taffs Well 3-0 at home.
Monmouth are above the danger area on goal difference only from Aberdare Town and here they could well suffer from a lack of match fitness/practice.
They have played only once since that victory over Risca, beating visiting Penybont 2-0 on March 12, and while they have won three consecutive matches, the first of those was as long ago as January 30.
 
Last-six guide:
Risca: L L D D W W
Monmouth: W L L W W W
 
Saturday (all 2.30pm kick offs).
 
Division One (figures in brackets relate to table positions of 16).
 
Plough Road, Penterlleni: Goytre (4) v Afan Lido (10).
 
Only seven points from the last 18 on offer has virtually ended Goytre's hopes to securing a first Championship title in their history.
Football, though, is never short of surprises and certainly matters can change extremely quickly - so while there are enough fixtures left, Goytre will certainly carry the fight.
They need to discover their goal-scoring boots, however, as they netted just twice in failing to win any of their previous four matches.
The visitors are only four points above the danger zone and because teams below them have games in hand, the warning lights are flashing.
 
Last-six guide:
Goytre: W W L D L L
Afan Lido: L W D W L L
 
Division Two (figures in brackets relate to table positions of 16).
 
Merthyr Road: AFC Llwydcoed (9) v Llanwern (11).
 
Llanwern's bid for a fourth successive win came to nothing at Croesyceiliog last weekend, when only a goal from home stopper Tom Chorley proved the difference.
Thanks to the fine form of 18-goal striker Dean Clifford, they are the joint highest scorers among the division's bottom nine clubs.
That has contributed to them going 13 points clear of the danger area and while teams below them have matches in hand, Llanwern are most definitely in the hunt for a mid-table finish.
Llwydcoed are a similar side in so much as they are capable of beating any other team on their day, but five home defeats in 10 certainly gives the visitors hope of a positive result.
 
Last-six guide:
Llwydcoed: L L W L D W
Llanwern: L L W W W L
 
Athletic Ground: Ammanford (5) v Undy Athletic (1).
 
This fixture not only gives Undy a chance to maintain the section's leadership, it's also an opportunity to land a knock-out blow on one of their promotion rivals.
Undy not only head the table, but they have also posted more clean-sheets, 13, than any other club in the entire division - including a 2-0 home win over Ammanford in late February.
However they don't rely entireally on their defensive capabilities because they are the leading scorers with 56 goals - including 15 for striker Gareth Cullimore.
This certainly won't be easy as Ammanford have conceded only eight times in going down just once of nine home games, although they lost ground in the promotion race on Tuesday in losing 2-1 at Cwmamman United.
 
Last-six guide:
Ammanford: W W L L W L
Undy: W D W L W W
 
Jubilee Way: Caldicot Town (2) v Cwmamman United (6).
 
Caldicot run of only four from the last 12 points is reminding everyone of the failed promotion bid of last season, when their form deserted them in the home straight.
Therefore because there are teams behind them who have played less games, it's imperative Caldicot begin to put together another decent run of positive results.
They are certainly capable of doing that and here they will seek to build on a fair home record of nine wins and a draw in 12 league games at this venue.
Cwmamman have many matches in hand from which to gain a top-three spot, but their 2-1 home win over Ammanford on Tuesday night was only their third in their last seven games.
 
Last-six guide:
Caldicot: W W D W L L
Cwmamman: L W L D D W
 
Woodland Road: Croesyceiliog (13) v Porth (12).
 
If there is to be a winner of this contest, then that club will almost go on to ensure its divisional status for another season.
Croesyceiliog are six and the visitors 10 ahead of the two-strong relegation zone with each having 10 matches remaining.
The hosts lost 3-0 at leaders Undy last weekend to end a three-game unbeaten record and here they will be extremely keen to put one over their former manager Gareth Morgan.
Porth have the best goals-against record of the bottom seven with 35 conceded in 20 outings and with Croesyceiliog having only netted 23 times in the same amount of games, parity could well rule here.
 
Last-six guide:
Croesyceiliog: L L D D W L
Porth: L D L W W L
 
Celtic Park: Cwmbran Celtic (4) v Chepstow Town (16).
 
This game may well not be played at this level next season because Celtic are gunning for promotion to the top flight while Chepstow are in serious danger of dropping down to Division Three.
Postponements because of poor weather and cup runs means Celtic are playing fixture catch-up and after this game, they will still have 13 remaining.
Chepstow, on the other hand, will have only 11 left from which to gain enough points to stay up and with only two going down, every game will seem like it has a 'must-win' tag attached.
Celtic home is good with six victories from eight outings while Chepstow's away form show only one win from the same amount of games.
 
Last-six guide:
Celtic: L W L W W W
Chepstow: L W L L L L
 
Division Three (figures in brackets relate to table positions of 18).
 
Pen-Y-Pound Stadium: Abergavenny Town (2) v Pontypridd Town (1).
 
Abergavenny stretched their unbeaten league run to a nine with a sixth win on the trot in midweek, when they emerged 3-1 victors from a trip to Caerleon.
Dan Jenkins, Dean Morgan (who both now have 11 league goals to their credit) and an own goal made up their tally, although Craig Morgan fluffed his lines from the penalty spot.
It took Abergavenny's goal total to 74 in only 23 fixtures and it not only maintained their challenge for first-time promotion, but it also keeps them on contention to win the divisional title.
Pontypridd will begin seven points ahead of Abergavenny, who have played two matches less - although third-placed STM Sports remain a threat to them both
 
Last-six guide:
Abergavenny: W W W W W W
Pontypridd: W W L W D W
 
North Site, Bettws, Bridgend: Bettws (16) v Panteg (13).
 
Following three wins on the trot, Wednesday's 3-1 home reverse at the hands of Ely Rangers means Panteg have now lost the same amount in succession.
They took the lead through a Tom Wise penalty and the result still has them worrying about relegation and here they will be bidding for a fourth away success from 11 games.
Wise' goal took his league tally to nine for the campaign and he and his colleague may well fancy their chances of returning to winning ways here.
Bettws beat visiting Treowen Stars 4-2 on October 31, but have since lost 10 and and drawn one of their 11 matches - including a 3-1 mid-week loss to visiting Tredegar Town.
 
Last-six guide:
Bettws: L L L L L L L
Panteg: W W W L L L
 
Cold Bath Road: Caerleon (7) v Lliswerry (10).
 
Caerleon suffered a 3-1 home loss at the hands of second-placed Abergavenny Town on Wednesday - after James Francis had put them ahead with an early goal.
The outcome ended Caerleon's four-match unbeaten run, although a top-six end to the season remains very in their own hands.
Lliswerry seem to either win or lose these days and will begin here having hit visiting Panteg for six in last weekend's 6-3 home success.
They have, mainly because they use a 3G pitch, played more matches than any other club and with any number between three and six to be relegated, are not completely out of danger.
 
Last-six guide:
Caerleon: L W D W W L
Lliswerry: W L W L L W
 
Shannon Close, Bettws: Newport Civil Service (18) v Newport YMCA (12).
 
NCS are now without a win in 15 league games after going down 3-1 at Treowen Stars in mid-week, when Lewis Grant netted from the penalty spot - although Nicky Potts missed a similar kick.
They will have 16 games to cram in between now and May 28 and to say they must win this cross-city derby is a massive understatement.
YMCA were bidding to land a third successive victory at Treharris Athletic Western on Wednesday, but slumped to a 4-0 defeat - with a sending off for Triston Chambers adding to their woes.
Therefore they still have a bit of work to do if they are to avoid becoming embroiled in the battle against relegation out of the league.
 
Last-six guide:
NCS: L L D L L L
YMCA: W L L W W L
 
Leisure Complex: Tredegar Town (8) v Ely Rangers (9).
 
Tredegar won for the second time in three outings in mid-week, when goals from Thomas Jones, Jack Cullinine and Ian Pettit accounted for hosts Bettws 3-1.
It was Pettit's 11 league strike of the season and Tredegar's fourth away triumph to keep them very much in contention for a mid-table placing come the end of May.
Are another one of those clubs who seem to either slip to defeat or emerge victorious and here face a stern challenge against a team very much on the up.
Ely made their way home from Panteg on Wednesday as 3-1 victors to post a third successive victory and a fifth in their last seven outings.
 
Last-six guide:
Tredegar: L L W L W L W
Ely: W L L W W W