- Gwent Weekend Preview


Saturday (League games kick off at 2.30pm).
IT'S top versus bottom on Saturday, when Division One leaders Goytre entertain basement outfit Garden Village while second-tier frontrunners Caldicot Town travel west to seek a sixth consecutive win since the start of the 2015-2016 Welsh League campaign.
 
Division One (figures in brackets relate to league positions of 16).
 
Lakeside Sports Academy, Clydach Vale: Cambrian & Clydach (15) v Aberbargoed Buds (16).
Aberbargoed continue to struggle to get away from the lower reaches of the top flight and begin here having lost out in a nine-goal, home thriller by Afan Lido.
Their inconsistency can be summed up by realising while the 18 goals conceded is only topped by bottom-placed Garden Village, the 14 they've scored is bettered only by top-two duo Goytre and Cardiff Metropolitan University.
Plus they do have the county's top scorer in seven-goal Tom McCarthy, who bagged a hat-trick in the reverse against Lido.
They will at least feel at home playing-surface wise as C&C also have a 3G artificial pitch and certainly a draw is the likeliest outcome of this bottom-three clash.
Form guide:
Cambrian & Clydach: L W L L D
Aberbargoed Buds: L L L W L L
 
Plough Road: Goytre (1) v Garden Village (16).
Joint bosses Carl Evans and Lee Relish have watched on in delight at their unbeaten-in-seven side's brilliant opening five weeks of the season.
Goytre sit proudly at the summit of the top-tier table and they are also the division's top goalscorers with 20 while the defence has kept four clean-sheets.
A quartet of players, Kris Leek, Callum Miles, Matthew Prosser and Josh Brown, have all netted four times - although the latter has now returned to Lliswerry.
The visitors are rooted to the bottom of the section, but they did earn their first point last weekend by gaining a 3-3 home draw with Penybont.
Form guide:
Garden Village: L L L L L D
Goytre: D W D W W W
 
Sportsground, Blestium Street: Monmouth Town (13) v Briton Ferry Llansawel (10).
With only one victory in seven, Monmouth are in the highly unusual situation of having far more clubs above them than below.
Manager Andrew Smith saw his side put in an under-par display when losing 3-0 at home to division debutants Barry Town United last time out.
Another here against the west Wales visitors would be something of a disaster for The Kingfishers because not winning games becomes a habit.
BFL have also struggled somewhat and their recent 3-2 home win over League Cup holders Taffs Well ended a run of four without success.
Form guide:
Monmouth Town: D L D L W L
Briton Ferry: W D L D L W
 
Centre of Excellence, Ystrad Mynach: Risca United (8) v Aberdare Town (5).
Twelve points from the last 15 on offer has made the nightmare start of three consecutive losses a distant memory for Risca.
A fine 1-0 away success at the home of Caerau (Ely) earned player-chief Paul Michael's troops a deserved double over the defending champions.
The positive results have taken Risca from the very bottom up to mid-table spot in the space of a few weeks and another three points here could lift them into the top six.
Aberdare are just a point ahead of Risca, although they've played one match less, and they kept clean-sheets in each of their last two league games.
Form guide:
Risca United: L L W W L W
Aberdare Town: L W W L W D
 
Division Two (figures in brackets relate to table positions of 16).
 
Woodland Road: Croesyceiliog (16) v Tata Steel (8).
These are worrying time for Croesyceiliog, who prop up the division's entire table following a poor start to the 2015-2016 campaign.
Having scored only twice and conceded 10 in their four league games, it appears manager Mark Waddon has problems to solve at both ends of the pitch.
However the side also struggled last season before he managed to turn matters around and eventually led the team to a mid-table finish.
That's a position the visitors currently hold, but their attempt to land a third successive win fell flat when losing 4-3 at home against Penrhiwceiber Rangers.
Form guide:
Croesyceiliog: L L D L
Tata Steel: W L W W L
 
Celtic Park: Cwmbran Celtic (3) v Llanelli Town (2).
Having lost two of their last trio of league fixtures, Celtic trail leaders Caldicot Town by three points having played a game more.
They've not had the luxury of being able to select their leading scorer Josh Bull since the six-goal striker picked up a leg injury in a league game at Undy Athletic on August 26.
Bull's return will be crucial if Celtic are to continue a serious promotion challenge and here they face tough task to post a third home win on the trot.
Llanelli won the Division Three title in 2014-2015 and have scored 26 goals in winning all six of their league and cup games this time around.
Form guide:
Cwmbran Celtic: W W W L W L
Llanelli: W W W W
 
Glasbrook Field: Penrhiwceiber Rangers (14) v Chepstow Town (11).
This promises to be a high-scoring affair between two sides who have netted no fewer than 56 goals in the 12 fixtures they have played so far.
Chepstow were last in league action on September 5, when they slipped to a 2-1 home defeat at the hands of promoted Ammanford.
Since, manager Dave Livermore's side has been knocked out of the Welsh Cup as well as having a match postponed because two of their squad was involved in a Wales Futsal international.
Following four consecutive defeats, the hosts gained their first points of the campaign thanks to a 4-3 away win at Margam-based Tata Steel last time out.
Form guide:
Penrhiwceiber Rangers: L L L L L W
Chepstow Town: L L W L W L
 
Parc Ynysderw: Pontardawe Town (12) v Caldicot Town (1).
Because they blew up in the home straight last season, all concerned at Caldicot are extremely reluctant to discuss the P word this time around.
However having kept three clean-sheets in winning all of their opening five games, plus two cup ties, it's clear manager Mark WIlliams is eying a return to the top flight.
Dan Saunders leads his side's goalscorers' charts with four while Richard Sharratt has three and Caldicot start on the back of a 1-0 home win over county rivals Cwmbran Celtic.
Pontardawe have yet to win at home, although they gained their first win last Saturday, when they travelled home from AFC Llwydcoed as 4-1 victors.
Form guide:
Pontardawe Town: L D D D L W
Caldicot Town: W W W W W
 
The Causeway: Undy Athletic (5) v Llanwern (15).
This is a local derby of which each club will certainly want to emerge as winners from, but for vastly different reasons.
Undy are among the early-season promotion pack while the visitors are struggling at the wrong end of the table following pre-season unrest.
These clubs have common opponents in their last outings - West End, who were beaten 5-1 by Undy before winning 2-1 against Llanwern.
Joint Undy boss Laurence Owen is a former Llanwern manager - although there has been almost a complete change of playing personnel since he stood down at the end of the 2011-2012 campaign.
Form guide:
Undy Athletic: W L D W L W
Llanwern: L D L L
 
Division Three (figures in brackets relate to table positions of 18).
 
Pen-Y-Pound Stadium: Abergavenny Town (3) v Newport YMCA (7).
Abergavenny received a massive shock to the system with a 6-2 away defeat at the hands of fellow-high flyers Caerau last Saturday - their first reverse following an unbeaten five-game start.
Those two goals took their league total to 18, the highest in the division with Richie Jeremiah their leading scorer on six.
YMCA have an unusual recent record of drawing three consecutive home games by 2-2 and because of those results, are actually beaten only once in five.
They have managed to net only half of Abergavenny's total with their top marksman being Ben Lawrence with three, although they have played a match less than the hosts.
Form guide:
Abergavenny Town: W W W D W L
Newport YMCA: W L D D D
 
North Site, Bettws Road: Bettws (17) v Caerleon (5).
Although only two teams will go up, it certainly seems unbeaten-in-five Caerleon are cut out to make a promotion challenge.
However because the need to win has never been greater - their record of having drawn three of their five league games may ultimately prove to be very costly.
Nonetheless possessing scorers such as Chris Pearce (4 league goals), Luke Cueto, Mark Millinship and Yousif Al Doori (all of whom have scored twice) all on form, Caerleon's win potential appears greater than most.
As in previous seasons, winless Bettws are struggling to get away from the danger zone and their last game produced a 3-2 away defeat at the hands of Bridgend Street.
Form guide:
Bettws: L D L D L
Caerleon: D W D W D
 
Panteg House, Sebastopol: Panteg (18) v Llantwit Major (16).
With the prospect of up to five clubs being relegated at the end of the season, Panteg really do need to start to put some ticks in their win column.
They have, however, gained some success in cup competitions, but manager Mark Taylor would certainly swap those victories for league points.
They did manage to prevent a third successive defeat by earning a 2-2 away draw against Caerleon last time out and parity appears to be the name of the game for the visitors.
Llantwit Major have drawn each of their last three league games 1-1, including at Abergavenny and Treowen, although in reality neither club will be satisfied with a point from this danger-zone clash.
Form guide:
Panteg: D L L D
Llantwit Major: L L D D D
 
Cardiff University Playing Fields, Llanrumney: STM Sports (8) v Newport Civil Service (14).
When these teams played at Lliswerry and against visiting Cwm Welfare respectively last time out, the games produced no fewer than 17 goals.
In total, the side have shared 44 in the nine matches they have completed and the odds on this one providing something of a goal-fest are indeed short.
However football always has a habit of proving even the most knowledgeable of predictions wrong - so don't rule out a no-score draw.
With only 11 points seperating the top from the bottom, a couple or three wins will project a lower-placed side well up the table and certainly NCS are capable to securing success here.
Form guide:
STM Sports: W W L L
Newport Civil Service: D L W L L
 
Leisure Complex: Tredegar Town (9) v Caerau (3).
If Tredegar are to progress to the next level as one of the two promoted sides, then they simply must begin to turn draws into wins.
They are already seven points adrift of the second place currently held by the visitors - having drawn three of their first six fixtures.
Their only league win was 2-1 at Treowen Stars in their second outing and it's not an understatement to tag this fixture as a 'must win' for manager Gareth Harbord's troops.
Caerau became the first side in six to lower the colours of league debutants Abergavenny Town when defeating them 6-2 at home last Saturday.
Form guide:
Tredegar: L W D D L D
Caerau: W D W W W
 
Athletic Ground: Treharris Athletic Western (12) v Lliswerry (6).
With returning striker Josh Brown fresh from bagging a hat-trick in his first game since re-joining from Goytre, Lliswerry will feel they can clinch a third win of the season.
Brown's treble in an exciting 6-4 home triumph over STM Sports reminded many of his prolific goalscoring in 2014-2015, when he topped the charts for those appearing with local clubs by netting 31 times.
If manager Matty Smith can sort out some defensive frailties and Brown can continue to score on a regular basis, then perhaps promotion will not be beyond Lliswerry.
The visitors have been struggling for several seasons in and around the relegation area and they halted a run of three successive defeats by drawing 1-1 at Ely Rangers.
Form guide:
Treharris Athletic Western: W L L L D
Lliswerry: L W L D W
 
Bush Park: Treowen Stars (10) v Ely Rangers (15).
Treowen play some really attractive football under manager Simon Evans and begin here undefeated in their last four league matches.
However they drew three of those, including 2-2 at Newport YMCA last weekend, and must begin to kill teams off if they are to progress.
They may start this match as slight favourites against a visiting side which has also drawn three times - in the only four league fixtures they've played.
This absolutely screams parity, but if Treowen can find some goal-power to match their easy-on-the-eye approach work, then they should further stretch their unbeaten sequence to a fifth game.
Form guide:
Ely Rangers: D L D D
Treowen Stars: L L D W D D