Midweek WPL action: Carmarthen begin crucial week against in-form Aberystwyth; Venables making early claim for Player of the Season

West Wales rivals Carmarthen and Aberystwyth meet for the second time in ten days on Tuesday night, with both sides looking to secure their top-six place for the second stage of the Corbett Sports Welsh Premier League.

It could prove to be a significant week for the Old Gold, who will be looking to clinch top-six football and successfully defend their League Cup title, with a cup final against Bala awaiting them on Saturday.

They have plenty to think about before that though and Stebonheath is the home venue once again for Carmarthen, with three points enough to secure them their top-half finish.

Liam McCreesh and Cortez Belle steered Mark Aizlewood’s side to their first win in four attempts in front of the Sgorio cameras against Prestatyn Town, but it remains to be seen whether the Carmarthen boss will re-shuffle his pack against Aberystwyth, with one eye on Saturday’s League Cup final.

Full-back Kris Thomas makes a timely return from suspension following Luke Cummings’ dismissal against Prestatyn and Aizlewood could be tempted to switch one of his forward men, Luke Bowen or Christian Doidge, for Jordan Follows, who was unused on the weekend.

Either way, Carmarthen face an Aberystwyth side who’re hitting a good vein of form.

Aber left it until the last half-hour before pulling out all the stops to come away from Connah’s Quay with a comfortable 4-0 win – a result which leaves the Seasiders needing four points from their remaining two matches to make absolute certain of their top-six position, at the expense of Rhyl.

Speaking to Ian Hughes ahead of Tuesday’s crunch game, the Aberystwyth Town boss likened the match as a cup final of their own, before they face Bangor City at home in what should be a nail biting final first-phase fixture for the Green & Blacks.

Stuart Jones came off in the first-half with an injury against Connah’s Quay at the weekend but he is expected to be passed fit to play at his former home ground and Bari Morgan could also return to the side.

Against Connah’s Quay, the form of keeper Mike Lewis proved crucial for Aber before Geoff Kellaway took the game by the scruff of the neck to drive his side towards victory.

Mark Jones made it two goals in three games but it was another eye-catching performance from the impressive Chris Venables, whose late brace made sure of the points.

Chris Venables applies the finish on his 10th goal of the season (Credit: Nik Mesney, Connah's Quay).
Chris Venables applies the finish on his 10th goal of the season (Credit: Nik Mesney, Connah’s Quay).
Venables took his goal tally into double figures with his latest strikes – a total which has put the midfielder joint-top of the league’s top-scorers and equals his season best record, when he netted 10 goals for Llanelli in 2011/12.

Having already found the net 10 times from 18 WPL appearances so far this term, Venables is well on course for his best ever season in the league and I believe he is already making himself an early contender for the Welsh Premier League Player of the Season award.

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