A look ahead to this afternoon’s lunchtime kick-off between Rhyl and Bangor City (1.00, S4C).
As I wrote on my last blog, few would’ve expected two of the biggest clubs in the league to be still searching for their first WPL victory when the initial list of Clwb/Sgorio live fixtures was confirmed at the start of the season.
Although we’re only four games into the new season, it’s been a dire start for both sides and you suspect that neither team will want a derby fixture of this magnitude at a time when the form book makes such poor reading.
Both sides have posted a return of just a single point from a possible twelve and following Connah’s Quay’s impressive draw at Aberystwyth on Friday, Rhyl and Bangor now prop up the rest of the table.
It’s been a miserable week for both clubs in the built-up to the derby.
On Wednesday, Rhyl were dumped out of theWord Cup to lower league opposition after Cymru Alliance pacesetters Llandudno edged through 4-2 on penalties after holding the Lilywhites to a 1-1 draw. A day later, it was confirmed at an appeal hearing that Bangor City’s summer signing Sam Hart faces an extended ban for this incident against TNS (see 1 minute, 20 seconds). Hart, one of the few new faces to arrive at Nantporth over the summer, was handed an additional four-game ban after already missing four matches.
This afternoon’s match has more than three points at stake.
A derby victory will serve as a big psychological boost and possibly kick-start the winning side’s season.
A defeat however would well and truly compound a miserable start to the season and add to what must be a growing sense of concern at either club.
– Rhyl have two players returning from suspension as ex-City midfielder Levi Mackin and powerful centre-forward Aaron Bowen return.
– Bangor will definitely be without central defender Leon Clowes who saw red last weekend against Airbus, while Sam Hart also remains unavailable. Could City abandon their 3-5-2 shape without Clowe?
– Bangor forward Jamie Petrie is close to returning to fitness following a lengthy absence.