It was great to be back watching the Welsh Premier last weekend and Friday night’s hard fought draw between rivals Rhyl and Bangor City set things up nicely. BBC Radio Wales’ live coverage of the game was excellent and the fact they will be covering this Friday’s clash between TNS and Llandudno suggests that they are stepping up their coverage – something, which is much needed from the our national broadcaster.
Bangor, adapting to life without Les Davies, were just minutes away from claiming an early three points but Aaron Bowen’s late header will have sent the Rhyl fans home happy and both teams will have a platform on which to build for their this coming weekend.
Bangor play host to Port Talbot, where I was present for their stalemate with Bala Town at the GenQuip Stadium. The match at the GenQuip Stadium had all the hallmarks of a typical season opener, both teams showing a little rust and neither side at their best and the draw was the fair result. I was looking forward to seeing what impact Leanne Jeanne and Kaid Mohamed would make on their debuts but with the Steelmen unable to find the breakthrough, it was their defence which caught my eye with a solid performance from the returning Cortez Belle. Mohamed has the ability to become a real star in the WPL this season and I think it’ll take him a few games to get up and running before he starts making his making his mark on this Port Talbot side.
Returning home from south Wales with a point and a clean sheet, Bala boss Colin Caton will be hoping his team can go up a few gears in their forthcoming games. The Lakesiders have a very tough home opener against Airbus on Bank Holiday (which is next week’s Sgorio live game) and they will need to be a sharper to deny Andy Preece’s side their second win on the campaign.
Their first of the campaign came at the expense of Carmarthen Town and Preece will no doubt be delighted to witness his side send out an early message to the rest of the league. Their main summer signing Tony Gray claimed two goals in that win and they will make the trip to Maes Tegid high in confidence. What went wrong for Carmarthen? I’m not quite sure but Mark Aizlewood will have plenty to consider ahead of their next match against Connah’s Quay. I’m going to be at Richmond Park next week and it’ll be interesting to see the Old Gold’s reaction, it would be foolish to read too much into the opening game but it could be a long season should they continue obtaining similar results.
There’s plenty to shout about if you’re a Newtown fan, not least Neil Mitchell’s fantastic strike which got the Robins on their way to an impressive 2-0 win at 10-man Connah’s Quay. Mitchell has surely already wrapped up August’s goal of the month competition but Chris Venables came close to challenging for that accolade when he launched a Beckham-esque attempt from inside his own half against Llandudno. Venables took just 13 minutes to open his goal account for the new campaign and despite doubling his tally, it was Lladudno’s day as they rallied to an excellent 3-2 win in their first ever WPL fixture. Llandudno showed real quality in the final third and if they can maintain that then they could trouble a few teams this season.
Haverfordwest County’s return to the top-flight was an altogether more predictable affair – two goals in each-half, including a brace for forgotten man Alex Darlington, gave TNS a comfortable winning start as they eye up their fourth-straight league title.
TEAM OF THE ROUND
Llandudno – Airbus and Newtown will both be pleased with their starts to the season but the newcomers impressed in their first ever WPL game.
PLAYER OF THE ROUND
Neil Mitchell – A strike worthy of any league ensures the feel-good-factor at Newtown continues!