Port Talbot vying for top-spot; pressure on Connah’s Quay

Port Talbot Town could be sitting top of the Welsh Premier League table on Saturday night as the Steelmen look to kick-on after their promising start to the season.

Port Talbot, third, host Llandudno and currently trail unbeaten duo TNS and Bala by a point with the two sides facing each other in Saturday afternoon’s televised game (Sgorio, 5.15) – a win at the GenQuip Stadium and a draw at Maes Tegid would put Andy Dyer’s side top of the pile.

I fully expect them to take three points at home to Llandundo and add to the three points they picked up at Haverfordwest on Tuesday night – particularly if they can build on polished first-half performance they showed in the first-half in West Wales.

After Paul Fowler’s early goal, Port Talbot bossed the opening period from start to finish, brimming with confidence as they turned in a polished first-half display. A harsh second-half dismissal to Joe Clarke saw the tide turn to Haverfordwest’s favour but Port Talbot should have been well out of sight by half-time after playing some the best football I’ve seen from them this season.

Haverfordwest did show character to come back into the game and to not led their heads drop after going in at the break a distant second-best has to be a plus-point for them, and as manager Wayne Jones adverted to in his post-match interview, keeping that confidence and belief within the squad will go a long way to determining whether they will successfully avoid the drop.

Speaking immediately after a 2-0 reverse at TNS on Tuesday, Carmarthen Town boss Mark Aizlewood turned his attention to the league’s midweek scheduling. Aizlewood slated the FAW’s decision to force semi-professional clubs to travel long distances for midweek fixtures and says he fears sooner or later there will be car accident with tired players travelling to and from matches after working in their full-time occupation – simple answer Mark, make the players travel by coach and get on with it.

The result in Park Hall will have been welcomed by his TNS counterpart Craig Harrison, who saw second-half goals from Chris Seargeant and Greg Draper ensure that the champions went top of the table, albeit on goal difference, for the first time this season.

Ahead of this afternoon’s weekend’s TV game, Harrison must however make a decision as whether to go with both of, or one of, Michael Wilde and Greg Draper in attack, to face Bala. Bala themselves have conceded just one goal in their last four WPL matches so the afternoon’s TV game should make for a tight encounter.

I’ll be keeping an eye on the action from the Deeside Stadium this afternoon where Connah’s Quay entertain Rhyl. Defeats for both sides midweek to Bangor and Llandudno respectively, left the two clubs in the bottom three. While Rhyl’s early season form has been erratic at best, Connah’s Quay have delivered little following an overhaul of their in the summer. Pressure to perform must now be mounting on the Nomads going into this afternoon’s game, where a defeat could see them slump to bottom of the table – a scenario few would’ve expected back in August.

Tuesday’s results: Haverfordwest 1-2 Port Talbot, Newtown 0-3 Airbus, Aberystwyth 1-1 Bala, Bangor 2-1 Connah’s Quay, Llandudno 1-0 Rhyl, TNS 2-0 Carmarthen.

Friday’s result/Saturday’s fixtures: Bangor 3-2 Aberystwyth (Fri), Airbus v Haverfordwest, Carmarthen v Newtown, Connah’s Quay v Rhyl, Port Talbot v Llandudno, Bala v TNS (5.15).

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