I hope everyone had a good Christmas and enjoyed the New Year period; with a lot of games over a short space of time and family commitments, time was scarce to update Inside the WPL, but we can now at least chew the fat on the fall out from the festive period as the fixture schedule normalises itself.
The big winners over the Christmas period were the three sides at the top of table as Llandundo and Airbus joined still-unbeaten TNS in securing their place in the Championship Conference for the second phase of the season.
Llandudno, second in the table, accomplished the considerable feat of claiming a top-six spot in their first season in the WPL with ease despite picking up four points over Christmas. It’s been an unforgettable season at Maesdu Park for Llandudno who trail TNS by 10 points but a more prosperous festive campaign from Alan Morgan’s men could’ve easily seen them close that margin. With the Saints stalling to three successive draws, Llandudno saw themselves stutter twice on home
turf plastic first drawing against a weakened Port Talbot side before unexpectedly being turned over by rivals Bangor City, another of the league’s out-of-form sides. Wins from those two games would’ve put Llandudno on 42 points – just five behind TNS, giving us the WPL title-race we’ve all craved.
You have to feel it’s highly unlikely that TNS will again drop points at such a rate in which they did so last month, and should they strengthen during the transfer window their lead at the top of the table will surely be unassailable and Alan Morgan may well reflect back on those two games at the end of the season and think ‘what if’.
Meanwhile, the long-awaited return of some consistent form would’ve no doubt cheered up Airbus manager Andy Preece as his side helped themselves to a top-six spot. Coming away with four points from a testing double-header against Connah’s Quay (now of course managed by Preece’s former assistant Andy Morrison) leaves Airbus in good shape to kick-on into the new year.
Expect a close-fought three-way scrap between Llandudno, Airbus and Bala Town in 2016 for the remaining automatic European qualification spot that’ll be awarded to the team that finishes in second-place.