Thursday means another round of WPL Power Rankings but firstly, I must apologise for not being able to post last week’s ladder due to some unforeseen circumstances which left it impossible for me to write it up in time! With that out of the way and two weeks’ worth of rankings to mull over, I believe that the race for the top-six is really starting to take shape now with seven rounds remaining before the split.
In my opinion, five of those top-six spots have already been taken. TNS’s and Connah’s Quay’s places come as no real surprise and I think we can now say that Bangor City are just about crossing the line, leaving just three remaining spots. I’ve seen enough of both Bala Town and Cardiff Met to think they too are going to make the cut which leaves one of Llandudno, Carmarthen Town, Aberystwyth Town and Rhyl (??) to snap up that remaining place. Agree? Disagree? Let me know who you think will be playing in the Championship Conference after the split.
Finally, thanks to Marc Webber for having me on the Dafabet WPL Podcast this week where he inquired about the rankings and my take on the season so far. You can listen to that right here whilst reading through this week’s rankings!
Please remember these rankings take into account Matchdays 14 and 15!
#1 THE NEW SAINTS
This week: NO CHANGE (last week 1st)
18 and not out! After seeing off high-flying Bangor City at Nantporth, TNS were without a WPL fixture last week but were able to take their their ruthless run of form up into Scotland where they ran out 3-0 winners against Livingston. Impressive again.
#2 CONNAH’S QUAY
This week: UP TWO (last week 4th)
The Nomads have taken maximum points from visits to Aberystwyth and Llandudno as they continue to go steady in second place. The return of forward Ashley Ruane bolsters an already-strong squad and the return to fitness of Callum Morris will be one key name crossed off Andy Morrison’s injury list. Successive wins gives the Nomads the advantage as they overtake Bangor and Cardiff Met in the rankings.
#3 BANGOR CITY
This week: DOWN ONE (last week 2nd)
Andy Legg’s City would dearly loved to have been the side which ended TNS’s 100% record and they went into MD14’s clash with the Saints with a genuine chance of doing so. It wasn’t to be the case however but their class was apparent as they scored two fine goals at Newtown last weekend to remain third, hot on the heels of Connah’s Quay. Bangor have coped particularly well with defensive lynchpin Leon Clowes sidelined and they seem to be going from strength to strength – the talented trio of Henry Jones, Jordan Davies and Brayden Shaw are on hot form for the Citizens.
#4 BALA TOWN
This week: UP ONE (last week 5th)
I don’t think anyone can quite put their finger on exactly what happened to Bala’s form earlier this season but Colin Caton’s side now have a more familiar look about them after hitting a rich vein of form. Unbeaten in three – with successive shutouts at home against Cardiff Met and Aberystwyth – leaves Bala Town looking their formidable old selves once again! Impressive run sees the Lakesiders climb.
#5 CARDIFF MET
This week: DOWN ONE (last week 3rd)
Met are one of the best side’s in the WPL right now and their Cyncoed Campus is fast becoming something of a fortress for the students. Five wins on the bounce and home with four successive clean-sheets being kept in the capital. Pleasing on the eye, the Met were beaten in closely contested clash in Bala before comfortably seeing off Airbus at home last weekend. Christian Edwards can start plotting his assault on the Championship Conference on the evidence of the last few weeks. The Students are particularly unfortunate to be on the slide this week as Bala and Connah’s Quay both climb above them.
#6 CARMARTHEN TOWN
This week: NO CHANGE (last week 6th)
After a smash and grab win up at Rhyl, Mark Aizlewood would’ve had his sights on a three-point return prior to their home encounter with Cefn Druids last weekend. When news then broke that the Druids were without a recognised goalkeeper prior to last Sunday’s game, expectations amongst the Old Gold ranks will have risen further, so their 2-2 would have been met with some disappointment. Carmarthen have a committed, hard-working squad, they just need to show a bit more consistency in order to push hard for a top-six place. Good to see underrated midfielder Lewis Harling back fit too!
This week: UP THREE (last week 10th)
Llandudno remain slap bang mid-table after seeing off Cefn Druids before losing last weekend at home to Connah’s Quay but the side can consider themselves fortunate that they remain so well-placed in the league whilst sorely lacking goals. It’s a credit to Alan Morgan and his well-organised side that their obvious lack of firepower hasn’t hurt them more but it certainly complicates their hopes of another top-six finish. A bigger climb than expected this week for Llandudno, partly influenced by teams above them slipping down the rankings ladder.
#8 CEFN DRUIDS
This week: UP ONE (last week 9th)
Huw Griffiths’ Cefn Druids are unpredictable if nothing else. They do seem to enjoy partaking in high-scoring games and after seeing their hopes dashed when travelling without a goalkeeper for their match at Carmarthen last Sunday, they did remarkably well to return home with a 2-2 draw and their credibility intact. Griffiths faces a challenge to replace now-departed top-scorer Ashley Ruane – cracking that nut could prove pivotal come the end of the season but for now at least, the side are showing character and working hard for each other.
#9 ABERYSTWYTH TOWN
This week: DOWN ONE (last week 8th)
Aberystwyth had begun to show some promise after a run of good home performance but defeats to Connah’s Quay and a disappointing display at Bala last weekend have saw the Seasiders lose momentum. There’s plenty to like about this side but Matthew Bishop must be pulling what little left he has of his hair out as the Green and Blacks frustrate.
This week: UP TWO (last week 12th)
The Robins finally obtained a much sought-after three points against Airbus on Matchday 14 but were then edged out by two splendid Bangor City goals last week, as they suffered another defeat. Newtown do however remain in touch with the immediate teams above them despite propping up the league table and they must continue to play through their slump. Turning the corner.
#11 AIRBUS UK
This week: DOWN FOUR (last week 7th)
Defeats to Newtown and Cardiff Met over the last two weekends leave the Wingmakers with one of the poorest form records in the league and the task facing Andrew Thomas is becoming an increasingly challenging one. You have to feel for Thomas in what is a difficult first managerial role – losing centre-back and captain Paul Connolly this week to Bangor City will only add to his woes, whilst at the other end last season’s top-scorer Tony Gray is suffering from a lack of service and form, having not scored since September. This weekend’s clash with Rhyl is one Airbus certainly won’t want to lose. You sense January could prove to be a telling month for the club.
This week: DOWN ONE (last week 11th)
Rhyl were without a game last weekend and their last run out didn’t end well after giving up a late goal at home against Carmarthen to lose 1-0. The Lilywhites look a very different side to the one that were righting high up the table earlier this season, Niall McGuinness is tasked with finding that winning formula from within his squad once again.
Featured image courtesy of Nik Mesney/NCM Media.