TNS unsurprisingly remain top this week after forcing their way into the record books with a 16th-straight league win. Bala go a season-high second as their strong run continues; with teams below them winning Cardiff Met harshly slip down two places into fourth after their winning run ended with a draw. There are just five rounds remaining now until the league split and the intensity around those clubs in the chase to secure a top-half finish will undoubtedly be ramping up. Before then however, the league pauses briefly for one of the biggest weekend’s in the Welsh football calendar, the Welsh Cup third round. There’ll be no power rankings next week because of the Cup.
#1 THE NEW SAINTS
This week: NO CHANGE (last week 1st)
TNS eased their way into the record books with a comfortable win against Airbus last weekend and you sense that they took their foot of the pedal after racing into a 4-0 first-half lead. Still going strong.
#2 BALA TOWN
This week: UP ONE (last week 3rd)
The Lakesider’s fifth-straight WPL win was a relatively straightforward one as Bala’s strong run continued with a 3-1 win at Aberystwyth. Mike Hayes’ good season continued after netting his ninth of the season. I’m looking forward to seeing what impact Bala can make in Phase 2.
#3 CONNAH’S QUAY
This week: UP ONE(last week 4th)
Fought back from a goal down to run out 2-1 winner’s at Rhyl last weekend. After TNS, no other team has won as many games as the Nomads – another team who could cause a stir in the Championship Conference.
#4 CARDIFF MET
This week: DOWN TWO (last week 2nd)
After taking the lead with a fine well-worked goal, Cardiff Met finally conceded at home and were forced to split the points with Llandudno. Both teams had chances to snatch the win and the Met remain unbeaten in seven at home – a couple more wins and the top-six will be well within sight.
#5 BANGOR CITY
This week: NO CHANGE (last week 5th)
Ian Dawes was unable to get off to a winning start in his first game in charge as Bangor City came up just short against tenacious Carmarthen. The side appear to be thrown into an unexpected transition as their new manager looks to implement his own style – if their form suffers as a consequence, could their top-six place be under threat?
#6 CARMARTHEN TOWN
This week: NO CHANGE (last week 6th)
Mark Aizlewood will have been a satisfied man traveling back after his side’s winning performance against Bangor City last week as the Old Gold put in a solid display baring all the commitment and discipline he demands from his teams. Now in sixth-spot, Carmarthen can put themselves right in contention if they can continue to grind out a few more hard-fought wins.
This week: NO CHANGE (last week 7th)
Llandudno put successive defeats behind them with a very respectable point against Cardiff Met in which they fought back to take a share of the points. It was a spirited performance from Llandudno, who looked a genuine threat in the final third. They’ll now feel ready to push for the top-six over these final five games.
This week: UP ONE (last week 9th)
Goals don’t come much more clinical than Rhyl’s opener against Connah’s Quay last weekend – an excellent counter-attack saw Zyaac Edwards apply a deft finish to give the Lilywhites the lead but they would be left empty-handed as the powerful Nomads hit back twice. Niall McGuinness commended his team’s work-rate post-match and with a game in-hand, Rhyl could have a big say in who claims sixth-spot.
#9 CEFN DRUIDS
This week: UP ONE (last week 10th)
A good win for the Druids who scored late on to take maximum points off Newtown. Like Rhyl, they too have a game in-hand and if they can build on this result they will be quietly fancying their chances of making a late push for a Championship Conference place.
This week: DOWN TWO (last week 8th)
After taking a few steps forward in recent weeks, a late defeat to Cefn Druids will feel like a step back for the Robins. They’re still only six points off mid-table but it is increasingly likely a second-half of the season in the Play-Off conference beckons.
#11 ABERYSTWYTH TOWN
This week: NO CHANGE (last week 11th)
I felt Aberystwyth were poor defensively against Bala last and Matthew Bishop spoke of his side’s lack of firepower post-match. There’s room for improvement at both ends of this Aber team and until they address that they’re unlikely to find the consistency they need to push on.
#12 AIRBUS UK
This week: NO CHANGE (last week 12th)
I don’t think Airbus will have any complaints coming away from Park Hall with a 4-0 defeat last weekend, and the situation could’ve been far worse, particularly after they conceded all four in the first 45-minutes. Like every other team who’s come away empty-handed from Oswestry this season, they’ll be looking to draw a line under that game and quickly re-group.
Featured image courtesy of Carmarthen Town.