Last week, I decided to try my hand at predicting the outcomes of each game in the Cymru Premier League. https://couchpotatoscorner.sport.blog/2019/12/19/cymru-premier-league-preview-and-predictions-matchday-18/
So! How did I do?
The New Saints vs Cardiff Met
What I said: 3-0 to TNS
What actually happened: 2-1 to Cardiff Met
I’m a big enough man to admit that I got this one WAY wrong.
The S4C cameras were at Park Hall for this one and, due to parental duties, I was planning to catch up with the stream on YouTube in the morning without knowing the scores. However a friend helpfully text me the half time score, which blew my prediction well out of the water, so I watched the second half live with an air of resignation, hoping TNS could find a couple of goals to allow me to salvage the pride of correctly calling a home win. They couldn’t.
I watched the first half on Saturday morning and was just struck by how disappointing the TNS performance was. For long periods in the first half I wouldn’t say Cardiff Met won the midfield battle, rather that TNS didn’t seem to have a midfield to speak off. There were far too many occasions where a defender had all the time in the world to pick a pass, only to hoof it into touch and give Met the ball back.
The Archers took the lead in the sixth minute with a really novel corner kick involving three men by the corner flag. I’ve never seen that one attempted before so I guess it was fitting that it resulted in a goal as Joel Evans flicked the cross between his legs and past Harrison.
Ten minutes later, the Saints were level with their first foray to speak of into the Met half. Adrian Cieslewicz powered his way into the box and crossed for Ryan Brobbel to fire home.
Met were to be back in front before the break when a long ball forward evaded the defence, dropping over the shoulder of Will Evans, who cooly slotted it past Harrison.
TNS were improved in the second half but struggled to create much of note. Fuller saved well from a free kick and Greg Draper spurned a decent looking chance with a heavy first touch.
The champions did have the ball in the net via Jamie Mullan but the linesman’s flag ruled it out. I have my doubts about the accuracy of the decision but there is no camera angle that adequately shows Mullan’s position when the ball was struck and no VAR so the result stands as an away win.
Met ended the game with ten men when goalscorer Joel Edwards decided to shove Keston Davies in the face in injury time. Davies got a yellow card for the hefty challenge that provoked Edwards’ reaction.
Connah’s Quay Nomads vs Bala Town
What I said: 1-1 draw.
What actually happened:: 2-1 to Connah’s Quay.
In my defence, I was correct for about eight minutes in this one. That’s something, right? Right…?
Jonny Spittle put the Lakesiders 1-0 up on five minutes, taking full advantage of Quay ‘keeper, Brass’s inability to clear the ball and knocking it home in a goal mouth scramble.
Michael Bakare drew the home side level on 67 minutes, Mike Wilde flicking on a long throw for him to apply the finish. Bakare got his brace eight minutes later, heading in Declan Poole’s cross.
Both sides had chances to add to their tally, Lewis Brass made up for his earlier error with a few smart saves to help his team to three points.
The win see’s Nomads leap frog Bala into second place, a point behind TNS following their defeat.
Aberystwyth Town vs Barry Town United
What I said: 2-1 to Aberystwyth
What actually happened: 1-0 to Barry.
Well that rounded off Friday night perfectly, leaving me with a 0% success rate.
Barry should have had a penalty in the first half when Swansea City loanee, Tom Price clearly handled in the box. Despite having what looked like an excellent view of the incident, the referee waved away the protests.
The seven time champions weren’t to be outdone though and Kyle McLaggen channeled Jurgen Klinsmann with a belly slide across the deck to head in the game’s only goal.
The results leaves Aber still just six points ahead of the drop and keeps Barry in with an outside shot at the title.
Pen-y-Bont vs Newtown
What I said: 2-1 to Newtown
What actually happened: 2-0 to Newtown.
I almost got this one right! I called an away win for Newtown. I said they’d score two goals. I just clearly had too little faith in Dave Jones in the Robins’ goal, as he dealt with the few clear chances Pen-y-Bont had. He did nearly drop one into his own net right at the end to prove me right. I would have had to have bought him a pint had he done so.
Watching the highlights on Sgorio, aside from two decent efforts from the home side, it was one way traffic all day. However, it took until ten minutes into the second half before Kieron Mills-Evans headed home from point blank range. The defender had a first half effort cleared off the line but made no mistake at the second time of asking.
Pen-y-Bont have only themselves to blame for the second goal. Why the defender attempted a pass back to his keeper, when surrounded by red shirts, only he knows. Whatever the weather, he severely undercooked what was already a suicidal idea and Shrewsbury Town loanee Lifumpa Mwandwe intercepted the ball and squared for Niall Flint to tap into the empty net.
Airbus Uk Broughton vs Cefn Druids
What I said: 2-0 to Druids
What actually happened: 1-1 draw.
Watching the highlights of this game, Airbus don’t look like a side that should be deep in relegation trouble. I went to see them play Newtown earlier on in the season and they played them off the park, coming away with a 2-0 victory. However, Newtown are pushing for top six, whereas this point only gives Airbus the slimmest of advantages in the dogfight for the drop.
Andy Owens, who looked decent against Newtown (bagging a brace that day), latched onto a defence splitting pass to fire in from the edge of the box.
Druids fought back and both teams exchanged blows but Airbus struck the woodwork twice in quick succession in the second period. First through Andy Owens, and then the clearance was struck back goalwards by Thomason, only to rebound off the frame of the goal and out for a goal kick.
Druids managed to claim a point with ten minutes to go as Jamie Davies turned and shot into the centre of the goal.
Newtown’s win over Pen-y-Bont sees them just a point behind Druids in the race for sixth spot, with four games remaining before the split. That result also see’s Airbus inch a point above the drop zone.
Carmarthen Town vs Caernarfon Town
What I said: 1-0 to Caernarfon
What actually happened: 1-0 TO CAERNARFON!
I GOT ONE RIGHT! angelic chorus
Saved the best till last here, clearly. As did Caernarfon as their winning goal came in the 91st minute, Cai Jones heading into the ground and then knocking the ball in with his second bite.
A third successive 1-0 defeat for Carmarthen and they remain rooted to the bottom of the table. There were signs of hope for the Old Gold as Caernarfon were forced into a goalline clearance with Alex Ramsey stranded on the edge of his box.
Lee Idzi in the home goal made two magnificent saves from free kicks in either half to nearly deny the Cofis all three points.
The win sees Caernarfon just two points behind third placed Bala, with a game in hand against second bottom Pen-y-Bont to come.
Carmarthen are four points from safety but they next three games are against Pen-y-Bont twice and Airbus, so the situation could look very different come the league split.
So, how did I do?
In a word: pants.
Ok, so things improved on the second day after a woeful Saturday. I damn near got two scores spot on but the point is I only got two outcomes right out of six.
Pretty woeful stuff.
So! Should I accept that I’ll never make it as a football pundit and just quit now?
I’ve come to the conclusion that pundits are just often wrong with confidence and that’s how I intend to proceed.
Look out for my upcoming preview of not just the Cymru Premier festive programme, but I am also taking on Mark Lawrenson (he doesn’t know this) in Liam vs Lawro for the rest of this season (and beyond).
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Thank you for reading!