Seven games into the Cymru Premier season and I think it’s about time that I resurrected my weekly predictions blog, which all went to pot last year with that old Covid-19 chestnut.
Last term, I restricted myself to just trying to predict the outcome of the game and steered well clear of taking a pop at the scores. If you’ve read any of the previous posts, you’ll know I wasn’t too successful so, masochist that I am, I’ve decided to make it even harder for myself this year and I’m going to try and predict the final scores as well!
So, without further ado, let’s get started.
Friday 9th October 2020
Caernarfon Town vs Cefn Druids
These are two teams I like a lot. Druids are a twenty minute drive from my house and I’ve been assigned to two of their games for Y Clwb Pel Droed already this season. Caernarfon have long been a favourite of mine. I love the ground (even if I did nearly break my hand celebrating a TNS equaliser too close to the tea hut many years ago). I love the fans. I love the Welshness of them. I also love Huw Griffiths.
I worked with Huwi when I was General Manager of Welshpool about a decade ago. He’s a lovely guy and really knowledgeable. I rate him very highly as a coach and have followed his career closely since he left us to go to Druids.
I think this game has all the hallmarks of a classic this evening. Both Huwi and (Druids boss) Bruno Lopes set their teams up to play open, attractive football. I’m disappointed this hasn’t been picked up by the broadcasters this weekend (unless Sgorio are showing it live via Facebook) because I think it’s going to be an entertaining game.
Druids impressed me in their opening game against Flint. The moved the ball around and weren’t afraid to get forward. Their midfield firepower and Stef Edwards charging up from wing back had me convinced they would give a few teams a decent game. The score lines since that night (1-1 with Cardiff Met aside) have proved me wrong. They’ve conceded 13 goals in their last three games and scored just one.
I saw them against Connah’s Quay last weekend, where they were trounced 5-0 (it could have been 10) and had two shots in the general direction of the goal. The Nomads completely dominated the midfield and it didn’t seem like Druids had a plan B to deal with teams that won’t let them play their preferred style.
However, I still think they have goals in them and an abundance in depth and competition in midfield. They won’t play many as tough as Nomads this season and if they can get a bit of confidence inside them, they could well push on and get some points on the board.
A glance at the table would make you think Caernarfon have been indifferent this year. They’ve won three, lost three and drawn one. But closer inspection tells you that all three defeats came against the top three in the league. When they’ve played a team in the bottom six, they’ve been victorious.
They clearly know where the net is but their defensive record poses questions. They kept their first clean sheet of the season at Cardiff Met last weekend, but there was an element of fortuitousness about it. They will almost certainly score tonight, but they’ll give Druids a few sniffs too.
I’m going to go with 3-2 tonight, though I keep changing my mind who too. My head days Caernarfon will win it, as does the form book. But my heart (as much as I love Huwi) says Druids. They desperately need a win and my ego needs them to pick up points as I’ve told a few people they’re a decent side and I could do without a repeat of the “I don’t really rate that Ronaldo kid, he just ends up on his arse all the time, I can’t see him amounting to anything” incident.
So yeah. Let’s go with the heart. 3-2 to Druids. (No, Caernarfon. No, Druids. No…)
Saturday 10th October 2020
Newtown vs Barry Town
I’ve been surprised by Newtown’s form this season. I watched their opening day draw with Haverfordwest (2-2) and wasn’t massively impressed. They looked a long way from the side that snuck into the top six at the split last term. Their only win so far this season coming at home to Druids (4-1).
Barry’s current streak of five successive victories is equalled only by TNS (thanks to the Bala floodlights). So the form book screams an away win to me and I’m not inclined to disagree.
As for the scoreline, Barry have only won by more than a single goal once this season. Newtown aren’t bad at the back, they restricted TNS to two in midweek (down from 10 the weekend before).
I’m going to go with 1-0 to Barry.
Flint Town United vs Haverfordwest County
Like Druids, I was impressed with Flint when I saw them face off a few weeks back. They were 2-1 winners on the night and played some lovely stuff. That was their second win from their first three games in the top flight. However, the wheels have fallen off a bit since and they lost the next three games, including a 10-0 drubbing at TNS last weekend.
No one should be ringing the panic bells just yet. All three defeats came against teams I expect to be challenging for league titles or European football next season. They’ve recently added a real heavyweight (in terms of his scoring record, not build. Please don’t hurt me) in Les Davies. Wes Baynes is a menace from right back so I expect a fair few goals going forwards.
Like Flint, Haverfordwest are new to the top flight. The Bluebirds were last in the Premier League when it had 18 teams. They’re a well run club with some great facilities so it’s nice to have them back in the league. They picked up a very credible win over Bala Town last weekend, but were brought back down to earth with a 4-0 defeat to Penybont in midweek.
I think it’ll be a close one but I’m going to tip Flint to get back to winning ways with a 2-1 win. For a bonus point, Les Davies will chip in with a goal.
Cardiff Met vs Connah’s Quay Nomads
Met won their opening game of the season 3-2 at Aberystwyth but have only managed one goal in the six games since (against Cefn Druids and, let’s face it, who doesn’t score against Druids?) they’re on a run of three defeats though they’ve only let in five in those three games. So they’re not bad at the back, they just don’t have their scoring boots on.
Connah’s Quay on the other hand, have scored 14 in their last four games and conceded just two goals. And they’ve done that with a host of key players out injured.
Everyone seems to be tipping TNS to regain their title this year but it is absolutely not a foregone conclusion from what I have seen.
I still expect the league champions to be top of the pile Saturday evening with a 3-0 victory here.
Penybont vs The New Saints
Penybont have been a revelation this season. They spent the majority of last season rooted in the bottom two but managed to put enough points on the board in the New Year to lift themselves away from Carmarthen and Airbus to earn a second year in the top flight. And boy have they taken advantage of it. After a slowish start to the season, they’ve now won three in a row and sit fourth in the table.
The Saints are in ferocious form themselves, having won every game that managed to go the full ninety minutes with the lights on and are yet to concede a goal that officially counts. The second ten goals against Flint last weekend and will be hungry for more.
When these two sides met last season, TNS were victorious only by a single goal on both occasions. Penybont have undoubtedly improved since then and their player manager, Rhys Griffiths, has been adding to his impressive Premier League tally in recent weeks.
I’m not brave enough to predict a home win, but I’ll stick my neck out and say TNS will concede their first goal of the season. I’m guessing 3-1 to TNS.
Bala Town vs Aberystwyth Town (live on S4C)
One point separates 7th place Bala with 6th placed Aber, though the home side do have three games in hand.
The Lakesiders suffered their first defeat of the season, at home to Haverfordwest last weekend, but demolished Penybont in the previous game. Their midweek trip to Flint was postponed due to heavy rain, adding to their existing backlog. Colin Catton’s men will be itching to get back to winning ways.
Aber are another of the sides that look much improved this season. Their defeats have come at the hands of Connah’s Quay and Barry Town, and they were victorious at Cefn Druids, 4-0, in midweek.
I don’t know why, but by heart keeps pulling me towards 1-1 for this one. So that’s what I’m going to stick with (although my head would call a home win).
Caernarfon Town 2 – 3 Cefn Druids
Newtown 0 – 1 Barry Town
Flint Town United 2 – 1 Haverfordwest County
Cardiff Met 0 – 3 Connah’s Quay Nomads
Penybont 1 – 3 The New Saints
Bala Town 1 – 1 Aberystwyth Town
Pick Of The Week
The stand out game for me this week is tonight’s game at the Oval between Caernarfon Town and Cefn Druids.
As I said earlier on, I expect goals and lots of them. I expect decent, flowing football. Just a shame there’s no fans allowed or a live stream of the game (that I know of).
For a little added spice, you just have to remember that Huw Griffiths was Druids manager last season before he was sacked, only to be announced as the Cofis’ boss hours later.
Huwi will undoubtedly be looking to get one over his former club (as he did in the Welsh Cup, in his first game in charge) and Bruno Lopes will be desperate for three points at the start of a tough run of games.
Until Next Time, Friends
I’ll be back on Monday, after watching the highlights, to review how I got on and to preview the midweek fixtures.
If you disagree with anything I’ve written, please feel free to comment. Keep it friendly though, I’m very thin skinned.