IT was a wild opening weekend in the JD Welsh Premier League, with a host of surprises and standout efforts from teams hoping to challenge for the title.
Bangor City put the cat amongst the pigeons with a thumping victory over the all-conquering New Saints, while the likes of Connah’s Quay, Bala Town and Cardiff Met all began with impressive victories.
Sports reporter Dean Jones marks your card with his gameday two predictions:
Newtown vs Cefn Druids:
Having been on the wrong end of convincing defeats on the opening day, both the Robins and the Ancients will be hoping for better fortune when the pair clash on Friday.
Chris Hughes’ side were no match for a powerful Bala Town side, while Cardiff Met made light work of their trip to the Rock with a resounding 3-0 triumph.
Losing two on the bounce to begin the campaign is never ideal, and both will be hoping to avoid any further complications to get their season going.
Home advantage may prove to be key in this one, but it will be very tight.
Prediction: Newtown 1-0 Cefn Druids.
Aberystwyth Town vs Llandudno:
Tudno boss Alan Morgan travels to his former club and will be looking to carry the momentum from their impressive 3-0 win over Carmarthen Town in their first competitive fixture.
They looked very impressive going forward and this is sure to cause the Town rearguard a great deal of problems, but Nev Powell will be encouraged by what he saw in their hard-fought draw at Barry Town United.
If the visitors play at the level they did to down the Old Gold, then that should be enough to get them the result they need.
Prediction: Aberystwyth Town 1-2 Llandudno.
Prestatyn Town vs Barry Town United:
The Seasiders were given a rude awakening on their WPL return with a heavy defeat to Connah’s Quay, with manager Neil Gibson stating that ‘lessons need to be learnt’ ahead of their crunch clash with their South Wales rivals this weekend.
There was plenty to be positive about during United’s home draw with Aberystwyth on their return, and this result of this game will go a long way to determining where both sides will find themselves even so early on in the season.
I expect the Huws Gray Alliance champions to produce a reaction in-front of their home support and get a positive result here.
Prediction: Prestatyn Town 1-0 Barry Town United.
New Saints vs Bala Town:
Things do not get any easier for the champions following their humbling defeat to Bangor City, with long-time rivals Bala next up having beaten them in the JD Welsh Cup final last term.
The Lakesiders set out their stall early on with a polished performance during their win over Newtown, and Colin Caton’s men are sure to fancy their chances of piling the pressure on the new managerial regime for the full-time outfit.
However, TNS didn’t get to where they are today without having incredible character in the ranks, but I think they may have to wait another week before recording their first victory of the season.
Prediction: New Saints 2-2 Bala Town.
Cardiff Met vs Bangor City:
All eyes will be on the capital as the students welcome Kevin Nicholson’s men, who are the talk of the country after their 5-2 success over the reigning champions.
This has made everyone sit up and take notice but it will be up to the talented Citizens squad to make sure last weekend’s success is built on, but things will not be easy against a Cardiff side that made light work of their trip to Druids in what looked to be a difficult fixture.
City’s away form is going to be crucial if they are to mount a serious title challenge, and I expect them to make it two wins from as many games to start the season.
Prediction: Cardiff Met 1-3 Bangor City.
Connah’s Quay vs Carmarthen Town:
It did not take long for Andy Morrison’s side to make a statement after their impressive win at Prestatyn, and they encounter an Old Gold outfit that will be looking for a response to their disappointing opening weekend loss at Llandudno.
The Nomads will have to overcome their physicality in order to achieve a win, but they have enough quality in their line-up to ensure this is done with minimal fuss.
Prediction: Connah’s Quay 2-0 Carmarthen Town.
Week one score: 4/6