The Welsh Premier League, Wales’ top-flight consisting of 12 teams, nine of them semi-professional has come leaps and bounds over the past few seasons, and this season isn’t looking to be an exception. Crowds are up, European results have improved, a television deal secured and the overall quality of play is now at a credible level.
The stand-out match of the weekend saw Champions Bangor City square off against Llanelli, who recently defeated Georgian giants Dynamo Tbilisi at home in a Europa League qualifier. The game was televised on TV channel S4/C (UK only) and to a worldwide online audience, what the viewers saw for the first twenty minutes was a rather rough and tumble game, eventually ending in a 1 -1 half-time score. The second half was completely different however, with Bangor City dominating for large periods of the game and coming out on top thanks to an 85th minute Kyle Wilson goal, leaving the North Walian side 3 – 2 up. The game ended that way, much to the joy of the 500 plus Bangor City fans in attendance.
The weekend’s early game, played on Friday night, saw Oswestry-based TNS (The New Saints) face Bala Town in a tightly-contested duel. Matty Williams opened the scoring for the five-time Welsh champions TNS, only to see Chris Mason equalise for Bala exactly ten minutes later. The match ended 1 – 1, a result that left the Bala Town players extatic and the 600 New Saints fans stunned.
Sunday’s match saw the Welsh Premier League’s big spenders Neath Athletic take on Aberystwyth at home in a 2.30pm kick-off. Former Bristol and Swansea City striker Lee Trundle dealt the first blow when he put Neath in the lead in the fifth minute, followed quickly by a second goal for the home side thanks to Paul Fowler. Aberystwyth fought back to make the score 2 – 1, only for Neath to hit another past Aber keeper Stephen Cann two minutes later, the score ended 4 – 2 at The Gnoll, a result that sets Neath in good form for contesting the title and that precious single Champions League spot this season.
The Airfield ground in Broughton saw Airbus UK face Port Talbot Town in their opening league fixture of the season, new signing Paul Cochlin put Port Talbot in the lead in the 64th minute, only for Mike Hayes to equalise for the Broughton-based side five minutes later. The match ended all square and giving both clubs a well earned point to get the season started.
Saturday’s other Corbett Sports Premier League matches saw Carmarthen drop three points at the hands of Newtown’s Robbie Millington, league new boys Afan Lido were also defeated by Prestatyn Town in a mediocre 1 – 0 result at the Marston Stadium, Port Talbot.