THE opening weekend of the Welsh Premier League certainly didn’t disappoint with a total of 22 goals being scored in the six matches that were played.
I had the pleasure of covering what turned out to be the game of the weekend for the North Wales Chronicle as Bangor City smashed reigning champions TNS 5-2 at Nantporth in a surprising result.
From the unexpected to the controversial, fans all across the country were left entertained by the best that Wales currently has to offer over the weekend as the WPL returned in style.
Here, AFEFootballNews gives you the lowdown on all the results from the entertaining opening weekend …
Friday, August 11:
Bala Town 3-0 Newtown
Bala Town got their campaign off to a flier as they beat a poor Newtown side 3-0 at Maes Tegid.
Chris Venables put the Lakesiders in front on the half hour before debutant Evan Horwood added another with a stunning free-kick just two minutes later. The prolific Mike Hayes added a third in the second half to put the game to bed once and for all.
Title-chasing Bala are one of the favourites to challenge at the top this season, whilst Newtown are expected to struggle after losing both of their star players, Jason Oswell and Shane Sutton over the summer.
Season 15 for me in the WPL starts today, same feeling as the first one I played in…. @CSVenners (Chris Venables) on Twitter prior to the match.
Bala will now be looking to their next match against TNS (A) and will fancy their chances after the champions were dismantled by Bangor on Friday night. Newtown will be looking to turn their fortunes around when they take on relegation favourites Cefn Druids at home.
Bangor City 5-2 The New Saints
Unexpected to say the least, but an incredible performance from Bangor blew WPL champions TNS away.
The hosts took the lead just five minutes into the match through a Brayden Shaw header. The Saints equalised on 14 minutes through defender Connell Rawlinson but City were back in front two minutes later as Gary Taylor-Fletcher headed home. On 24 minutes, the game was level again as Jamie Mullan scored for TNS.
2-2 at half time and the stakes were higher than ever.
TNS really fell off the pace in the second half and Bangor took advantage. Another header by Taylor-Fletcher (62′), a 30-yard stunner from Shaw (75′) and a penalty converted by Bolivian forward Anderson Cayola (82′) was enough to secure a historic victory for the Citizens.
A great way to start the season last night, with an excellent team performance & result. Our aim is now to build on this victory.
#Citizens – @Kevnicholson1 (Bangor City manager) on Twitter.
Bangor will be looking to continue their momentum in their match against Cardiff Met Uni (A) next weekend. TNS face Bala Town at home and will be looking to put this embarrassing defeat behind them quickly.
Prestatyn 0–4 Connah’s Quay
Prestatyn Town’s return to the top flight ended in heartbreak as a disappointing display saw them fall to a 4-0 home defeat at the hands of Connah’s Quay.
A rare goal by Jay Owen from a deflected Ryan Wignall cross put the Nomads ahead before Callum Morris added another on the stroke of half-time when keeper Carl Jones failed to hold another Wignall cross.
Michael Wilde extended the visitors’ lead on 61 minutes and sub Matty Williams added a late fourth goal to down the Seasiders, who are nearly everyone’s favourties to go straight back down this season.
A positive to our ever improving Academy was the debut of rising star of the Academy Macauley Taylor (sponsored by Leigh Williams) coming off the bench to make his WPL debut. Thank you to the fans for turning up last night. – Prestatyn Town FC on Facebook.
Prestatyn will now face fellow WPL newcomers Barry Town United at home on matchday two, whilst Connah’s Quay face Camarthen Town at home.
Saturday, August 12:
Cefn Druids 0-3 Cardiff Met Uni
Cardiff Met Uni picked up where they left off last season with a fine display against Cefn Druids.
The students opened their account at The Rock through Chris Baker who sent a low shot past keeper Michael Jones. Ten minutes later, Baker was at it again when he doubled the lead with a similar goal just before the break.
Druids striker Ashley Ruane failed to profit from a one-on-one with keeper Will Fuller, before Eliot Evans ensured the full three points for the Archers with a well-taken free-kick on 76 minutes.
Cefn Druids then had Stuart Cook sent-off for a second caution to put the icing on the cake of their opening day misery.
Carlsberg don’t do opening days, but if they did, they’d probably be 3-0 wins away from home
@CardiffMetFC – @BradCoops95 (Met fan) with a great quote on Twitter.
Cefn Druids now take on Newtown away next weekend whilst Cardiff Met take on Bangor City at their home ground.
Llandudno 3-0 Carmarthen Town
Llandudno, who found scoring goals to be difficult at times last season had no problems in that department against Carmarthen this weekend.
They were however aided by the Old Gold’s defence, who conceded two penalties in the final quarter of an hour, which were both converted by Sam Hart.
In between his double conversion, promising youngster Shaun Cavanagh scored on his debut just two minutes after coming off the bench.
MAN OF THE MATCH | Sam Hart – 2 Goals & A Solid Performance From The Chester Man ||
#HereToPlay @WPL_Official – @LlandudnoFC on Twitter
Llandudno will face a trip to Aberystwyth Town next weekend whilst Camarthen face a tough task away to Connah’s Quay.
Sunday, August 13:
Barry Town United 1-1 Aberystwyth Town
Barry Town’s long awaited return to the top flight was spoiled by a controversial late equaliser by Aberystwyth at Jenner Park.
With eight minutes of normal time remaining a Declan Walker corner from the left was punched away by Barry keeper Mike Lewis, who then grasped a close range shot from the rebound by Jonny Spittle.
A goal was awarded to the Black and Green’s via the assistant referee, but TV replays seemed to back-up the home fans’ belief that the ball had most certainly not crossed the line and that Spittle had in fact kicked the ball while it was in Lewis’ hands.
Earlier, the Dragons took the lead on 27 minutes when Kayne McLaggan’s shot was palmed away by visiting keeper Chris Mullock and the ball fell nicely for Ryan Newman, who swept home from eight yards out.
Gutted to not come away with the 3 points today but we will bounce back! – @LukeCooper10 (Barry Town player) reflects on Twitter.
Barry will be looking to put that disappointing decision behind them as they make the trip to Prestatyn Town next weekend whilst Aberystwyth will take on Llandudno at Park Avenue.
As opening weekends go, it doesn’t get much more thrilling than that!
Be sure to keep checking AFEFootballNews for more Welsh Premier League and general football news over the course of the 2017/18 season.