Burns Road Ramblings: Newtown away under the microscope

Burns Road Ramblings is a blog written from a Port Talbot Town supporter’s perspective.

We’re growing closer and closer to the mid-season split in the Dafabet Welsh Premier League, the top six and the bottom six will split off in the early parts of the New Year, and depending on what side of that split the Blues end up on, the remainder of our season may very quickly become very limited in terms of possible achievements.

Saturday is a big game for not just Port Talbot but, if you look at Newtown’s recent form, they can not afford to throw away points at this stage of the campaign either.

The mid-Wales outfit enjoyed a very strong opening to their season, but results have started to fall away in the last couple of weeks – relegating them from the high league position they enjoyed at the start of the season to a mid-table place.

Newtown currently sit 5th in the Dafabet Welsh Premier League, boosted by their 1-1 draw at Rhyl last week.

The Blues however, have seen themselves drop from the high league position they found themselves in during August and September to a lowly 10th place following a poor run of form through October. As things stand at the moment, we are just about keeping ourselves out of the relegation zone – albeit we have a game in hand following Aberystwyth away being called off due to a waterlogged pitch.

If we look at Newtown’s last five games, the records show that the Robins have been quite inconsistent over the last month or so – both home and away. They picked up a 3-0 defeat at home to Llandudno before their draw at Rhyl last week, but before that they were able to pick up wins against Haverfordwest and Connah’s Quay.

Looking at their recent losses however, there’s no huge surprises in there. Bangor are in good form at the moment, so a 3-0 defeat at the hands of the Citizens is not a massive dampner on their season. The same could go for their 3-0 loss against Llandudno, the league newboys are flying high at the moment and are churning out impressive drubbings on a number of clubs.

One thing that looks to be certain, Newtown don’t appear to have any kind of ‘home advantage’ at the moment. Their heaviest defeats this season have all come at home. In fact, the majority of their wins have come away – which puts the Blues in good stead for potentially picking up the three points on Saturday afternoon.

Turning to the Blues’ last five games now. It’s safe to say October was a disaster for Andy Dyer’s men, a string of injuries as well as the departure of a number of key players – Cortez Belle, Leon Jeanne, Kaid Mohammed, Jamie Latham etc. really took its toll on the squad.

Dyer is confident that now players are returning to full fitness results will start to come in – Luke Bowen is the only player still out, but is expected to return in the coming weeks.

Heavy defeats at the hands of Connah’s Quay and Bala as well as a League Cup drubbings at Carmarthen worsened the Blues’ run of form as October closed its doors. November has been slightly kinder however, Aberystwyth away was postponed and has been rearranged for January, then Alan Tate’s debut for the Blues went through without a hitch – with the Blues emerging 2-0 victors over Bangor in front of S4C’s live cameras.

Port Talbot’s 1-0 defeat against league leaders The New Saints last time out was an encouraging game. The Blues enjoyed the majority of possession for a good portion of the game, and the visitors’ goal came from their first corner kick of the game which shows how much of an improvement we’ve seen already in the boys – especially considering it looked like we were going to concede every time the opposition pushed forward in our games against Rhyl and Llandudno last month.

Newtown certainly don’t have the momentum they enjoyed at the start of the season, but the potential for them to churn out results is still there. Saturday’s game is hard to predict, but whatever happens – it looks set to be an exciting contest.

Saturday’s away clash at Newtown kicks off at 2.30pm, follow live tweets of the action on the Port Talbot Town Twitter account. Supporters travel is still available!