Sixteen became eight over the weekend as the final stages of this year’s Welsh Cup became clearer, culminating in last night’s quarter-final draw.
Last season’s finalists The New Saints and Connah’s Quay remain the leading candidates to lift the famous old trophy and neither side were troubled in the previous round. The New Saints scored twice in each half without reply at home to Aberystwyth Town while ruthless Connah’s Quay doubled that tally recording an 8-0 win. Mike Wilde and Michael Bakare both claimed hat-tricks as they dismantled second tier Afan Lido.
Sean Eardley’s Caernarfon Town refused to follow the script for those wanting to see Ammanford claim another cup upset under the floodlights. The travelling Cofis proved too strong for their Cymru South counterparts, who missed the presence of their injury-hit start-man Lee Trundle – the big name for the big occasion. It just wasn’t meant to be for plucky Ammanford, but on a night in which they attracted an attendance of well over 1000, the club need to be seen as beacon of hope of what can be achieved with the right blend of expertise in community engagement, PR and marketing – something which almost all clubs competing in the Cymru Leagues can benefit from, not least in the Cymru South.
Cefn Druids continued in similar vein to Caernarfon as they welcomed third tier outfit Pontardawe Town to The Rock. Ponty travelled to North Wales as the competition’s lowest ranked side, but a brace from recent Druids signing and two-time Welsh Cup winner Jamie Reed ended their story.
In Swansea, an intriguing tie between the leaders of the Cymru North and Cymru South saw Prestatyn Town come away with a 1-0 win against Swansea Uni, thanks to Jordan Davies’ winner.
Newtown, perhaps dark horses this year, took until the latter stages of the second-half to stamp their authority on their game against Rhyl. Tom Creamer cancelled out Nick Rushton’s early opener and the scoreline remaining level up until the Robins struck three times in a ten-minute spell to come through unscathed.
Flint Town trailed twice to league rivals Colwyn Bay before Mark Cadwallader secured the Silkmen their passage into the last eight.
And after Nathan Wood had snatched an 89th-minute equaliser for Penybont there was still time for even later drama when Cardiff Met were awarded a penalty which Eliot Evans duly converted for his second of the night in a hard-fought 2-1 win for Christian Edwards’ side.
DIFFICULT TIES FOR SAINTS AND NOMADS
The draw for the last eight threw up home ties for The New Saints and Connah’s Quay but neither can be considered straightforward.
Saints will have to overcome Newtown at Park Hall while Connah’s Quay host a Cardiff Met side, who although have not been at their best season, remain an unpredictable and dangerous outfit on any given day.
In the other all-Cymru Premier tie, Caernarfon Town and Cefn Druids face each other at the Oval after avoiding potential upsets against lower league opposition.
That line-up guarantees that a Cymru North club will be in the semi-final with second-placed Flint Town United facing leaders Prestatyn Town, in what is quite possibly the tie of the round.
Featured image courtesy of Brian Jones / TNS FC