The JD Welsh Cup takes centre stage once again this weekend as four clubs aim to reach the 134th final.
The semi-final action begins on Friday night when Bala Town take on Connah’s Quay Nomads at the Essity Stadium, Flint (7.45pm) before Penybont meet holders The New Saints at Richmond Park, Carmarthen on Saturday in a repeat of last season’s final (12.45pm).
Manager Colin Caton experienced JD Welsh Cup success with Bala Town back in 2016/17 with a memorable 2-1 victory over The New Saints in the final, and his side have already claimed silverware this season following their penalty shoot-out victory over Connah’s Quay Nomads in the Nathaniel MG Cup in January. Another close and competitive fixture is expected when the two sides meet on Friday night, with the last two JD Cymru Premier fixtures between them ending with the points being shared.
The JD Welsh Cup campaign started for Bala Town with Adam Roscrow scoring a hat-trick in the 6-1 win away to Hawarden Rangers with Nathan Peate, James Davies and George Newell completing the scoring. A 2-0 win over league rivals Flint Town United came courtesy of captain Chris Venables and Kieran Smith, who also scored in the 2017 final win. Lassana Mendes was shown a red card in a 2-1 win over nine-man Pontypridd United as Bala Town reached the quarter-finals with goals from Peate and Venables, and it was Venables and Roscrow who would ensure their progress to the last four with a 2-0 win over Briton Ferry Llansawel.
Connah’s Quay Nomads lifted the JD Welsh Cup in 2017/18 with a convincing 4-1 win over Aberystwyth Town. Current manager Neil Gibson was assistant manager at the time, but experienced his own glory in the competition as manager of Prestatyn Town back in 2012/13 as his side defeated Bangor City. Veteran striker Michael Wilde scored twice in the 2018 final victory and continues to lead the front-line for his club at the age of 39, and has scored 15 goals in all competitions this season, including a double in the 5-1 win at Denbigh Town in their opening round match.
Captain George Horan was also on target in that victory with Harry Franklin and a Callum Morris penalty completed the scoring. The side then claimed a comfortable 4-0 victory at home to Colwyn Bay with two goals from Mike Hayes complimenting further goals from Wilde and another Morris penalty. Ben Nash and substitute Joe Malkin ensured the side would progress to the last eight with a 2-0 win over Llanelli Town, and Airbus UK Broughton were convincing beaten 5-0 with Horan, Franklin and Jack Kenny on target before Makin again came off the bench and scored twice in the final minutes.
Kostya Georgievsky has been in fine form for Penybont in the JD Welsh Cup this season, scoring in each of the opening three rounds. Georgievsky opened his account in the competition in the 5-1 win over Risca United as further goals from Sam Snaith, Keyon Reffell, Billy Borge and a Nathan Wood penalty completed the scoring, and he was on target again in the 3-0 over Conwy Borough as Wood scored a brace. Mael Davies then joined Georgievsky on the scoresheet in the 2-0 win over Gresford to setup a quarter-final tie with Holywell Town, and there was late drama as a penalty from Wood deep into injury-time sealed a 2-1 win. The side from the JD Cymru North had taken the lead before Lewis Harling equalised, but eventually finished the game with nine-men.
“In the first half we just weren’t good enough so we have to give it to them,”Rhys Griffiths, Penybont Manager
“They were excellent in the first half. They got amongst us, they were difficult and aggressive, but in the second half we were completely dominant and probably should have scored five or six really. But great defending from them, they put their bodies on the line. I thought we deserved it in the end, there was no question that we were the dominant side in the second half but they edged the first half. That’s cup football for you.”
Two goals from Jordan Williams and a penalty from Declan McManus earned The New Saints a 3-2 victory over Penybont in the 2022 JD Welsh Cup Final at the Cardiff City Stadium, while the two teams played out a 1-1 draw at Park Hall in the JD Cymru Premier last weekend. The New Saints currently have a commanding 15 point lead at the top of the table and will be targetting their first domestic league and cup double since 2018/19, while Penybont sit in third place and have European football in their sights while also looking to avenge their JD Welsh Cup Final defeat.
The New Saints had a surprisingly difficult start to defending their trophy at Chirk AAA as the home side took the holders to penalties after the two sides had played out a 1-1 draw with Keston Davies scoring for the visitors. However, Adrian Cieslewicz, Adam Wilson, Jon Routledge and Ryan Brobbel were on target from the spot as they progressed with a 4-2 win. Brobbel and Danny Redmond were scored in a 2-1 win over Caernarfon Town in the next round, while Ben Clark and McManus both scored twice in a comprehensive 7-0 win over Newtown with further goals from Brobbel, Ryan Astles and a Callum Roberts own goal. JD Cymru South side Cwmbran Celtic provided the quarter-final opposition, but a hat-trick from Brobbel ended their hopes of a cup upset as The New Saints came out 3-1 winners.