The 134th JD Welsh Cup final will take place at Nantporth Stadium, Bangor on Sunday, 30 April as holders The New Saints aim to retain the trophy against Bala Town live on S4C Sgorio (4.45pm). Ahead of the domestic showpiece, here’s a look at five key connections between the host city and the competition.
Nev Powell’s incredible win record
As the manager of Bangor City, Nev Powell reached four consecutive JD Welsh Cup finals between 2008 and 2011, lifting the trophy on the first three occasions and not losing a single match in the competition between his appointment in May 2007 and the 2011 final against Llanelli having already claimed the league title that season. Over the course of those four JD Welsh Cup campaigns, Bangor City won 22 consecutive games, defeating Llanelli, Aberystwyth Town and Port Talbot Town in the 2008, 2009 and 2010 finals respectively.
Powell represented Bangor City with distinction both domestically and in Europe during his own playing career, and repeated his achievements by as manager with his golden touch in competing for this coveted piece of silverware. However, the closest he came to lifting the JD Welsh Cup as a player was in 1985, but Shrewsbury Town claimed a 5-1 aggregate win over Bangor City in the two-legged final. In March 2013, Powell was awarded a deserved place in the JD Cymru Premier Hall of Fame in recognition of his career in the domestic game.
Bangor pushing the big three
While Wrexham are the most-successful club in the history of the JD Welsh Cup ahead of Cardiff City and Swansea City, Bangor City sit fourth in the all-time table of achievement having won eight of the 18 finals that they have competed in since they first lifted the trophy back in 1889 with a 2-1 win over Northwich Victoria at the Racecourse in Wrexham. Swansea City have also reached eighteen finals, but sit above Bangor City having won 10 of those ties.
Third final to be played at Nantporth Stadium
Opened in January 2012, the 1,100 seater Nantporth Stadium with an overall capacity of 3,000 has hosted the JD Welsh Cup final on two previous occasions. Six previous JD Welsh Cup finals had taken place at Farrar Road between 1928 and 1985, but the trophy was first competed for at Nantporth at the end of the 2011/12 season as The New Saints claimed a 2-0 win over Cefn Druids through goals from Greg Draper and Alex Darlington to complete the domestic double.
The JD Welsh Cup final returned to Nantporth in 2016/17 and it produced one of the biggest shocks in recent history as Bala Town came from behind to defeat The New Saints 2-1 and with it prevent them from completing an unprecedented treble-treble. Draper had put the Saints ahead early in the second half, but late goals from Jordan Evans and Kieran Smith delivered the trophy for Colin Caton’s side. With the two teams meeting once again and at the same venue six years later, memories of that incredible day will no doubt headline the build-up for what should be another close and competitive tie.
Two of Bangor City’s most memorable European campaigns took place in the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup as a result of their JD Welsh Cup achievements. The first arrived as a result of the 1961/62 campaign when it took three games to separate Wrexham and Bangor City in the final, with the Citizens eventually winning the play-off match 3-1 at Belle Vue, Rhyl.
Their success delivered silverware and a place in the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup the following season where they would meet Italian giants Napoli. At a packed Farrar Road, the side from Naples were humbled 2-0 but reversed the score in the return game to defeat Bangor City 3-1. With no away goals rule in place to award Bangor City the tie, a third match would take place in London at Highbury, the home of Arsenal, where Napoli progressed with a 2-1 win.
Although Bangor City would lose the 1984/85 JD Welsh Cup Final to Shrewsbury Town, the victors were ineligible to compete in Europe the following season which offered Bangor City a return to the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup. After defeating Norwegian side Fredrikstad FK on away goals, the mighty Atletico Madrid would provide their opponents in the next round. The heroics of 1962 would not be repeated as the side from the Spanish capital scored twice in the opening half at Farrar Road to claim a 2-0 win, and completed the scoreline in Madrid with a 1-0 victory.
When the Citizens almost shocked the Bluebirds
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Bangor City claiming a famous 1-0 win over Cardiff City in the JD Welsh Cup final as a crowd of just over 5,000 fans at Farrar Road witnessed Tony Marsden score what would prove to be the decisive goal on the day.
However, the 1972/73 final was played during a time when the competition was decided over two legs, and Bangor City would need to repeat the feat at Ninian Park a week later. Sadly for the Citizens, a hat-trick from Gil Reece and goals from Leighton Phillips and Gary Bell earned Cardiff City a convincing 5-0 win on the day to claim the trophy.
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