JD Welsh Cup rewind: Barry Town’s ‘Dad’s Army’ stun Cardiff City in 1994 final

It was 30 years ago that Barry Town marked their return to the Welsh domestic game by claiming a unique and unprecedented quadruple as a shock victory over Cardiff City in the Welsh Cup final headlined a campaign that would spark a run of domestic domination over the course of the next decade.

Competing in the Welsh League Division One (the second tier) having opted to return to Wales after a spell in exile, Barry Town boasted a squad steeped in Football League experience under player-manager Andy Beattie.

Having comfortably claimed the league title, Welsh League Cup and FAW Trophy, they would reach the final of the Welsh Cup for only the second time in their history with a semi-final win over Bangor City.

Eddie May’s Cardiff City side had gained promotion to the Second Division (third tier) of the English Football League the season before, and disposed of arch-rivals Swansea City 6-2 on aggregate to book their place in the final. The National Stadium in Cardiff would welcome 14,500 fans for the domestic showpiece on a bright and sunny 15 May 1994, and it would not disappoint.

Wearing their traditional yellow shirts, Barry took the lead when Cardiff goalkeeper Steve Williams could only parry an effort from Keith Bertschin into the path of David D’Auria who made no mistake from close range.

Phil Stant equalised for Cardiff in similar fashion in the second half, but Barry would upset the odds as a corner from D’Auria was flicked on by Beattie for David Hough to seal the 2-1 victory on the hour mark. Hough had been sent off in the semi-final, and previously won the Welsh Cup with Swansea City in 1991.

Former Cymru internationals Terry Boyle and Alan Curtis both started for Barry Town, and both had experienced Welsh Cup success with Cardiff City in 1988.

In fact, Curtis had also won the competition with Swansea City in the early 1980s, and this latest success with Barry Town, shortly after his 40th birthday, meant that he had lifted the trophy with three different clubs. He was replaced in the second half by midfielder Bobby Smith, and his appearance would make a fitting farewell after 20 years of service and over 500 competitive games for the club.

The final whistle sparked huge celebrations as Barry Town claimed the trophy for the first time since 1955.

“We had a few ideas and they worked out alright,” Beattie told to BBC Wales after the match. “The players were great, everyone was great, and I’m really pleased for them all. It’s a great day.”

Labelled as ‘Dad’s Army’ in the build-up to the final due to the collective age of the squad, victory would also award the club their first European tie as they qualified for the UEFA European Cup Winners’ Cup the following season.

“We thought we had a good chance,” added goalscorer D’Auria during the post-match celebrations. “We’ve got some great players who are very, very experienced. We were chasing the game in the first half, but once we got the goal and when we went in at half-time we knew we had a very good chance of winning it. We knew they couldn’t break us down. This is the best day, I’ve played in Europe for Swansea in front of 53,000, but this is the best day ever. It will be a big night tonight in Barry!”

However, the match would also mark the end of Beattie’s tenure at the club and Boyle would become player-manager that summer as they prepared for their inaugural European campaign and first season in the domestic top-flight.

A 7-0 aggregate defeat to Lithuanian side Zalgiris Vilnius abruptly ended any European dreams, and in a surprise twist, former Cardiff City manager Eddie May would find himself in the Barry Town dugout later that season following the departure of Boyle. The side would finish in seventh place, but success for the Jenner Park club was not far away.

For the next decade Barry Town would become the dominant force in the Welsh domestic game. The club would claim the league title seven times between 1995/96 and 2002/03 in addition to claiming both the Welsh Cup and League Cup four times as well as the FAW Premier Cup in 1998/99.

Famous European nights against the likes of Porto, Aberdeen and Dynamo Kiev complemented their domestic success, before a well-documented collapse brought this incredible chapter to a close.

But while Barry Town’s achievements in the top-flight are remembered and revered in the annuls of the league’s history, it was their unique quadruple of 1993/94 that is extremely unlikely to ever be repeated due to the range of trophies their tier two status enabled them to challenge for. Their experience proved too much for Cardiff City on that memorable day in the capital, and that team continues to hold a special place in the Barry Town story. 

Welsh Cup Final 1993/94 – Barry Town 2-1 Cardiff City

Barry Town line-up: Steve Morris (GK), David Hough, David D’Auria, Ashley Griffiths, Terry Boyle, Phil Williams, Alan Curtis (Bobby Smith), Paul Wimbleton, Andy Beattie, Chris Lilygreen, Keith Bertschin (Paul Sanderson). Goalscorers: David D’Auria, David Hough.

Learn more from FA Wales

Sign up to receive all things FAW, from team news, tickets, domestic, grassroots, to exclusive offers and prize draws.

We respect your privacy and are committed to protecting your personal data – view our privacy policy by clicking here.