Preview: 2024 Dragon Signs Amateur Trophy final – Newport City v Penrhyncoch

Two of the most in-form teams in tier three go head-to-head at Newtown’s Latham in the Dragon Signs Amateur Trophy final on Saturday (KO 12.30) as Newport City and Penrhyncoch look to win the competition for the very first time.

Penrhyncoch were runners-up back in 1995/96 when they were defeated in the final by Rhydymwyn, but they head into Saturday’s match full of confidence having not lost a match in the Lock Stock Ardal North East League since the end of September.

With a comprehensive lead over their closest title rivals, the side managed by former Aberystwyth Town favourite Gari Lewis will be desperate to etch their name on the trophy ahead of the final league run in.

Despite their excellent league form, Penrhyncoch required penalties to see off the challenge of Nantlle Vale in the opening round of the Dragon Signs Amateur Trophy following a 1-1 draw at Cae Baker back in October.

Goals from Courtney Perkins, veteran Daniel Evans and a penalty from Niall Coleridge then ended the trophy campaign for Connah’s Quay Town a month later, while Goodwick United were defeated by the same 3-1 scoreline before Christmas with Harri Horwood, Evans and Perkins on target.

Daniel Owen and a brace from the experienced Geoff Kellaway ended the hopes of Penrhiwceiber Rangers in the next round, although Kellaway was shown a straight red card shortly after his second goal. Owen added to his competition tally in the next round by scoring twice in the 4-1 win over Seven Sisters Onllwyn, with teenager Cameron Allen also contributing two goals.

The victory setup a semi-final against holders Trethomas Bluebirds at the LHP stadium, Carmarthen last month. A 2-1 win arrived courtesy of goals from Owen and substitute Isaac Pridmore, with a late consolation goal from Levi Rees for the Bluebirds failing to inspire a comeback in added time to ensure Penrhyncoch would progress to the final.

However, Newport City have also proved their worth this season, and Sam Houldsworth’s side have now won all of their thirteen games played this calendar year.

Currently pushing for promotion from the Floodlighting & Electrical Ardal South East League, Newport City began their Dragon Signs Amateur Trophy campaign with a convincing 6-1 win over Brecon Corries. Dean Clifford and Cole Jarvis both scored twice in the victory with Adam Kaplan and Frederick Stevens completing the scoring. Clifford then scored a hat-trick in the 5-2 win away to Garden Village with Jarvis and substitute Iwan Mooney also on target.

Stevens, Kaplan and Jarvis all added to their competition tally while Kofi Rowe added his name to the scoresheet in another comfortable 4-1 win at AFC Llwydcoed in December, and their form continued despite being drawn away to CPD Rhyl 1879 as goals from Calum Bateman and experienced former Cymru U21 international James Bloom sealed a 2-1 victory. Bateman had missed from the spot earlier in the match, but scored a dramatic winner after the home side had equalised in added time.

Newport City made light work of CPD Llannefydd at Spytty Park as goals from Louis Gerrard, Joseph Ogugua and a double from Owen Cuddihy proved enough to claim a 4-1 victory.

The side would then edge a seven-goal thriller against Cefn Cribwr in the semi-final in March. Cefn Cribwr took an early lead through Ioan Clatworthy before goals from Rhyse Hudson, Jarvis and Bateman had put Newport City 3-1 ahead, but Jack Teisar pulled one back just before half-time. 

Captain Martyn Mickiewicz restored the two-goal advantage after 89 minutes before Rowe was dismissed, but Cefn Cribwr were determined to keep themselves in the match and scored a third deep into added time through Jonathan Tiffin. Newport City would hold on to their 4-3 lead to maintain their perfect record in 2024, and with it book themselves a place in the final of the competition for the first time in their history. 

The 2024 Dragon Signs Amateur Trophy final takes place between Newport City and Penrhyncoch at Latham Park in Newtown on Saturday 20 April (KO 12:30). 

Tickets for the final will be cash only on the gate, costing £5 for adults and £2 for concessions. A ticket will also grant spectators access to the Welsh Blood Service League Cup national final at Latham Park later in the day. Both finals will be available to watch live for free on RedWall+.

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