Reaction: Connah’s Quay Nomads deliver ‘magnificent’ performance to lift JD Welsh Cup

It was Connah’s Quay Nomads who left Rodney Parade victorious on Sunday, as they defeated The New Saints 2-1 to lift the JD Welsh Cup.

The Nomads made a lightning start to the game, pushing high up the field and not giving the Saints a moment’s rest. Manager Neil Gibson explained that, after losing the previous week in the final league game of the season against the same opposition, that a fast start was exactly what they wanted to do.

“We felt last week that we had a number of chances in the first half against them. We wanted to follow that up and do the same this weekend but try and take those chances and get ourselves ahead.

“It’s so key to get in front against TNS, because if they go in front, you know you need two goals, and it’s hard to score two goals against them; they’ll always score. The first goal was really important, and to a man, we were magnificent today, and it’s a lot of credit to all the players and staff.”

Match report

Nomads spring surprise to lift JD Welsh Cup

Harry Franklin swept Connah’s Quay in front, only for Ash Baker to pull TNS level minutes later. But the game was brought to life before the break, as Josh Williams channelled his inner Paolo Di Canio and scissor kicked the Nomads back in front, a goal that Williams himself was surprised by.

“I’ve not really hit the ball like that ever before! I just saw it bouncing and thought, I’m going to give it a go, and I couldn’t believe how flexible I am! But I was buzzing when I saw it hit the top corner. It was definitely something that happened in the moment, I can’t even factor it out or anything. Was just the natural thing to happen.”

Despite not seeing much of the ball in the second half, the Nomads looked comfortable and composed throughout the second half. Even in stoppage time when the rest of Rodney Parade were nervous, the team in red looked like the calmest people in Newport, something Mike Wilde praised the team for.

“We were very disciplined defensively in the second half. From that, we were able to play out balls and threaten them a little bit as well on the counter. All in all, the gameplan we had today worked to perfection.”

When the final whistle blew, there was jubilation in the stands and on the pitch from those of a Connah’s Quay perspective. Not only had they won the trophy for the first time since 2017, but they stopped TNS from winning the treble, an achievement Williams was overjoyed at.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling. We know how good TNS are and what a run they’ve been on. It’s amazing to do what we’ve done. To get a win over them, it was needed for us with the results with had against them over the season. It’s great.”

But it was also a day of lasts for the Nomads. Jordan Davies said goodbye to the team before making the move to Greenock Morton in the summer, while Wilde played his final game for the club. The veteran forward has certainly left his mark on the club, and his manager was full of praise for everything the striker had done for the team.

“I said it to him after the game, I can’t think of a better way for him to go out. He tends to write his own scripts, and fair play to him, because he is one of the best centre forwards that this league has ever produced.

“For him to understand the difference in his role this season, which was to help some of the younger players, and to have a part to play in some games off the bench, and for him to have 20 minutes on the pitch today and lift the trophy; he got everything he deserved and more.” 

It’s fitting the final word goes to Wilde, who summarised exactly what it meant to win the trophy once again in his illustrious career.

“It’s a brilliant feeling. I’ve won this trophy a few times before, but this bunch of lads thoroughly deserve everything that they get and all the celebrations that go with it over the next week.

“We’ve worked hard all season, it doesn’t look it from a league point of view, but to get close to TNS is very difficult, but in a one-off game in a final over 90 minutes, we knew that we could do it, and the lads have shown it, and it was thoroughly deserved. Only one team looked like winning it today.” 

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.