Sport

JD Welsh Cup Final Preview

Park Hall, home of The New Saints

By George Willoughby

There have been many unforgettable moments in this years JD Welsh Cup, and the final two teams who will contest for the trophy have been confirmed . The highly success TNS, also referred to as The New Saints, will be facing off against defending champions Connah’s Quay Nomads.

The competition began with 135 Welsh clubs looking for cup glory and it has not disappointed. The New Saints, who have dominated the Welsh Premier League for several years now, secured their place in the final after edging past Barry Town in a very tightly contested encounter.

The experience of forward Greg Draper paid dividends as he found himself on the scoresheet once again netting in the second-half. Draper has been in scintillating form this season, shown by the fact he is the Welsh Premier Leagues top-goalscorer with an impressive tally of 20 goals to his name. Winger Jamie Mullins wrapped up the game late on with an injury time strike to complete a professional performance.

Their opponents, Connah’s Quay Nomads who prevailed over Cardiff Met with a convincing showing. The Nomads, who were Welsh Cup winners last season, will be looking to defend their crown but they face a stern challenge against the current league leaders.

They will need players to be at the best, especially striker Michael Bakare who is the team’s leading marksman. Bakare, who has spent the majority of his playing career in the lower levels of English football, joined Connah’s Quay back in 2017. The 32-year old scored in last season’s cup final triumph over Aberystwyth Town.

The two teams faced off against each other in the quarter-finals of last year’s competition, with the Nomads coming out 2-1 winners at the Deeside Stadium. Taking into the head-to-head record so far this season in the league, this cup final could go either way.

The Nomads inflicted The New Saints’ first defeat of the season with a 1-0 victory in August, but since then, it’s the Saints who have had the edge over their Welsh Premier League counterparts. Consecutive wins for The New Saints over the Nomads saw the side from Oswestry return to the top of the league after a frustrating early few months of the season.

The cup final will be taking place on 5th May, and the run-in to the encounter is very interesting given that as it stands in the league, the Nomads are only a point off the Saints who currently occupy top spot. If the league table remains as close as it is, then the final match between the sides in April could be very significant.

There could be a potential situation in which three points for either side could secure the league title, and then just a week later cap off league delight with a cup victory.

Once again the JD Welsh Cup did not fail to disappoint, and without a doubt, the final will be an excellent spectacle.

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