Lower league sides ready for Welsh Cup run
Saturday afternoon will see a range of lower-league sides bid for a successful cup run in the JD Welsh Cup first qualifying round.
The competition is one of the oldest-cups in football, having originated in 1887-88. Since its inception it has grown to become the most prestigious cup competition and alike its equivalent English FA Cup, notorious for upsets and giant-killings.
Last year’s JD Welsh Cup saw Bala stop The New Saints winning their fourth consecutive Welsh Cup with a dramatic late victory by two goals to one.
While none of the teams in the first qualifying rounds will be the bookies’ favourite to win the famous trophy, they will hope to go on a good cup which can bring greater public exposure and financial reward.
In North Wales a number of newly-formed sides have the chance to make their mark, with Flintshire’s Penyfford Lions taking on Cefn Albion and Brymbo Victoria, who until this season played at a Sunday league level, taking on Acton FC.
Down South there is one game making all the headlines as Welsh Football League Division Three’s Tredegar Town face extremely close-neighbours FC Tredegar in the side’s first ever meeting since FC Tredegar’s inception as a Sunday League side now plying their trade in Division Two of the Gwent County League.
The game splits the Blaenau Gwent town in half, and is the ultimate derby as both clubs are based at the same ground, with many of each sides players having played previously played for opposition as well as knowing each other on a personal level.
Speaking to Y Clwb Pel Droed, FC Tredegar manager Gareth Donovan said:
“I think in a local derby like this it certainly suits us! All the pressure will be on Town as the Welsh league club to come out on top.
“I think off the pitch it will be a friendly one but once the lads cross that line all friendships will be put aside and I imagine it will be a full blooded affair!”
Donovan, who was appointed as the club’s new manager in June, has been tasked with helping the club come out of a difficult patch and take the side further up the Gwent County League.
“The club struggled last year and lost its way a little, my role is to pull the side up the league and see the club developing and I’m looking forward to this challenge! I’m hoping for a solid league position this year and to establish a settled side and make the approach to match days and training much better!”
Although the game will be a feisty derby affair, Donovan recognises the importance of both team’s in Tredegar hopes the game will not only result in a win for FC but an even closer relationship with Town.
“The town needs the clubs prospering and maybe who knows in the future working together to give the youngsters a purpose, to see improving the footballing facilities in the town and to put this little valley town on the Welsh football map a bit like Barry Town have done! In the short term all I want is a spot in the round 2 draw!”