Preview: JD Welsh Cup reaches semi-final stage as competition hots up
This week sees the semi-finals of the JD Welsh Cup take centre stage, as Connah’s Quay Nomads face Bangor City and Newtown take on Aberystwyth Town with a place in this year’s final at stake.
The Nomads and the Citizens, who are currently joint-second on 54 points in the JD Welsh Premier League, will contend the first semi-final on Saturday 7th April at the Corbett Sports Stadium, home of Rhyl FC. Kick-off is at 19:35.
Newtown and Aberystwyth, who are both in the bottom half of the league, play a day later at 12:00 at Bala Town’s Maes Tegid.
Bangor produced a professional display to avoid an upset against South Wales Alliance Premier Division side Penydarren BGC in the quarter-finals, winning 7-0 in Nantporth. Andy Morrison’s men ended TNS’ hopes of a seventh Welsh Cup title with a 2-1 win over the recently crowned Welsh Premier League champions.
Connah’s Quay and Bangor have met four times so far this season, with the Citizens coming out on top three times. The Nomads’ only success came in the fourth round of the Nathaniel MG Cup in October.
Kevin Nicholson’s side reached the quarter-finals of the Welsh Cup last season, where they were knocked out by The New Saints after extra time. The Nomads went a step further, but ultimately fell to the same opponent, losing 0-3 to TNS who would go on to lose to Bala in the final.
Aber saw off Premier League strugglers Carmarthen Town 3-1 at Richmond Park in the quarter-finals, whilst Newtown won at Llandudno for the second time this season to set up a last four meeting with the mid-Wales side.
Newtown have reached the semi-final stage for the first time since the 2014/15 season, where they beat Airbus UK 4-2, eventually losing 0-2 to TNS at the final hurdle.
The last time that Aberystwyth were in the final four of the Welsh Cup was in the 2013/14 campaign. They defeated Holywell Town 3-1, but fell victim to TNS in the final, narrowly losing 2-3 at the Racecourse in Wrexham.
The Green and Whites, who recently announced Seamus Heath as their new first team manager, have won two of their three encounters against the Robins this season.
All four teams have players in the top 10 of this season’s JD Welsh Premier League top scorers chart. Aberystwyth’s Declan Walker has been in fine form of late, notching up 10 goals in the league. Michael Wilde of Connah’s Quay Nomads has had a solid season, finding the net 10 times so far. One goal behind is Bangor’s Dean Rittenberg, whilst Newtown’s Jamie Reed and Luke Boundford have both netted seven times this term.
(Featured image: Jordan Jones)