Cambrian & Clydach Vale 2-1 The New Saints (AET): History made as Cambrian stun Premier League giants New Saints with extra-time winner
Cambrian & Clydach Vale have knocked out cup holders The New Saints to reach an unlikely Nathaniel MG Cup final.
A late goal from substitute Andre Griffiths in extra time gave the Rhondda side a shock victory over a side which has had a firm grip on the competition. His late goal cancelled out Greg Draper’s leveller after Mark Crutch gave Cambrian the lead.
It is the fourth Welsh Premier League scalp that Cambrian have had in the competition, having beaten Aberystwyth Town, Barry Town United and Newtown
After a goalless ninety minutes where both sides played to an evenly played contest, the goal action all came in additional time.
In the opening minute, The New Saints had a slight claim for a penalty as Dean Ebbe looked to have been tripped but the referee waved away the protests.
Greg Draper who scored a penalty against Barry on Saturday almost opened the scoring when his header was acrobatically tipped behind by Cambrian keeper Daniel Bradley. Joash Nembhard who was also on the scoresheet should have netted again but he missed with a free-header from a Marriott corner.
Ryan Brobbel was a huge influence in New Saints’ attack and he had two opportunities to test Bradley. Firstly he curled an effort towards the corner of the goal, before hitting an effort straight at the Cam keeper
After withstanding New Saints pressure, Cambrian had a flurry of testing opportunities.
Corey Shephard played in Liam Reed and the Cambrian front-man forced Roberts into a reactive save. From the resulting corner taken by Cameron Keetch, Kyle Jones’ header grazed the crossbar and went out.
Youthful forward Liam Reed was hungry for a goal and it was Shephard who played him in as they tested The New Saints again. A low cross from Shephard saw Reed flick his effort towards Roberts goal but he saved well.
In the second half, Brobbel tested Bradley as he strayed away from the Cambrian defence.
Keetch was eager to make an impact for the home side and his cross was almost flicked in by Strinati. Nembhard had a similar chance from earlier on in the game, as he missed a glancing header.
Cambrian almost took the lead in fortuitous fashion. A goalmouth scramble after Connor Roberts failed to collect, saw Chris Marriott clear Carn Thomas’ off the line.
Cameron Keetch then went close as his free-kick forced Roberts to dive down low.
Influential frontman Greg Draper almost netted a late goal for the visitors but Bradley ensured his side remained in it by palming it away.
Approaching stoppage time, Tom Holland almost blasted an effort into his own goal as a miscommunication with Roberts forced him to put it behind.
It was a goalmouth scramble at the other end, as Kane Lewis crossed it in for Redmond but Cambrian held firm to take the game into extra time.
In the early stages of extra time, Bradley continued his goalkeeping heroics by saving a close-range effort from Draper.
That save proved to be vital as Cambrian took a shock lead. Mark Crutch prodded home from Sam Jones corner, beating Connor Roberts to give the game its opening goal.
Just before the referee blew for half-time in extra time, Chris Seargeant’s half-volley was just wide of the target.
The New Saints were level though in the early stages of the second half of extra time. They were awarded a penalty and Draper rifled home his penalty to level the tie.
Draper almost doubled his tally after good work from Lewis but Bradley saved again.
The match-winning goal came seven minutes from time. Sam Jones smashed an effort at Roberts goal which stung the hands of him and there was Andre Griffiths to knee it home.
That was the last real action of the game as Cambrian held out for the victory, recording a memorable victory.
(Featured Image: Will Cheshire)