Fairytale semi-final victory over New Saints is best footballing night says manager Williams
Cambrian & Clydach manager Dane Williams says his sides shock semi-final victory is the greatest footballing moment in his life.
Andre Griffiths netted the winning goal in extra-time to provide the Cambrian boss with a fourth Welsh Premier League scalp this season. This is despite being just six months into the managerial role after succeeding Craig Hughes.
Having seen his playing career cut short due to an injury, he was never able to play on Cambrian’s artificial surface. He did, however, have success as a player with Cambrian, winning the Division One title in 2013.
The former Merthyr player said this historic night which has seen his youthful side stun the Welsh Premier League giants has offered him redemption.
“It makes up for it, I’ve always missed football playing football, said an emotional Williams.
“I’ve always said that nothing will ever replace playing but this has. This is the best football night of my life.”
It’s the first time since 1995 that The New Saints have exited the competition to a side in a lower division than them. That was as Llansantffraid to the Cefn Druids in the JD Welsh Cup.
It was a statistic that stood out in the mind of the Cambrian manager, highlighting the significance of the victory.
Cambrian who had an average of 23 in this evenings fixture having fielded a number of youth academy products, meaning club committee members like John and Phil Williams would have been around to remember that upset.
Williams said: “When you think about it probably, 80% of the team weren’t even born. Incredible, what a night. The club Phil, John, everyone here tonight deserves this. I couldn’t be more proud.
It’s certainly the finest in Cambrian’s night and certainly the finest I’ve seen in Rhondda football.”
In a cup run which has seen them beat Aberystwyth Town, Barry Town United, Newtown and now The New Saints, Williams has revealed that belief in their style has created these results.
The club have given youth a chance and have been able to implement their philosophy through all age groups, which has helped the transition when the club have appointed a new manager.
“All through the competition, we’ve been true to ourselves. We’ve believed in our ability and we’ve set up our shape, we’ve always worked ourselves.
“Credit to the players, we’ve put a plan in place. Ultimately those seventeen players have put it into place and put in an absolute shift tonight.”
It was the substitutes Andre Griffiths and Mark Crutch who came off the bench for Cambrian to score their all-important goals.
Having contained The New Saints for ninety minutes before netting twice in extra-time, the Cambrian boss put praise onto his strength in depth in his squad as the two impact subs made a significant impact.
“We’re quite fortunate. It’s the first time I’ve been involved as both a player and a manager where you’re looking at the players on the bench thinking every one of those should be playing.”
Cambrian have now gone one step further than their Nathaniel MG Cup run in the 2013/2014, to reach their first ever major final.
(Featured Image: Will Cheshire)