It’s the JD Welsh Cup semi-final weekend and Bala Town, Connah’s Quay, Pen-y-bont and The New Saints will battle for a place in the biggest fixture of the Welsh football calendar. 


This is the first time that four ‘Top Six’ sides have made it into the semi-final which should make for two competitive and intriguing contests. 

Friday, 3 March 

Bala Town v Connah’s Quay | Friday – 19:45 (S4C online) Essity Arena, Flint 


For the fifth time this season Bala Town will go head-to-head with Connah’s Quay, and with the last three meetings ending in draws after 90 minutes, it promises to be a real tight encounter. 


It ended 1-1 in the league fixture at the Deeside Stadium a fortnight ago, despite Harry Franlkin’s first-half dismissal for the Nomads. 


But it was Bala Town who were victorious in the Nathaniel MG Cup final back in late January, as the Lakesiders triumphed in the penalty shoot-out following the 90-minute stalemate. 


And there was another goalless draw between the two sides earlier in January, which proves that it’s near impossible to call which way this one will go on Friday night. 


There have already been five red cards shown in the four matches between these clubs this season, and the tie could come down to which team can control their discipline the best. 


Despite clashing on several occasions in recent years, this will be the first time these teams have met in the Welsh Cup since the 2014/15 fourth round, which incidentally also finished in a draw before Connah’s Quay went on to win on penalties. 


On 30 April 2017, Bala Town clinched their most momentous victory as their 2-1 Welsh Cup final coup against The New Saints allowed them to get their hands on the trophy for the first time in the club’s history. 


And a year later, Connah’s Quay repeated that feat in the 2018 final as they saw off Aberystwyth Town to get their first and only experience of lifting the trophy, 


Bala Town have beaten Hawarden Rangers, Flint Town United, Pontypridd United, and Briton Ferry Llansawel in the Welsh Cup this season, and having already bagged the Nathaniel MG Cup, the Lakesiders are setting their sights on a cup-double. 


Connah’s Quay have knocked out Denbigh Town, Colwyn Bay, Llanelli Town and Airbus UK to reach the semi-final stage for the fifth time in six attempts. 


Saturday, 4 March 


Pen-y-bont v The New Saints | Saturday – 12:45 (S4C) Richmond Park, Carmarthen 


Pen-y-bont will need to beat The New Saints for the first time ever if they are to reach the JD Welsh Cup final for the second successive season. 


The clubs have met on 15 occasions, and although the matches tend to be very tightly contested, the Saints have never lost against Rhys Griffiths’ gang (won 11, drawn four). 


The teams went head-to-head in last year’s final with The New Saints lifting the cup for the eighth time in their history following the 3-2 victory at the Cardiff City Stadium. 


They have also met three times this season with the last two games ending in draws, after the Saints narrowly won 1-0 with a 91st minute goal back in August. 


The New Saints have played Pen-y-bont eight times since the start of the 2021/22 campaign (won four, drawn four), and all four victories were by a one-goal margin. 


Rhys Griffiths’ squadron have won nine of their last 10 Welsh Cup fixtures with the only defeat coming in last season’s final against The New Saints (Pen 2-3 TNS). 

Pen-y-bont are the only team left in the competition that are yet to get their names imprinted on the Welsh Cup, but the players are determined to make history and to qualify for Europe for the first time ever. 


The news broke last week that Pen-y-bont had been charged by the FAW for using ineligible substitutes on two occasions, and the club now face a potential six-point deduction. 


If that were to be the case, Pen-y-bont would drop from 3rd to 5th position in the league, which possibly puts a bit more pressure on the side to succeed in the cup to secure an European spot. 

Pen-y-bont have fought off four lower tier teams to progress into the semi-final (Risca United, Conwy Borough, Gresford Athletic and Holywell Town), while the Saints have seen off Chirk AAA, Caernarfon Town, Newtown and Cwmbrân Celtic to reach this stage of the competition. 


All the weekend’s action will be on Sgorio on Monday night at 10:00 on S4C.

Rhys Llwyd

Author Rhys Llwyd

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