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The first trophy of the season will be lifted this Saturday at the Rock in Cefn Mawr, but will it be Bala Town or Connah’s Quay who get their hands on the Nathaniel MG Cup. 

 

Saturday, 28 January 

Bala Town v Connah’s Quay | Saturday – 12:45 (S4C) 

 

It will be an enticing encounter at The Rock on Saturday as two of the league’s strongest teams go head-to-head for the first silverware of the season. 

 

Neil Gibson’s reign as Connah’s Quay manager started perfectly on 6 August 2021 with a penalty shoot-out victory over The New Saints in the Nathaniel MG Cup second round. 

 

The Nomads then went on to knock out Holywell Town, Ruthin Town and Taffs Well, and the Deeside alliance are currently enjoying a phenomenal run of 21 games without defeat in all competitions (won 16, drawn five). 

 

Connah’s Quay are the Nathaniel MG Cup holders following an epic penalty shoot-out victory over Cardiff Met last February.  

 

It ended goalless between Connah’s Quay and Cardiff Met in last season’s final, and after a whopping 24 penalties the Nomads finally came out triumphant to lift the trophy. 

 

The Nomads were also the winners in 2019/20, beating STM Sports 3-0 in the final, and since the competition was cancelled for the 2020/21 season due to Covid-19, Connah’s Quay are therefore aiming to win the cup for the third consecutive time. 

 

Bala Town on the other hand have never won the competition having lost on their previous two appearances in the final, against Carmarthen Town (2013/14) and The New Saints (2014/15). 

 

Since 2017, Connah’s Quay are the only team to beat Bala Town in the Nathaniel MG Cup as the Nomads knocked the Lakesiders out in the 2018/19 quarter finals before beating Colin Caton’s crew in the semi-finals in 2019/20 and 2021/22 (no competition in 2020/21 due to Covid-19). 

 

Bala Town have defeated Chirk AAA, Caernarfon Town, Gresford Athletic and Cardiff Met to reach the final this year, and it will be the club’s first chance to win some silverware since their famous JD Welsh Cup final victory over The New Saints back in May 2017. 

 

Connah’s Quay are unbeaten in their last four meetings with Bala Town, conceding only once over those four games (won three, drawn one), and Gibson’s gang, who are 2nd in the league will therefore feel fearless ahead of kick-off. 

 

The Nomads haven’t conceded a goal in over a month, keeping five successive clean sheets, but Bala Town won’t be short of confidence either as they have won seven of their last nine outings. 

 

Whichever way it goes, it will surely be a memorable day for everyone involved, and all the action will be live on S4C at 12.15 in the company of Dylan Ebenezer, Sioned Dafydd, Nic Parry, Owain Tudur Jones and Malcolm Allen. 

 

English language commentary will also be available via the red button with Mark Jones and Tomi Morgan. 

Rhys Llwyd

Author Rhys Llwyd

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