Saturday, 20 January – Jenner Park, Barry 

The New Saints v Swansea City under 21’s | Saturday – 17:30 (S4C) 

On Saturday night the most successful club in the Welsh League Cup, The New Saints, will face the Swansea youth team, who will be hoping to lift the trophy for the first time in their history. 

The New Saints have won the League Cup (or Nathaniel MG Cup) on nine occasions, including a run of 19 consecutive wins in the competition between 2014 and 2018, but the Oswestry oufit have not lifted the trophy since the 2017/18 season. 

Before the start of this season the Saints had not won a game in the competition since October 2018, losing four matches in a row (vs Cambrian and Clydach, Bangor City, Penrhyncoch and Connah’s Quay). 

Since their last success in 2018, Cardiff Met (18/19), Connah’s Quay (19/20 and 21/22), and Bala Town (22/23) have all had their hands on the Nathaniel MG Cup (no competition in 20/21 due to Covid). 

But now, the Saints are back to their old habits after beating Connah’s Quay, Porthmadog, Gresford Athletic and Guilsfield to reach this year’s final. 

The New Saints have gone on a run of 32 games without defeat in all competitions for the first time since 2017, and have won 24 consecutive matches, breaking 15 points clear of Connah’s Quay at the top of the league. 

As well as securing their place in the final of the Nathaniel MG Cup, the Saints have also progressed to the fourth round of the JD Welsh Cup and to the semi-finals of the Scottish Challenge Cup. 

This is the Saints’ best run since August 2016 to February 2017 (31 games without defeat), and during that time they broke the world record with 27 consecutive wins. 

Craig Harrison’s side will be determined to break that record again, and to beat their previous run of 39 competitive games without a loss between August 2014 and April 2015. 

For the first time this year, the under 21 sides from Swansea City and Cardiff City were invited to compete in the Nathaniel MG Cup, and the Swans have shone in the competition, reaching the final at the first attempt.  

The young Swans have beaten Carmarthen Town, Caerau Ely, Cardiff u21’s, Briton Ferry Llansawel and Cardiff Met to reach the final, winning dramatically on penalties against both Cardiff u21’s and Cardiff Met. 

Swansea City under 21’s compete in England’s Professional Development League, which is the second tier for youth teams, and the Swans are enjoying a successful season, currently sitting in second place in the southern table behind Bournemouth u21’s. 

It will be a contrasting test for both clubs as The New Saints face another full-time team for the first time since beating Hibernian’s youth team in August, and Swansea City under 21’s will be up against a much older and more experienced eleven than usual. 

The New Saints did host Swansea City’s first team at Oswestry back in the semi-final of the ‘FAW Premier Cup’ in 2004/05, and after a 1-1 draw the Swans eventually won on penalties with Steve Evans and Michael Wilde failing to beat goalkeeper Brian Murphy from 12 yards. 

Nearly 20 years on, and it will be a different story against the young Swans who will try to cause an upset to prevent the Saints from getting hold of the cup for the 10th time in their history. 

All the action will be live on S4C at 5:15 in the company of Dylan Ebenezer, Sioned Dafydd, Owain Tudur Jones, Nic Parry and Emlyn Lewis. 


Rhys Llwyd

Author Rhys Llwyd

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