ABERYSTWYTH Town’s long wait for Welsh Cup glory continues after clinical Connah’s Quay Nomads registered a comprehensive 4-1 victory in front of a bumper crowd at Latham Park, writes Adam Hughes.
The Cambrian News reported “Nomads shone in the glorious conditions, with Michael Bakare setting them on their way, before two goals by Michael Wilde put them firmly in the driving seat before the interval.
Urged on by vociferous support in a crowd of 1,455, the Seasiders did snatch a lifeline in first half injury time, when Ryan Wade brilliantly headed into the top corner of the net.
Aber stepped up in the second half, but when Malcolm Melvin’s superb 20 yard strike came down off the crossbar and bounced over the goalline, the goal was crucially not given.
Nomads kept their cool in scorching conditions and closed Aber down, and in the closing minutes they sealed a deserved win as substitute Andy Owen powered home.
Early chances had seen Melvin fail to connect with Declan Walker’s dangerous cross, and John Owen flicked his header from Ashley Young’s throw-in into the side-netting.
Nomads, however, began to capitalise on space down their left wing as Bakare sent an angled shot wide, and then launched a free kick into the penalty box, which skipper George Horan headed over the bar.
It was Bakare – who has scored in every round – who made the breakthrough on 22 minutes when Aber’s back line failed to deal with keeper John Danby’s kick, and Bakare bypassed Chris Mullock to slot home.
The Seasiders were in double trouble three minutes later as livewire journeyman Bakare got the better of both Wade and Walker to win a corner, and Wilde rose to head in Declan Poole’s flag kick and make it 2-0.
Aber’s Joe Phillips, who had scored a hat-trick against Nomads in January, made a positive run into the box and fired into the side-netting, but the Nomads were in ascendancy.
The pace and power of Bakare and Ryan Wignall stretched the Aber defence, and Wilde forced a save with his overhead kick, and he also then had a header ruled out for offside.
Then, on 40 minutes, Poole broke through the middle of the park and played in the experienced Wilde, who ran through and expertly slotted through Mullock’s legs for 3-0.
There seemed to be no way back for Aber in the blistering heat, but then in the second minute of first half injury time the Seasiders gave themselves a glimmer of hope.
Melvin’s strike was cleared off the line, and from the resulting corner Young crossed in for Ryan Wade to loop an excellent header into the top corner of the net from 16 yards out.
A reinvigorated Aber began the second half brightly and Tom Owens headed into the hands of Danby, and Matthew Jones’ strike into the box was also charged down by Horan.
Big striker Craig Hobson came on for Owens as Aber searched for another goal, and it should have been 3-2 when Melvin’s fine strike came down off the bar on 64 minutes.
The television cameras confirmed that the ball had indeed crossed the line and bounced back into play, but referee Iwan Griffiths and his assistant chose not to award the goal.
Down the other end, Wignall put Bakare in on goal, and his strike was cleared off the goal line by defender Young as Connah’s Quay looked a real danger on the counter attack.
Wignall broke through and forced a terrific low diving save from Mullock, and Horan also headed over the bar from Poole’s corner, with Aber increasing exposed at the back.
Aber introduced impact players Kurt Sherlock and Geoff Kellaway – for his third Welsh Cup final appearance for the Seasiders – but despite plenty of possession, there was no way through Nomads’ defence.
With Horan dominating at the back, Nomads defended three successive corners as precious minutes ticked away, with John Owen heading over, and Sherlock firing wide.
Then, as the match entered stoppage time, Aber were dealt a sucker punch as Sean Smith played the ball in to sub Andy Owens, and he turned well to power the ball beyond Mullock for the killer fourth goal.
Neville Powell’s side, and their lively supporters, had rallied to the very end, but the long wait to lift the Welsh Cup for the first time since 1900 continues for Aberystwyth.
ABERYSTWYTH TOWN: C Mullock, D Walker, R Wollacott, T Owens (C Hobson 57 minutes), M Melvin, J Owen, R Wade (K Sherlock 70’), M Jones, A Young, D Allen, J Phillips (G Kellaway 78’). Substitutes, not used: S Kersh, J Rimmer.
CONNAH’S QUAY NOMADS: J Danby, M Pearson, K Edwards, G Horan, D Harrison, R Wignall (N Woolfe 78’), M Wilde (A Owens 73’), D Poole (R Hughes 90’+1), S Smith, J Owen, M Bakare. Subs, not used: J Spittle, J Rushton (gk).
Referee: I Griffith Attendance: 1,455″ here.