ABERYSTWYTH Town will be targeting only their fourth-ever Welsh Cup Final appearance when they take on mid Wales rivals Newtown in a high noon semi-final showdown at Bala’s Maes Tegid on Sunday (ko 12pm).
The Cambrian News reported “Goals by Joe Phillips, John Owen and Malcolm Melvin steered Aber through to the last four at Carmarthen last month, and boss Neville Powell said that he is hopeful his side can go all the way.
The ex-Bangor City manager has never lost a Welsh Cup semi-final match, and he hopes that the stars are aligned for another final appearance.
Powell, who guided Bangor City to four successive finals, and a hat-trick of Welsh Cup wins between 2008 and 2010, is hoping to guide Aber to glory for the first time in over a century.
“We deserve to be in the semi-finals, we’ve beaten Bala and Cardiff Met, and we thoroughly deserved to win at Carmarthen,” commented Powell.
“Twenty years ago, I reached the Welsh Cup Final with Connah’s Quay, and lost to Bangor on penalties, and 10 years ago I won it as Bangor manager against Llanelli. So, who knows, it could be Aber’s time this year.
“This will be the seventh Welsh Cup semi-final tie that I’ve participated in. I haven’t lost one yet, so fingers crossed that we can make it through.”
The Seasiders, who were runners-up to The New Saints in 2014, and missed out to Powell’s Bangor in the 2009 final, have only won the prestigious trophy once, way back in 1900.
They will take heart from a 1-0 win at Newtown last month, and their 3-0 win over the Robins in November, but the Seasiders will go into the match after back-to-back league defeats.
Meanwhile Newtown manager Chris Hughes is looking for his side to repeat their semi-final success in 2015, when they came from behind to beat Rhyl at Cefn Druids.
“One thing supporters do at this club is stick with the team, and in my time at the club they have been fantastic,” he said. “This year we have had to overcome some tough hurdles, and I feel we have done that and the supporters have played their part.
“In the last Welsh Cup semi-final, we were 1-0 down at half time, and scored twice in the second half to win and the fans were terrific that day.Hopefully they can turn out in their numbers again on Sunday, and play their part in helping us reach another final.”
The last cup meeting between to the two mid Wales rivals was the Europa League play-off final at Park Avenue in 2015, when the Robins eventually prevailed 2-1.
The game will be the Robins’ seventh semi-final since Hughes arrived at the club, having beaten Guilsfield, Flint Town United on penalties and Llandudno on route to the last last four.
They have played in four play-off semi-finals, as well as the Welsh Cup semi-final against Rhyl in 2015, and a League Cup semi-final against Cardiff Met earlier this season.
“We have a new group of players, but the core of the side has played in seven semi-finals, in finals and in Europe so they have big game experience and that will be key on Sunday,” said Hughes.
“They’ve had a taste of it in recent years and it would be fantastic to go one better.”