Cambrian & Clydach pulled off the biggest ever upset in Nathaniel MG Cup history, and possibly even Welsh football history this evening as they beat The New Saints 2-1 at the M&P 3G.
Andre Griffiths’ 113th minute winner sparked wild celebrations amongst the home crowd as they became the third Tier 2 side in four seasons to reach the Final of the competition.
It was no more than they deserved for a battling and committed performance, matching the JD Welsh Premier League Champions throughout a scoreless 90 minutes and an exhilarating extra time period.
That was Cambrian’s fourth JDWPL scalp of the competition, all of which have come at home and all of which have been against sides that currently reside in the top six.
The game opened slowly as both sides felt their way into proceedings. Ryan Brobbel had the first decent chance of the game on 11’, firing just wide from the edge of the box after Kane Lewis broke down the right to cross over.
Kyle Jones then saw a half-chance blocked in the Saints box, before the visitors went straight up the other end, Greg Draper forcing Dan Bradley into a save.
Saints were enjoying a spell of pressure but couldn’t find the final touch, a succession of crosses either just being missed or sent wide of the Cambrian goal. Routledge tested Bradley on the half hour, the keeper saving comfortably, before the home side looked to respond as the interval approached, Liam Reed forcing a save out of Connor Roberts.
Brobbel had a couple of half chances for Saints early on in the second half, but that was about the extent of what the nine-time winners could muster. Cambrian were visibly growing in confidence as a result, and the longer the score stayed 0-0 the longer it seemed like an upset actually was on the cards.
They came close to opening the scoring on 66’, as Roberts failed to deal with a ball into the TNS box, Chris Marriott eventually clearing off the line from the resulting goalmouth scramble.
That confidence kept growing in the home side, but a spell of pressure failed to bring that goal, and they were nearly made to pay with seven minutes remaining as Draper ghosted in behind the Cam back line, only for Bradley to again keep him out.
Neither side could find the net in the remaining time, so extra time it was. Bradley was again called upon to deny Draper early on, the striker shooting from six yards out but not finding a way past the former Barry Town United man.
Four minutes later, the ball finally was in the net, and it was the home side who were celebrating. A corner from the left was whipped to the back post, and sub Mark Crutch was there to prod it into the roof of the net.
That sparked jubilation, but that was tempered in the first minute after the restart, when a pull back in the box gave Saints a penalty. Up stepped Draper to slam it down the middle for the leveller.
That looked to have restored some order, but Cambrian didn’t give up, and were duly rewarded when Griffiths followed up after Roberts could only parry Sam Jones’ shot into his path.
Saints pushed for the goal that would see the game into penalties, but Cambrian held on to complete a fairytale night in the Rhondda.
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