Date: Tue 25 Oct 2016

Nathaniel MG Cup Quarter-Final Round Up | Magnificent Seven for Barry Town United, with Carmarthen, GAP and TNS also through

Gavin Chesterfield's Barry Town United smashed Haverfordwest County in their Tuesday night visit to Jenner Park, as Andy Morrison's GAP Connah's Quay edged Rhyl, Bangor City lost a thoroughly entertaining and fairly even encounter to holders TNS FC, and Carmarthen came from behind to beat Chris Hughes' Newtown in Extra Time at Latham Park!

Bangor City 0-2 The New Saints
The Bangor University Stadium
TNS Scorer: Robbie Parry 64’, Greg Draper 90+1’

Henry Jones continued his impressive run of form for The Citizens, looking calm and composed in amongst a packed midfield area early-on and he picked out Christian Langos with a superb lofted ball to unleash the City number 10 on a counter-attack, only for the little winger to win a free-kick on the edge of the box after nine minutes. Bangor’s Sam Hart could only curl the free-kick over the bar, but Rodrigo Branco soon had TNS stopper Andrew Wycherley under pressure from the resulting goal-kick as The Saints struggled to play their usual football out from the back in an opening period where Bangor were probably the better side.

Scott Quigley squandered a brilliant opportunity to put The New Saints ahead with 20 minutes played, as Bangor could only clear a corner to the edge of the box where the imposing centre-forward had plenty of time to rifle a shot at Connor Roberts in the Bangor goal, but the home defenders blocked his strike.

Chance creation from both sides seemed to disappear from both sides’ games in the middle of the first half, as the battle in midfield between both sides meant that neither outfit was able to build up much offensive fluency, however Branco’s off-balance cross following a break from the Brazilian down the left flank almost crept inside Wycherley’s far post to give Bangor the lead with seven minutes remaining. Jamie Mullan found space on the edge of Bangor’s box on the eve of the interval to get a shot off that flashed across the face of goal, but the effort whistled past the post, and right in front of a number of TNS players on the edge of the six-yard box – none of whom could manage the crucial goal-scoring touch.

An issue with the floodlights at The Bangor University Stadium delayed the second half kick-off by some ten minutes, but once that was solved the action got back underway and the high standard of football from both sides in the first half continued. 56 minutes in, The Citizens thought they had the lead as Bangor countered excellently and Jones played Branco in on goal for the Brazilian to curl past Wycherley into the back of the net, but the effort was ruled out for offside much to the home side’s dismay.

Greg Draper fluffed a golden opportunity to put TNS ahead after an hour, as Aeron Edwards released him into a one-on-one situation with Connor Roberts, but the keeper saved well after coming out to meet the centre-forward and close off the angle. The Saints soon had their lead, however, as they won a free-kick some thirty yards out which Robbie Parry stepped up to take and score, with his effort fooling Roberts, who seemed to think the ball was flying over the bar, but instead it struck the underside of the crossbar and flew in to put TNS 1-0 up.

With 20 minutes to go, Jones was again at the centre of all of Bangor’s good play as the home side embarked on another counter-attack with the ball ending at the former Swan’s feet on the edge of the box, but Wycherley was equal to it as he saved excellently. Substitute Damian Allen then found his effort from just outside the box kiss the post on its way out of play with 10 minutes left, which was lucky for Wycherley as he didn’t look like he was getting to it, but Bangor just couldn’t seem to find the equaliser despite how many times they banged at the door.

Substitute Greg Draper put the game beyond Bangor City in added time, however, as he scored a soft goal to double the away side’s league and send Craig Harrison and his men on their way to the semi-finals of this year’s tournament.

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GAP Connah’s Quay 2-1 Rhyl FC
The Deeside Stadium
GAP Connah’s Quay Scorers: Les Davies 18’, Shelton Payne 38’
Rhyl FC Scorer: Wes Baynes (OG) 50’

Andy Morrison’s GAP Connah’s Quay matched last season’s impressive Welsh League Cup journey by reaching the semi-finals of this year’s Nathaniel MG Cup with a 2-1 victory over Niall McGuinness’ Rhyl at The Deeside Stadium.

Shelton Payne and Mike Wilde were given the opportunity to make up for their agonising misses against Cardiff MET this weekend just gone as they were awarded starts in this fixture for GAP, and the duo had a couple of opportunities in the opening minutes to give The Nomads the perfect start to this Nathaniel MG Cup Quarter-Final, but they couldn’t convert despite the home side’s dominance.

The opening goal came from a different source, however, as Les Davies did exactly what he has done throughout his career and rose to meet a Sean Smith corner and help it on its way into the back of the net; in truth, Smith’s corner looked like it was flying in without Davies’ help, but the striker helped it in regardless and GAP led 1-0 after 18 minutes.

Rhyl mounted somewhat of a comeback in the next 15 minutes as they began to get a foothold in the game, but GAP soon reasserted their dominance as Payne doubled the home side’s lead after 38 minutes from the penalty spot and The Nomads looked to be cruising.

Niall McGuinness’ men made the perfect start to the second half, however, as a Rhyl cross into the box was deflected past Nomads stopper John Danby to half the deficit with 40 second-half minutes to play. The away side’s onslaught continued for some ten minutes as Oliver Buckley led the charge for The Lilywhites in search of the equaliser, but GAP stood strong and maintained their lead. The Dafabet Welsh Premier League’s second-placed team just had too much for The Lilywhites on the night as they secured the win and their passage into The Last Four.

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Barry Town United 7-1 Haverfordwest County
Jenner Park
Barry Town United Scorers: Drew Fahiya 12’, 52’, Luke Cooper 44’, James Dixon 57’, 64’, 84’, Jordan Cotterill 86’
Haverfordwest County Scorer: Kieran O’Brien 30’

Gavin Chesterfield’s Barry Town United absolutely battered Haverfordwest County at Jenner Park on Tuesday night as they barnstormed their way in emphatic fashion into the semi-finals of The Nathaniel MG Cup.

In Tuesday night’s only South Walian clash, it didn’t take long for the home side to go ahead against Haverfordwest as Drew Fahiya buried a superb volley after just 12 minutes of play following a great assist from Jordan Cotterill, but County were back on level terms after half an hour thanks to an equaliser from Kieran O’Brien.

United weren’t done there though, as they continued to fuel a great atmosphere at Jenner Park by retaking the lead on the eve of halftime thanks to an effort from Luke Cooper finding the back of the net, following a great delivery from Lee Baldock to send the home side into halftime in the perfect manner, before Fahiya got his second pretty soon after the restart to double Barry’s advantage and James Dixon made it 4-1 to the home side on 57 minutes.

Dixon scored again with 25 minutes to go to put the game well and truly beyond Haverfordwest, before completing his hat-trick with six minutes of regulation time to play, with Cotterill adding a seventh as Barry put in a fantastic performance at Jenner Park to secure their passage into the semi-finals.

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Newtown AFC 2-3 Carmarthen Town FC AET
Latham Park
Newtown AFC Scorer: Jason Oswell 59’, Kieran Lewis 76’
Carmarthen Town Scorer: Liam Thomas 60’, Ross Stephens 67’, Mark Jones 117'

The Robins will have been desperate going into this Quarter-final at home to Carmarthen to put the disappointment of Sunday afternoon’s narrow defeat to Craig Harrison’s TNS behind them, but their opponents in this fixture have proven very recently that they are more than capable of grinding out results against all odds, as they did against Airbus on Saturday.

Jason Oswell and Luke Boundford found themselves causing the usual amount of trouble for opposition defences after just five minutes, as Craig Williams powered a cross into The Old Gold’s box for both strikers to attack, but neither could connect with the delivery, with Boundford in particular taking up a fantastic position at the back post.

Eight minutes later Jamie Price took a free-kick in double-quick time to catch Carmarthen napping and enable Shane Sutton to rise and meet the midfielder’s ball, but he could only glance his effort over, but The Old Gold’s Declan Carroll looked to follow on from his equaliser at Airbus on Saturday soon afterwards by curling an effort towards goal from distance, but Dave Jones saved well.

The home side may have felt pretty comfortable and confident on the verge of halftime, but Carmarthen came to life with arguably the best chance of the half right at the death as an excellent through ball from midfield found Liam Thomas able to get a shot away, but Jones made an excellent one-handed save to keep the scores level.

The home side had scored eight goals in their last two home meetings with Mark Aizlewood’s men and, despite looking like the much better team in the first half, they just couldn’t get that crucial breakthrough, and Carmarthen were the first team to have a chance in the second half too, again through Carroll as the away side broke in numbers after stealing possession, but the midfielder’s shot was blocked after 55 minutes.

Oswell then secured The Robins the lead their recent performances have deserved just before the hour mark, as he got the final touch on a Ross Stephens corner that looked to be on its way into the back of the net anyway; Oswell appeared to get the final touch, but it’s unclear – what is clear is that it’s a good job the ball hit the back of the net one way or another, as Carmarthen soon scored themselves through Thomas to secure the perfect response just a minute later.

The action really jumped up a notch after that, with the game becoming quite open and looking like it could go either way, but some sloppy Old Gold defending gave Newtown a break as the home side were awarded a penalty and Stephens dispatched it emphatically to put The Robins 2-1 up and on the cusp of a semi-final berth, but Carmarthen drew themselves level again. Kieran Lewis levelled after 76 minutes to set up a nervy finish to the game, and Lee Idzi produced a stunning save from Oswell just minutes later to deny Newtown an instant comeback.

Boundford and Thomas exchanged near-misses for both the home and the away side respectively, and Idzi nearly gifted the home side an injury time winner as he made a mess of what seemed to be a simple catch to send Newtown players into a scramble to put the ball away and grab the third, but they couldn’t do so and the game went to Extra Time.

The first half of Extra Time was light on action, but The Robins came closest to retaking the lead in the 103rd minute as a Ryan Kershaw corner was volleyed goalward by Oswell and had to be cleared off the line by Thomas, earning his wages at both ends of the pitch in this game it seemed. The away side went on to take the lead for the first time with three minutes of extra time to play, as Mark Jones brought down a cross and fired into the back of the net to break Newtown hearts and send Carmarthen through to the semi-finals!

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GAP Connah's Quay and TNS will face each other in one of the two Nathaniel MG Cup semi-finals, whilst Barry Town United and Carmarthen Town will face each other in the other - the draw on Friday afternoon will determine who has home advantage in those two fixtures. Keep an eye on The Dafabet Welsh Premier League Twitter Feed for more details!

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