Sunday 6th May
Aberystwyth Town 1-4 Connah’s Quay Nomads
Aberystwyth Town fell short of their fairy tale ending to the season as they succumbed to a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Connah’s Quay Nomads in the JD Welsh Cup Final on Sunday afternoon. Three first half goals from Michael Bakare (23) and Michael Wilde (26, 40) appeared to put the game to bed for the Nomads before the break, but Ryan Wade gave Aber a glimmer of hope with his 45th minute header. Town tried as they might in the second half, and appeared to have a clear goal ruled against them when Malcolm Melvin’s effort bounced over the line, before Andy Owens rounded off the scoring to give the Nomads their first ever JD Welsh Cup title.
On a glorious afternoon at Latham Park, Aber’s phenomenal fans gathered in their masses to cheer on their cup final heroes to what would have been Aber’s first JD Welsh Cup title since 1900. The seasiders named an unchanged side from last weekend’s 5-3 victory over Newtown, and started the brightest in a cagey opening to the game. Malcolm Melvin failed to connect with Declan Walker’s 9th minute cross, before John Owen flicked his 17th minute header into the side netting from Ashley Young’s long throw-in. But it was the Nomads who struck the first blow on 23 minutes, as Michael Bakare latched on to a long diagonal ball before rounding goalie Chris Mullock and tapping into an empty net to make it 1-0. Soon after, Andy Morrison’s side gained further control as Michael Wilde peeled off at the back post from a corner kick to glance his header beyond Mullock and into the net to make it 2-0. Suddenly Aber had a mountain to climb as they struggled to handle the Nomads' direct approach and continuous long balls. Wingman Joe Phillips tried his best to find a way back into the game for the black and greens with some tricky wide play, but on 40 minutes Town were dealt another sucker punch when Declan Poole broke free in midfield before sliding in Wilde who slotted home his second goal of the game to make it 3-0. The game looked dead and buried as Aber’s travelling tifosi continued to rally and support their team towards the half-time whistle. And right on the stroke of half time, they had something to cheer as Ashley Young’s corner kick was flicked into the top corner of the net by Ryan Wade to give the seasiders a lifeline. The half time whistle blew with chants of “Allez Allez Ohh” ringing around the stadium from a resurgent set of supporters.
The second half started in brighter fashion for the black and greens, with Damien Allen and Malcolm Melvin beginning to pull a few strings in the middle of midfield. On 48 minutes, Tom Owen’s header landed tamely in the hands of Danby in goal, before the midfielder was then replaced by Craig Hobson as the seasiders looked for another lifeline. On 64 minutes came the game’s major turning point – as Aber’s momentum continued to build, Melvin strode forward from midfield and unleashed a rasping effort that struck the crossbar and bounced down over the goal line before bouncing back into play again. Much to the despair of the Town supporters, neither the referee nor his assistant had managed to get a clear look at the effort and ruled “play on”, but on second viewing it was evident the ball had crossed the goal line. At a crucial moment in the match, another goal back would have given the black and greens a real lift, but it just wasn’t to be. Kurt Sherlock and Geoff Kellaway were introduced in Aber’s final throw of the dice, as the Nomads continued to look threatening on the break. Try as they might, the seasiders couldn’t find a way to goal, with the wind appearing to be taken out of their sails after that controversial 64th minute decision. As the game entered stoppage time, Connah’s Quay sealed their victory when substitute Andy Owens turned and fired a powerful effort beyond Mullock into the net and make it 4-1.
As the Nomads celebrated victory, it was the Aber faithful who continued to hold their heads high. The magnificent supporters rallied for one final medley of songs to thank the players for their brilliant efforts on their JD Welsh Cup journey. There were evident signs that the bond between players and supporters is stronger than ever, and the black and greens can be proud of their runner up medals from Sunday afternoon. Congratulations must go to Connah’s Quay Nomads, who deserved winners on the day, as they picked up their first ever JD Welsh Cup trophy.