Jonny's Blog

For me I think the Welsh Cup failed to impress this weekend, compared the exploits of the lower league sides in the FA Cup a few weeks previous.

Gresford couldn’t take the role of Middlesborough, and Llanrheadr couldn’t take the place of giant killers Bradford City, however they both gave it one hell of a go.

I was there in Llanrhaeadr on Saturday, and the atmosphere prior kick off was brilliant, and it just showed how a community came together.

Rhyl arrived as the high rollers in the Welsh Premier League, and on paper were far superior to their lower league opponents, who were the lowest ranked side in the competition.

Up until 40 minutes, the Waterfallmen pushed Greg Strong’s boys all the way, and were just one behind, but in the cup you need luck, but it didn’t fall it favour of Llan skipper Joe Vaughan.

One on one with the Rhyl stopper, and best friend Alex Ramsay, he missed his chance, and football showed what a cruel mistress she can be as two minutes later Rhyl are 2-0 up.

It was three before Marc Griffiths, the Llanrhaeadr player manager pulled one back, and the celebrations by the fans and players were immense, and just showed how much the day meant to the club.

The ref gave a soft penalty with ten to go to all but kill off the tie, but that never say die attitude by the villagers shone through again as Tom Bailey grabbed a second late on, and celebrated like he had just won the FA Cup at Wembley with Everton.

It was a great finish, and deserved after such a great performance against a Rhyl front line that boasted Carl Lamb and Ashley Raune, but it was a shame Bailey could never do that when I played with him all them years ago!

Despite the defeat it was an incredibly brave performance by the villagers, and one that the area should be proud of. They might not have got through, but they showed Welsh football just what they can do.

And then to Sunday, the only tie left to be played, bar the postponed Mid Wales derby.

On paper, Gresford looked good, Hill-Dunt who everyone knows, and players like Gareth Williams and Sam Richardson, who could cause threats.

And in the first period they did just that.

To quote Mr Mourinho, they parked the bus, but it was a sturdy bus nonetheless.

The former Prestatyn keeper was solid, pulling off top class saves, and showing why only two years ago he played in the Europa League.

The defending was resolute and TNS were stumped, and on the break they looked good too, but it was going to be a tall order to keep it up for the 90 minutes.

That was something they couldn’t do, as in the end they went down 3-0, but like Llanrhaeadr they day before, they gave it a good go, in games both managers would have labelled, there cup finals.

Llanrhaeadr kept going and got their reward, Gresford couldn’t find the net, but gave the champions a right good scare, something that not many of the teams in the Welsh Premier League can do.

They were both a credit to the competition, and I wish both sides all the best for the season, because teams like that, are what football is all about.

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