Mark January 20 2018 in your diary, as that’s the date set for the Nathaniel MG Cup final. Between Cardiff Metropolitan University FC and The New Saints of Oswestry Town, the game will be televised on S4C’s Sgorio, hence the 5.15 pm kick-off time.
The venue for the first domestic silverware of the season up for grabs is Aberystwyth Town’s Park Avenue. No stranger to hosting Welsh League Cup finals, this will be the 13th occasion that the grand finale has been held at the home of the Black and Greens, who have yet to reach that stage themselves.
The competition – currently sponsored by Nathaniel MG Cars – was founded in 1992 alongside the League of Wales, as the Welsh Premier League was then known. The very first final was at Park Avenue where Afon Lido beat Caersws 4-3 in a penalty shoot-out, following a 1-1 deadlock after open play.
Under the previous incarnation of Total Network Solutions, Chairman Mike Harris saw his club lift the trophy at Park Avenue in 2005/2006, following a 4-0 victory against Port Talbot Town.
Five years later and back in Aberystwyth, The New Saints as the club were now known, again beat south Walians. This time it was much closer though, as extra time was required to see off Llanelli, in a close-fought game that ended 4-3.
January 2018 will be TNS’ third appearance in the competition at Park Avenue and ninth overall. With eight wins – including the last three seasons – Scott Ruscoe will be looking to carry that momentum forward as he seeks to lift his first silverware as manager.