Welsh Cup wide open at quarter-final stage – a look at the draw

_51469117_welsh_cup_logoThis year’s Welsh Cup – like all good cup competitions – is completely wide open as the quarter-final stage approaches this weekend.

Four ties on Saturday will see the competition further whittled down by tomorrow evening and much of the focus will be on the televised clash at Park Hall between The New Saints and Airbus.

On the back of last week’s largely uncaptivating 1-1 draw between the Welsh Premier title rivals, TNS can take a step closer to capturing the league and cup double. Airbus – apparently content with second-spot in the table – would relish the opportunity to claim a major domestic title, ten years after winning the Cymru Alliance. The last decade has witnessed the Wingmakers undergo a major transformation from Welsh Premier newbie’s to title-hungry heavyweights, who arguably possess the strongest squad in the league.

With the tide seemingly going TNS’ way in the league, I really wouldn’t put a Cup victory past Airbus, who’re coming off a deserved 4-2 win over Bangor City midweek. Ryan Wignall, for me, has so far been the best signing of the January transfer window and has added guile to Andy Preece’s side, whilst Tom Field continues to turn in polished performances and Northern Irish international Steve Jones, so impressive in the early-stages of the season, edges closer to fitness following injury. If the league is already beyond reach of Airbus, they at least have a very real chance of going all the way in the Welsh Cup.

Breakdown of the last-eight sides in this year's Welsh Cup.
Breakdown of the last-eight sides in this year’s Welsh Cup.

All three remaining matches have an intriguing feel to them.

Bala Town visit South Wales looking to avoid a huge potential banana skin against Welsh League Division One side Aberdare Town. Aberdare have already managed one major Cup scalp this season, dumping out last year’s winners Prestatyn Town in the third round and they will be looking to pounce on any signs of complacency from the Lakesiders.

In the only game not represented by a Welsh Premier League side, the best tie of the round could well be found at Halkyn Road as Holywell Town of the Welsh Alliance (level three) entertain Cymru Alliance side Porthmadog. Porth will be unnerved by Holywell’s tremendous run so far which has already seen them eliminate two Cymru Alliance sides before earning an unlikely 3-2 victory over high-flying Newtown. Porthmadog have never reached the Welsh Cup semi-final before, an historic outcome is guaranteed for whoever the victor.

A traditional Mid-Wales derby between Aberystwyth Town and Caersws completes the line-up. Aberystwyth having been pleasing to watch of late and are serious contenders to for the Cup – incredibly for a club of their pedigree and standing within Welsh domestic football, their only Welsh Cup success dates back to 1900. If they are to progress this year, then they cannot afford to underestimate their Cyrmu Alliance opponents, who arrive at this fixture with absolutely nothing to lose against the higher division counterparts – indeed, having won their last 10 games (in all competitions), Caersws may well have forgotten what losing actually feels like at all and Aber will need their big performers, Venables, Kellaway and Corbisiero to show up if they are to reach the last-four.

Aberdare Town v Bala Town (2.00)
Holywell Town v Porthmadog (2.30)
Aberystwyth Town v Caersws (2.30)
The New Saints v Airbus UK Broughton (3.15)

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