Welsh Cup third round northern previews – Upsets in the air?

Flint (grey) won at Rhyl last weekend, but can they overcome Bala in the Welsh Cup? Picture: James Curran

JD Welsh Cup round three northern tie previews – Saturday, December 7 (kick-offs 2.30 pm unless stated)

Abertillery Bluebirds v Connah’s Quay Nomads

Mike Wilde will be a danger as always for Nomads. Pic: Nik Mesney, NCM Media

The 2018 Welsh Cup winners Nomads will certainly not be taking their assignment at minnows Abertillery lightly.

Bluebirds may well be the lowest-ranked team left in the competition, but have overcome Llanidloes Town, Penparcau, Lucas Cwmbran and Dinas Powys so far to reach the third round.

Their 4-3 victory over Llanidloes was somewhat of a surprise with the Daffs playing in the Mid-Wales First Division, and Abertillery currently in Welsh Football League Division Two.

Ahead of the game, Nomads boss Andy Morrison said: “Having reached the final and won the Welsh Cup in the last two years, this is a competition we have great memories of. Our journey this season starts away at Abertillery Bluebirds and we have prepared in the right way as we always do. We know their strengths and where we feel we can affect the game, but with them having already knocked teams out from the league above we know the challenge ahead.”

Aberystwyth Town v Ruthin Town

Cymru North underdogs Ruthin had a fine run to the last 16 two seasons ago, finally losing out 4-3 in extra time at Llandudno.

It was the furthest Town had progressed in the national knockout since 1923 and they would like to get there again.

Standing in their way are Aberystwyth, currently a modest ninth in the Cymru Premier, but beaten finalists two years ago.

Certainly a chance of an upset at Park Avenue.

Afan Lido v Llandudno

Even-looking contest where seventh in Cymru South hosts 10th in the Cymru North.

Following last season’s relegation from the Welsh Premier, Tudno have made an average return to the second-tier league they won in 2014/15.

Lido were last in the WPL in 2013-14, at the end of which they went down after finishing bottom two seasons running.

Cefn Druids v Guilsfield

Druids have won the cup eight times but the last time was in 1904.

Their last appearance in the final was much more recent – 2012.

Cefn have been in tremendous Cymru Premier form of late, solidifying themselves in the top six.

Guilsfield are going well in the Cymru North and often prove tricky to beat, as then holders Connah’s Quay can testify from last season, where they needed extra time to eliminate the Guils 4-2.

Flint Town United v Bala Town

Possibly the tie of the round?

The Cymru North’s second-placed team Flint welcome Cymru Premier high flyers Bala Town to Cae-y-Castell.

Colin Caton’s side have been in great nick, currently sitting third in the table just three points off the summit.

Unfortunately for Flint, it looks as though top-scorer Mark Cadwallader will miss out, as he has not yet recovered sufficiently from his hamstring injury, and Kyle Smyth faces a few weeks on the sidelines after injuring his groin in last week’s game at Rhyl.

Goytre United v Caernarfon Town

Will Darren Thomas (yellow) produce more cup magic for Caernarfon? Picture: Paul Evans, CTFC media officer

Semi-finalists back in 2016-17, Caernarfon will targeting a lengthy Welsh Cup run again this term.

To progress to the last 16, they will need to win at Goytre United, currently mid-table in the second-tier Cymru South.

Caernarfon went out of the 2015-16 Welsh Cup at Goytre, but Goytre United is a different club.

Penrhyncoch v Prestatyn Town

Prestatyn top-scorer Rob Hughes. Picture: John Pickles

Prestatyn travel to Cae Baker with unfinished business having surprisingly lost 3-2 to Penrhyn in the Cymru North two weeks ago.

After also only drawing at Guilsfield last week, Prestatyn’s lead at the summit has been cut to two points, but cup progress will be the only thing on Neil Gibson’s team’s minds tomorrow.

Penybont v Porthmadog

Porthmadog will seek to cause an upset when they travel to Cymru Premier strugglers Penybont.

The South Wales hosts may have found the going tough since winning promotion to the top flight for the first time, but recent results have improved, including a 0-0 draw with leaders Connah’s Quay Nomads last weekend.

Port made a slow start to the campaign in the Cymru North, but in their last two matches they have won 2-1 at Colwyn Bay and drawn 2-2 away to Conwy Borough – impressive.

Pontardawe Town v Buckley Town (1.30 pm)

Having won 3-2 at Conwy in their most recent Cymru North encounter, Buckley will travel to South Wales with confidence.

The Parc Ynysderw hosts are presently rock bottom of Welsh League Division One without a win to their name, so Bucks must have a decent chance of victory.

Pontardawe reached the FAW Trophy Final last season, losing to Cefn Albion. Yeaaaaahhh maaaaan! That’s where you know them from.

Rhyl v STM Sports (1.30 pm)

Could be a tricky one for Rhyl as they host cup giant-killers STM Sports from Llanrumney, Cardiff in the last 32.

The visitors may sound like a sports shop, but they are a pretty handy football team, very much on the up.

Presently fifth in the Cymru South, the same tier level as the Lilywhites, STM have caused a sensation by reaching the final of the Nathaniel MG Cup, where they meet Connah’s Quay Nomads in February.

STM dumped out Cymru Premier Newtown in the quarter-finals.

Rhyl’s form has been up and down, their most recent result a 1-0 defeat at home to Flint Town United last weekend. With home advantage, Eddie Maurice-Jones’ side have a good chance of progression, but it’s by no means a gimme.

The New Saints v Mold Alexandra

Danny Warren is one who could shine for Mold at TNS

Cymru Premier champions TNS have shown two sides of their qualities in the last pair of matches.

After a league record-equalling 12-0 crushing of Airbus a week ago, Saints battled their way to a 1-0 victory at home to struggling Carmarthen in midweek.

Regardless of how the wins came, points are points and TNS are in their customary position at the summit.

Current cup holders and seven-time competition winners Saints will be big favourites to see off Mold from the third-tier Welsh National (Wrexham Area) Premier Division, but Alex are a good footballing side who will be seriously up for a battle.

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