Can four North Wales teams reach FAW Trophy semi-finals?

Denbigh captain Mark Roberts (centre facing – in red) in action during the last round victory over Rhos Aelwyd. Denbigh Town FC photos are taken by Roy Gunther and Stephen Whitfield

FAW Trophy quarter-final previews – Saturday, February 8

Baglan Dragons v Denbigh Town (1.30 pm)
Brymbo v Penydarren BGC (1.30 pm)
Llandudno Albion v Risca United (2.30 pm)
Welshpool Town v Holyhead Hotspur (2 pm).

Baglan Dragons v Denbigh Town (1.30 pm)

Welsh Alliance Division One high-flyers Denbigh travel to South Wales Alliance Premier Division outfit Baglan Dragons with a place in the FAW Trophy semi-finals at stake.

Baglan, who hail from the Barry area, are third in their division, which is classed at tier 5 on the Welsh football pyramid. They are undefeated in their league this season, having gone 13 games without a loss and are 13 points behind leaders Porthcawl Town Athletic but have five games in hand.

With Denbigh being two levels above their opponents in the pyramid, the North Wales travellers are favourites on paper to progress, but Dewi Llion’s men could be in for a big test at Evans Bevans Field.

Town are in great form themselves – unbeaten in 12 league and cup matches since losing 3-2 at home to Llandudno Albion in a Welsh Alliance clash last October.

Denbigh squeezed past Rhos Aelwyd in the last round 2-1 at Central Park.

Manager Dewi Llion told the club website: “I will be taking the same squad that played at Prestatyn last week although Paul Fleming is unavailable. Will Ashley is back though and can slot in that midfield place. We have a long journey but, as in every game, we will be doing our utmost to win the tie and see ourselves in that hat.”

Brymbo v Penydarren BGC (1.30 pm)

Brymbo FC are more than capable of making the semi-finals

The Steelmen carry the flag for the Welsh National League in the last eight when they welcome Welsh League Division One side Penydarren to The Crick.

The Merthyr Tydfil-based visitors are best known for their exploits in the 2017-18 Welsh Cup, where they made it all the way to the quarter-finals before losing to Bangor City.

Penydarren also reached the semis of the FAW Trophy that season, going down to eventual competition winners Conwy Borough. The Merthyr men did win the South Wales Amateur League in that campaign and followed up by lifting the Welsh League Division Three title last season – so they are a progressive, forward-thinking club.

Brymbo, winners of the FAW Trophy in 2006-07, are currently fifth in the Welsh National League Premier. Having lost 2-0 at home to Llanuwchllyn last weekend, Philly Hudson’s side will be looking to bounce back with a big cup performance.

Llandudno Albion v Risca United (2.30 pm)

Dave Maddock

On the three previous occasions they have entered the FAW Trophy, Albion have done little to speak of, so this season they are enjoying their best run by far in the national competition.

In the latest tournament, Darren Jones’ side have knocked out St Asaph City, Mynydd Isa Spartans, Carno and, in the last 16, they triumphed on penalties at Mid-Wales League outfit Berriew.

Next opponents Risca are flying high in second spot in Welsh League Division One. Known as the Cuckoos, Risca edged past Port Talbot on penalties in the last 16 of the Trophy.

This looks like a fairly close tie on paper and could go either way. Albion will look to the likes of club record scorer, and top marksman this season, Dave Maddock to turn on the magic when the chances arrive.

Welshpool Town v Holyhead Hotspur (2 pm)

Can Hotspur deliver the goods on their travels?

Back in 2006/07, Holyhead Hotspur lost 5-1 to Welshpool in the Welsh Cup quarter-finals.

The Powys side finished fourth in the Welsh Premier League that season, while Holyhead ended up seventh in the tier-below Cymru Alliance.

That last eight tie 13 years ago remains one of the biggest games in Hotspur’s history, but a lot has happened in the football world since then.

Welshpool are now a tier-three side, lying fifth in the Mid-Wales League, while Darren Garmey’s Holyhead are top of Welsh Alliance Division One (also level 3 in the pyramid).

Saturday’s Trophy quarter-final at Maesydre could finish up very close.

Quadruple-chasing Hotspur are in great form, unbeaten in 12 since November in all competitions with 11 of those matches producing wins. The Holy Islanders are a free-scoring outfit who constantly find different ways to get the victory.

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