NWCFA Junior Cup quarter-final previews (kick-offs 1.30 pm – Saturday, March 7)
Llysfaen v Bangor 1876
Two of the most statistically impressive teams in North Wales this season clash in a romantic NWCFA Junior Cup quarter-final this Saturday.
Underdogs Llysfaen from Vale of Clwyd and Conwy League Division One host runaway Gwynedd League leaders Bangor 1876 at the fruitily-named Banana Field, also known more affectionately as the Bananabeu.
Emlyn Robert Jones’ Llysfaen side are the only currently active senior Saturday football team in North Wales to remain unbeaten in all competitions in 2019-20.
Top of Division One, they have not lost in 11 league outings (two draws) and are on a run of seven straight cup victories……total = 18 matches.
Perhaps more unexpected is the fact this dynamic form has come from nowhere, the tier-five club based near Colwyn Bay having produced very little to shout about in previous seasons.
They are the real deal, though. In the last round of the Junior Cup, they went to mighty Nefyn United as rank outsiders, but won 4-3, having led 4-0 before conceding three late goals.
Their star performer that day was four-goal hero Sean Sheridan, who has netted 31 times in all competitions this term.
Llysfaen will be up for giving 1876 a really tough test.
As for the fan-owned Bangor club, they formed at the start of the season and currently head the Gwynedd League table by 10 points having won 16 straight matches, amassing 115 goals and conceding just nine.
In all, 1876 have won 27 out of 29 matches, piling up 180 goals, their only losses coming against higher league opposition in the shape of Ruthin Town and Llanrwst United in the Welsh Cup and FAW Amateur Trophy respectively.
Their top scorers are Dylan Summers-Jones with 45 goals and former Connah’s Quay Nomads and Bangor City forward Jamie Petrie, who has 42.
It is a fascinating clash in so many ways.
Abergele v Llangoed & District
Looking to strike a blow for the Vale of Clwyd and Conwy League are Premier Division high-flyers Abergele, who welcome ever-improving Gwynedd League hopefuls Llangoed.
This one could end up very close. Gele are having a fine season and two rounds ago knocked out the team above them in the league, Rhuddlan Town, 11-10 on penalties after a match which ended 7-7 following extra time.
If it comes to a test of nerve, don’t worry about Abergele keeping it together.
Llangoed are showing plenty of promise under former Bangor City and Glantraeth striker Mark Thomas.
A young, attacking side, they have plenty of youthful talent to shout about, with goal-getter Tom Zalot among those well worth a watch.
Llansannan v Trearddur Bay Bulls
This could prove to be the tie of the round.
Llansannan, fifth in the Vale of Clwyd and Conwy Premier and undefeated at home this season, host Trearddur Bay Bulls, second in the Gwynedd League and a team packed with goals potential.
With games in hand on all the teams above them in the Premier, Tom Lewis’ Sannan side could yet launch a title challenge if they keep winning.
Trearddur Bay Bulls, formed at the start of the season after an amalgamation with last term’s Anglesey League champions Bryngwran Bulls, have the talent to go all the way in this competition.
Talysarn Celts v Menai Bridge Tigers
Another one really difficult to call, even though Menai hold a 2-0 lead in meetings between the teams this season.
Although a modest eighth in the Gwynedd League, Talysarn have a great home record of seven wins in eight starts.
Menai Bridge are up in third. Last season’s Gwynedd League champions, they had to rebuild in the summer after being refused promotion to the Welsh Alliance, but under manager Aaron Rowlands have done really well, recording 11 wins in 15 league games.
Winners of the Junior Cup a record eight times, Tigers would love to make it nine, but there is a lot of work to do before that can become a reality.
Celts have taken four points out of six off second-place Trearddur Bay Bulls this season, but did lose 3-2 at Menai Bridge in the Bob Owen Memorial Shield back in December, despite leading 2-0.
Talysarn also went down 4-0 at the Bridge in the league last August, but with home advantage, the villagers could turn the tables this time.