Women’s football in North Wales was in a pretty good place at the turn of the 21st century.
The main reason for that was the successes achieved by Bangor City Girls.
Keith Fearns’ side had already lifted the Welsh Cup once in 1996/97 and were to repeat the feat back-to-back in 2000-01 and 2001-02.
Senior ladies football was re-organised by the FA in 1998 and run on a pyramid basis with the Axa Premier League at the top.
Bangor flew the flag for North Wales in the second-tier Axa Northern Division in 2000-01, finishing fourth and gaining promotion to the Premier where the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City were regular opponents the following season.
The Citizens were also to celebrate their second and third Welsh Cup triumphs in these campaigns.
2000/01 Final: Bangor City 3 Newport Strikers 0
Bangor blitzed Broughton Ladies 12-0 away before sweeping aside Barry Town 4-0 in the semis, setting up a meeting with Newport Strikers in the final at Newtown.
The pride of North Wales were to register a comprehensive victory over a youthful Newport team.
City started well and put early pressure on the Newport goal but struggled to create clear-cut chances. Newport were content to slow the game down and stifle their opponents whilst looking to threaten on the break.
The referee should have calmed Bangor nerves after a clear and deliberate handball in the box but no penalty was given.
The second half followed the pattern of the first with City doing all the pressing but again not able to turn possession into goals.
Bangor nerves were becoming frayed as Newport thwarted their best efforts. It needed something special to break the deadlock and Ceryl Jones produced it with a 25 yard shot into the top corner.
Newport now had to commit players forward but the Bangor defence dealt comfortably with County’s attacks whilst the City strikers took advantage of the increased space.
Two goals in five minutes put the game safe for Bangor as Cheryl Foster and Ceryl Jones made it 3-0.
Victory was especially sweet for captain Bev Bourner, who was injured when City first won the cup in 1997, and for Siwan Elenid, who broke her leg in that final and missed out on the post-match celebrations.
Bangor team: 3-5-2: Nicki Davies, Karen Williams, Bev Dignam, Gill Smith, Siwan Elenid (Eleri Earnshaw), Tania Jones, Manon Lloyd Williams, Alwen Williams, Iona Williams (Kelly Davies), Cheryl Foster, Ceryl Jones
2001/02 Final: Bangor City 4 Newport County 2
City got off to a great start at Caersws when good work from full-back Alwen Williams put in Katie Williams to score after only 10 minutes.
Ceryl Jones then doubled the lead after her free kick was dropped over the line by the Newport keeper.
Kelly Davies then suffered a cut to her forehead, which required lengthy treatment and Bangor were temporarily down to 10 players.
Davies bravely returned to the fray but Bangor then suffered a double blow.
A Newport free kick resulted in goalkeeper Nicky Davies being laid-out by a challenge. Play though continued around the stricken keeper and Newport’s Emma Jones took full advantage to score into the unguarded net.
Davies had to leave the pitch with a facial injury and the diminutive striker Katie Williams went between the posts for Bangor. Newport sensed the opposition were on the back foot but Bangor managed to hold onto their lead to half time.
City started the second-half brightly and scored a third goal after good work from Foster set up Ailsa Orlik.
Newport though would not lie down and Morgan scored a good goal to make it a tense finish for the cup holders.
The game was only made safe in injury time after a long-range Cheryl Foster effort secured Bangor the Welsh Cup for the third time in their history.
Bangor team (4-4-2): Nicky Davies (Ailsa Orlik), Alwen Williams, Gill Smith, Louise Barlow, Laura Pritchard, Iona Williams, Tania Jones, Kelly Davies, Ceryl Jones, Cheryl Foster, Katie Williams.
In summer 2003, an exodus of Bangor City players left for Liverpool and that marked the end of the line for the Citizens, who later re-emerged in the Northern Division as Caernarfon Town.
List of women’s Welsh Cup Finals (venues in brackets – northern teams in bold)
1992/93 Pilkington (Rhyl) 1-0 Inter Cardiff (Cardiff Arms Park)
1993/94 Pilkington 2-2 Inter Cardiff – Pilks won 4-2 on pens (Cardiff Arms Park)
1994/95 Inter Cardiff 1-1 Bangor City – Inter won 4-3 pens (Cardiff Arms Park)
1995/96 Newport Strikers 1-0 Bangor City – aet (Racecourse, Wrexham)
1996/97 Bangor City 3-0 Newcastle Emlyn (Park Avenue, Aberystwyth)
1997/98 Barry Town 3-0 Bangor City (Weirglodd, Rhayader)
1998/99 Barry Town 3-0 Newport Strikers (Haverfordwest)
1999/00 Barry Town 2-2 Bangor City – 3-0 to Barry on pens (Caersws)
2000/01 Bangor City 3-0 Newport Strikers (Newtown)
2001/02 Bangor City 4-2 Newport County (Caersws)
2002/03 Cardiff City 1-0 Bangor City
2003/04 Cardiff City 4-0 Newtown
2004/05 Cardiff City 4-1 Cardiff City Bluebirds
2005/06 Cardiff City 11-0 Pwllheli
2006/07 Cardiff City 6-1 Caernarfon Town
2007/08 Cardiff City 9-0 Wrexham
2008/09 Cardiff City 3-0 Caerphilly Castle
2009/10 Cardiff City 6-0 UWIC Ladies
2010/11 Swansea City 3-0 Caernarfon Town
2011/12 Cardiff City 1-1 UWIC Ladies – Cardiff won 4-2 pens (Port Talbot)
2012/13 Cardiff City 3-1 Cardiff Metropolitan
2013/14 Cardiff Met Ladies 4-0 Swansea City Ladies
2014/15 Swansea City Ladies 4-2 Cardiff City
2015/16 Cardiff City FC Women 5-2 MBi Llandudno
2016/17 Cardiff Met Ladies 2-2 Swansea City (Met won 5-4 pens)
2017/18 Swansea City Ladies 2-1 Cardiff City Ladies
2018/19 Cardiff Met Ladies 2-0 Abergavenny Women
10 – Cardiff City
3 – Bangor City, Barry Town, Swansea City, Cardiff Met
2 – Pilkington (Rhyl)
1 – Inter Cardiff, Newport Strikers, Cardiff City FC Women