Airbus UK Broughton 1 (Hesp OG 52)
Cefn Druids 4 (Cann 25, Holmes OG 38, Swarbrick 55 & 80)
Welsh Cup semi-final – March 31, 2012
Andrew Swarbrick struck at the double as Druids became only the second Cymru Alliance side ever to reach the Welsh Cup final when they stunned Welsh Premier team Airbus at Belle Vue back in 2012.
The Ancients emulated Rhyl’s achievement of 1992-93 in making it to the national knockout final as a tier-two club.
The Wingmakers were up against it from the start with injuries to Niki-Lee Bulmer, Glenn Rule and Ryan Edwards, plus suspensions for Adam Worton and Craig Whitfield effectively keeping half a team out. Director of Football Andy Preece had little choice but to play players out of position.
The supposed Wrexham-area underdogs had already knocked out Welsh Premier sides Prestatyn Town and Aberystwyth Town and were straining at the leash to pile on the early pressure.
Druids almost took a first minute lead when Wingmakers defender Jay Connolly made a desperate block on the goal-line from a corner and keeper Andy Mulliner gratefully grabbed the ball.
Airbus striker Mark Danks should have done better when he only had Chris Mullock to beat in the 18th minute but the Ancients custodian managed to keep the ball out at the expense of a corner.
Huw Griffiths’ Cefn outfit grabbed the lead on 25 minutes when Tony Cann timed his leap to perfection and headed a Warren Duckett cross into the net.
Druids defended heroically then doubled the pain on 38 minutes when a through ball from Joe Price appeared to be stabbed in by Swarbrick, but it was credited as an own goal by Airmen defender Tommy Holmes.
A fine sprawling save by Mullock from a downward Danny Grannon header denied the WPL side a reply and moments later Neville Thompson could only blaze over at the back post.
Half time: Airbus 0 Druids 2
Six minutes into the second period there was huge controversy when Airbus were awarded a goal.
Thompson won an aerial challenge and referee Bryan James blew his whistle for an apparent infringement before Marc Griffiths hit the ball against his own player Adam Hesp and it looped over Mullock into the net.
Official James then signalled a goal, much to the fury of the Druids players and bench as they argued play had been stopped before the ball entered the net.
Far from discouraged, however, Cefn rallied and made it 3-1 on 55 minutes when Duckett headed on a free-kick into the box and Swarbrick volleyed home.
This knocked the stuffing out of the Broughton side and it became 4-1 after 80 minutes when Tom McElmeel’s high ball bounced to the edge of the area, Cann and Gavin Cadwallader challenged for it, and it broke for Swarbrick who netted sharply.
Druids had qualified for their first Welsh Cup final since 1904.
They went on to lose 2-0 to The New Saints in the tournament’s showpiece game at Nantporth Stadium, Bangor, but Cefn still qualified for the Europa League as Welsh Premier title-winners TNS sealed Champions League status.
AIRBUS: Mulliner, Taylor, Holmes, Connolly (Roberts 46), Grannon (Bathurst 46), G Cadwallader, Hope, M Cadwallader, Thompson, Danks, Hayes.
DRUIDS: Mullock, Harris, Price, Hesp, Peate, Hughes, Swarbrick (Speed 83), McElmeel, Cann, Griffiths, Duckett.