Carmarthen Town 2 (Walters 25 & 57)
Connah’s Quay Nomads 3 (O’Toole 37, Petrie 55, Baker 106 pen)
Welsh Cup fourth round – January 29, 2011
On this weekend 10 years ago Tom Baker converted an extra time penalty that handed gap Cymru Alliance visitors Connah’s Quay Nomads a place in the quarter finals of the Welsh Cup.
The substitute stepped up in the 107th of 120 minutes to knock out Welsh Premier League outfit Carmarthen Town at their Richmond Park ground in a pulsating tie that almost went all the way.
Quay were without cup-tied duo Adam McGhee and James McIntosh, whilst Rob Jones missed out through suspension.
Newly-registered former Chester City and Buckley Town stopper Louis Mackin took McGhee’s place between the sticks and handled the occasion well.
With the match put back to 2.15 pm to allow the pitch to thaw out from overnight frost, the first half-chance fell to Nomads as Gary O’Toole drilled a low shot wide.
On the 20 minute mark, the home side were handed their first real opportunity when Nomads’ skipper Craig Jones miss-controlled on a bobbly pitch and allowed Nick Harrhy through – but his low shot from the right of the area was put behind for a corner.
Harrhy was picked out from the resulting flag-kick, but another low effort was this time held by the increasingly-confident Mackin.
The deadlock was broken on 25 minutes when the hosts were awarded a free kick 30 yards from goal following a foul by Craig Jones. Sacha Walters stepped up to launch a pile-driver high into the top corner.
On 37 minutes, Nomads were level through O’Toole. He found space at the far post to bundle in after another Andy Alston long throw caused problems in the home area.
Nomads were now in the ascendancy but Stuart Scheuber wasted a great chance on the break, chipping harmlessly wayward from 25 yards with two team-mates free to play in.
Shortly before half time O’Toole played in Jamie Petrie on the right whose low cross picked out the unmarked Dean Thurston, but the former AFC Liverpool forward miss-kicked to let the hosts off the hook.
On a still partly-frozen outfield, the second half lacked the quality football of the first but Nomads’ loyal travelling army did not seem to care when they saw their side take the lead for the first time in the game on 55 minutes.
Thurston played a one-two with Ben Collins down the left before dinking a ball across the box to Petrie to smash a low half-volley into the bottom far corner.
The lead lasted barely two minutes, however, as Walters glanced in his second to level the scores.
Midway through the half, a Carmarthen long throw caused havoc in the Nomads area and when most of the ground had thought Harrhy had found the net, Ben Alston was on hand to clear from the goal-line.
With the final 10 minutes fast approaching, a neat move on the right from Carmarthen ended with Tim Hicks’ strike deflected behind. From the following corner, Mackin missed his attempted punch but Walters was denied a hat-trick by Baker’s block.
Nomads had two gilt-edged opportunities in the last 10. First, Sam McNutt’s square ball across the edge of the area was missed by Petrie then hammered waywardly wide by the on-running Collins.
In the 86th minute, Thurston was presented with the perfect chance to clinch the match when he raced clear of two chasing defenders, only to poke the ball inches past the post with on-rushing ‘keeper Mike Lewis bearing down on him.
Carmarthen were given a corner two minutes into extra time, towering centre back Lee Bevan rose high to send a header goalwards, only for Mackin to dive to his right to hold on.
In the last of the first 15 minutes, Thurston’s low cross from the left was diverted behind for a corner, from which nothing came.
The second period was just as tight and tentative as the 105 minutes that preceded it, but when player-boss Mark McGregor was felled by home captain Dale Griffiths in the area Nomads were handed the match-winning chance almost immediately after the restart.
Griffiths was dismissed, and Tom Baker stepped up to casually send Lewis the wrong way from the spot.
NOMADS: Louis Mackin, Ben Alston (Tom Baker 69), Ben Collins, Mark McGregor, Andy Alston, Craig Jones, Jamie Petrie, Alan Hooley, Gary O’Toole (Sam McNutt 78), Dean Thurston (Scott Baker 115), Stuart Scheuber.