North Wales Coast FA 2 (Cassidy 48, Whiteley 52)
Gwent County FA 0
FAW Regions Cup final – May 19, 2012
Nine years ago today the North Wales Coast senior team won the right to represent Wales in the UEFA Regions Cup for the first time.
In the All-Wales final, NWCFA defeated Gwent County FA 2-0 to secure a place at the Regions Cup in Macedonia.
Chris Morrell’s side beat Gwent County FA 2-0 at Latham Park, Newtown, with goals from Darren Cassidy and Steffan Whitley.
In the 48th minute, the excellent Cassidy ran past the last defender to then chip Gwent keeper David Preece and give Coast the lead.
Only four minutes later, a well-delivered corner from Michael Jones found Whitley and he powered in the second.
NWCFA squad: Danny Abbott (Kinmel Bay Sports), Warren Adam (Meliden), Andraes Alvarado (Kinmel Bay Sports), John Atherton (Meliden), Lee Beattie (Meliden), Adam Cassidy (St Asaph), Darren Cassidy (Meliden), Chris Evans (Rhuddlan Town), Jamie Fox-Byrne (Rhyl Athletic), Jon Grimley (Meliden), Anthony Gunther (Rhyl Athletic), James Hay (Kinmel Bay Sports), Gary Higham (Conwy United), Andy Jones (Meliden), Michael Jones (Abergele), Sion King (St Asaph), Lee McCormick (Prestatyn Rovers), Sam McDougall (Kinmel Bay Sports), Shane Thomas (Prestatyn Rovers)< Gareth Walsh (Meliden), Steffan Whitley (Mochdre).
Manager: Chris Morrell. Assistants: Andy Wilmot, John Atherton.
2012/13 Uefa Regions Cup
NWCFA went on to fly the flag for Wales in a week-long tournament against hosts Macedonia, Sweden and Northern Ireland.
And it was an amazing experience for Morrell’s men as they gained Wales’ first-ever point in the Uefa Regions Cup.
Competing in preliminary round Group B, North Wales drew 1-1 with Hestrafors of Sweden to secure a well-deserved first reward in the tournament at the country’s third time of asking.
Earlier, the 18-man squad, which included 12 players from Morrell’s club side Meliden, produced fine performances in losing narrowly to hosts South East FYROM and Eastern Region of Northern Ireland, 1-0 and 2-1 respectively.
North Wales Coast took on South East FYROM in the opener and matched their quality, creating some good chances, and could feel really aggrieved not to pick up at least a point.
Bojan Petrovski scored the only goal of a tight game at the Mladost Stadium in Strumica on 33 minutes.
The second game saw a brilliant, experienced Northern Ireland select team deservedly beat NWC 2-1, albeit through a debatable penalty from Ryan Moffatt.
David Wright scored first for the Irish on 27 minutes, Conwy Borough’s James Hay equalised for North Wales on 42, but Moffatt’s spot-kick restored the Eastern lead after 44.
With injuries and suspensions now playing a factor, the Welsh gave everything in their final game against the Swedes, and after Meliden’s James Harper put them in front after 11 minutes, things looked good.
However, Hestrafors, who had lost their first two matches by heavier margins than North Wales, levelled through captain Mathias Svalin on 57 minutes.
Despite having to endure some late pressure, Coast held on for a deserved and historic point.
NORTH WALES COAST SQUAD: Gary Higham, Andrew Jones, Chris Evans, James Harper, Lee Beattie, Darren Cassidy, Michael Jones, Daniel Mills, Peter Evans, Sam McDougall, Gareth Walsh, Warren Adam (all Meliden); Steffan Whiteley (Mochdre Sports); Daniel Abbott, Andraes Alvarado (both Kinmel Bay); James Hay (Conwy Borough); Asa Thomas (Morawelon); Jordan Owen (St Asaph).
UEFA Regions Cup 2014-15
Under Chris Morrell, North Wales Coast retained the 2014/15 FAW Regions Cup, beating West Wales 2-1 in the final thanks to goals from Gavin Sharpe and a stunning last-gasp winner by Matthew Jones of Llannerchymedd.
This time they went onto the finals in Estonia and created history again by landing a first-ever Wales win, beating Northern Estonia 3-1 thanks to goals from Duncan Midgley, Anthony Parry and Ryan Jones.
Despite losing 1-0 to Dostyk and 2-1 against Sweden’s IV Vestergotland, Midgley the scorer, NWCFA eventually finished the tournament with six points as Dostyk of Kazakhstan fielded an ineligible player.
Bring back the North Wales Coast Under-18’s
During his successful stint with the seniors, Chris Morrell also managed the NWCFA Under-18’s.
Would it not be a good idea to bring this team back?
The Under 18s competed in an inter-association competition. Loads of top players emerged through this tournament over the years.
Morrell has emailed the Coast to ask if they would fancy setting that back up.
He said: “Can’t see why not as I don’t think there is any representative football anymore with the NWCFA, so personally I think it would be great.”
Restoring the Under-18’s would make more sense considering Grassroots football in Wales suffered another blow when it was announced last year that changes would be made to the way our country was represented in the UEFA Regions Cup.
Previously entering mainly Tier 4 and 5 players, the FAW gave the green light last December for Tier 2 talent to become eligible for national selection.