Bethel triumph on penalties to reach Welsh Cup quarters after epic battle with Nomads

Fflur Williams heads home Bethel’s last-gasp equaliser. Picture: PATRICK CAIN

FAW WOMEN’S WELSH CUP

Bethel 2 (M Gibbard 26, Fflur Williams 90+)
Connah’s Quay Nomads 2 (Bloor 5, Kural 90)
Bethel won 5-4 on penalties

One of the most dramatic Welsh Cup ties in living memory saw Bethel advance to the last eight on penalties.

While every home player was a hero on the day, star billing must go to keeper Sioned Hughes-Williams, who saved a spot-kick in the dying seconds of normal time before keeping out the decisive pen in the shoot-out to clinch the tie.

Ben Bolton’s side are now into the Welsh Cup quarter-finals for a third time, having met Cardiff City FC Women in 2016-17 and Swansea City in 2019-20.

Having won 3-0 at the San Seilo in the Genero Adran Trophy seven days earlier, Nomads began this quick return match confidently and took the lead on five minutes when Chelsea Bloor headed home from a free kick.

From here Bethel took control of the game, with the front line piling on the pressure and the midfield winning their battles.

The hosts went close when Yasmin Williams whipped in a cross that evaded the Quay keeper but no attacking player could get a touch.

The tie was level after 26 minutes. Ffion Williams’ corner was met by Mari Gibbard, whose header looped over the goalkeeper and into the net.

Bethel were given a glorious chance to head into the break in the lead when Ffion Williams was brought down in the box, but captain Gwenno Bolton’s penalty struck the crossbar.

The second half was one-way traffic. Bethel created a number of chances, both Ffion Williams and Gibbard forcing good saves from opposing goalkeeper Charlie Bolland.

Nomads then turned the tables when Kirstie Kural’s wonder-strike looked to have won the match with just minutes remaining.

However, even with time running short, Bethel showed heart and courage to get back into the game.

In added time, Shona Roberts whipped a wicked cross into the area, and the ball flicked off a Nomads defender’s head to Fflur Williams, who rose to nod back across goal and into the far corner.

A poacher’s effort reminiscent of her father Euryn Williams, scorer of 683 goals for Bro Cernyw and Llanrwst United in a brilliant career.

As the game was surely heading to penalties the unthinkable happened. A poorly-timed tackle in the penalty area gifted the visitors a glorious chance to take the tie, but Sioned Hughes-Williams chose correctly and made a save to her left corner from Kural’s kick.

A tense penalty shootout followed……..

Gwenno Bolton bravely stepped up first after previously missing and scored.
Quay’s first penalty taker Cat King struck the post handing Bethel the advantage.
Mari Gibbard put away her penalty. Quay replied.
Ffion Williams was third and made no mistake. Again Quay found the net.
The usually deadly spot-kick specialist Katie Midwinter unfortunately struck the post and as Quay were successful theirs, it was level at 3-3.
Fflur Williams was Bethel’s fifth taker and she buried hers. Quay also converted to take the shoot-out to sudden death.
Defender Kelly Jones smashed home a very accurate penalty then once again, player of the match and hero Sioned Hughes-Williams made a great save from Kylie Jones to send the Bethel faithful into raptures and the team into the hat for the quarter finals.

Bethel
Sioned Hughes-Williams, Jody Cain, Jenna Allsup (Katie Midwinter 66), Yasmin Williams, Kelly Jones, Shona Roberts, Shannon Jade Jones (Catrin Wyn Thomas 66), Gwenno Bolton, Ffion Williams, Mari Gibbard, Fflur Williams.

Nomads
Charlie Bolland, Chelsea Bloor, Llinos Hughes, Cat King, Emily Luke, Tamara Hamer, Noelani Bouckley, Niamh Grimshaw, Jade Davies (Jade Scott 50), Kylie Jones, Kirstie Kural.

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