WELSH CUP QUARTER-FINAL PREVIEWS – FEBRUARY 6, 2022
Bethel v Cardiff Met (2 pm – Cae Seilo, Felinheli)
Bethel will have to drastically change the course of history if they are to reach the Welsh Cup semi-finals on Sunday.
Standing their way is a Cardiff Met side which has never lost a league match to North Wales opposition.
Since the women’s Welsh Premier became fully national in 2012/13, the students have faced clubs from the north 38 times, winning 36 games and drawing two.
Wrexham, Northop Hall, Caernarfon Town, Llandudno Junction, Llandudno, Rhyl FC and Rhyl & Prestatyn all tried and failed to derail the Met express before the northern contingent disappeared completely from the WPWL in 2019-20.
Back in 2013/14, Wrexham held the Cardiff outfit 3-3 at home, but the team which came closest to breaking the jinx was Rhyl in 2017/18.
In February 2018, goals from Laura Williams and Rebecca Bannister had put the Lilywhites 2-1 up, only for Met to equalise controversially in the 90th minute.
I am not aware if Met have ever lost a cup game to a North Wales team, but based on league stats it seems highly unlikely.
So what chance do Bethel, who are on a run of three straight league defeats in the tier 2 Genero Adran North, have of toppling a Met outfit on a nine-game winning streak and lying second in the Adran Premier ?
The students are coming off the back of a penalties victory over mighty Swansea City in the Adran Trophy quarter-finals last weekend.
Bethel have been in the Welsh Cup quarters twice before, losing 4-2 at home to Cardiff City FC Women in 2016-17 and 4-0 at Swansea City in 2019-20. The Caernarfon area village side performed really well in both ties.
If they can reach those standards again, they are capable of giving Met a difficult test.
Swansea City v Pwllheli (2 pm)
Three-time Welsh Cup winners Swansea City present a massive hurdle for North Wales travellers Pwllheli.
Current leaders of the tier 1 Genero Adran Premier, the Swans are undefeated in the league all season – 14 matches without a loss.
Having crashed out of the Adran Trophy on penalties to Cardiff Met last weekend, City will be doubly determined to remain in the Welsh Cup.
For tier 2 Genero Adran North visitors Pwllheli, the task was hard enough with a full squad, but the fact taliswoman and set-piece specialist Katie Bowe will miss the journey to South Wales through work and the experienced Hayley Rees-Williams is out due to illness means an even tougher assignment for the Llŷn Peninsula ladies.
Pwllheli actually reached the Welsh Cup final back in 2005-06, losing to Cardiff City.
With inspirational player-manager Erica Jones leading them, they are sure to put up a great battle, as they did in losing just 3-0 to Cardiff City FC Women in the Adran Trophy recently.
Pwll have done well to get past Llandudno and Rhyl on the way to the last eight.
Other quarter-final ties
Cardiff City Women FC v Abergavenny
Pontypridd v Barry Town United