This Saturday, Bala and Carmarthen will go head to head to see who will lift the first silverware of the season in the Word Cup Final.
Carmarthen are the cup holders and Aizlewood’s boys will be determined to keep their hands on the trophy when the teams meet at the neutral ground of Park Avenue, Aberystwyth this weekend.
The final will be Bala Town’s fifth game in the competition this season.
They have won four matches to reach the final – double the amount Carmarthen have had to win – and three of those wins were against Welsh Premier League sides.
In the first round, Bala won comfortably against a strong Bangor side.
Bala travelled to Conwy for the second round with their top scorer this season, Mark Connolly, having to play in goal for the full 90 minutes!
A win away at Rhyl in the last eight meant the Lakesiders faced Airbus in the semi final, and a 2-1 win put Bala in the final for the first time in their history.
It’s been a much easier path for the holders to reach this far as they were given somewhat of a shortcut to the final!
Carmarthen have only had to win two games to reach the final this year after they were given a bye to the last eight of the competition!
Their two matches were against opponents from lower leagues – Caersws from the Huws Gray Alliance and Cambrian & Clydach from Macwhirter’s Division 1.
After a comfortable win against Caersws, it was a tougher task for Carmarthen in the semi final – Cambrian & Clydach went two goals up before half time, but the holders hit back to win 3-2 in extra time.
It was 3-3 after 90 minutes – the Saints scoring first, Carmarthen drawing level, the Saints going ahead again, Carmarthen equalizing once more then going in front for the first time in the match before the Saints grabbed a late equalizer.
From the spot, Fraughan and Seargeant’s efforts flew over the bar for The New Saints and with Stephen Cann saving Paul Harrison’s penalty – the two keepers going head to head – Carmarthen won the cup.
The only other time Carmarthen have lifted the League Cup was in 2005 – beating Rhyl 2-0 on Latham Park after extra time.
The New Saints are the competitions most prolific winners, lifting the League Cup on five occasions, Barry Town in second place winning four times (on the bounce!) and Caersws and Afan Lido have lifted the cup three times each.
Carmarthen, the holders are hoping to lift the cup for the third time in their history while Bala Town are looking to lift the cup for the first time.
The League Cup final has been decided on penalties on 7 occasions including the last two seasons. The last three finals have gone to extra time.
The League Cup was first won in 1993 when Afan Lido beat Caersws on penalties.
Interesting Fact! Not one of the three teams that have played in every seasons League Cup competition – Aberystwyth, Bangor and Newtown – have won the cup! Bangor have reached the final on 6 different occasions but have lost each one of those finals (three of those losses after penalties).
38 clubs have featured in the Welsh Premier League since 1992 but only 8 clubs have won the League Cup.
‘theWord’ are the sponsors of the competition. They are a company who provide fixed lines, mobile and broadband to unify business communications.
On this day in 1961 one of the legends of Welsh football - Ian Rush - was born.