This weekend we will find out who will lift the first silverware of the season in the Welsh football pyramid as Bala Town face The New Saints in the Word Cup Final.
‘theWord’ are the competitions sponsors for the third year running.
We had a chance to hear from Carmarthen’s Paul Fowler who lifted the trophy the last two seasons, and this year sees last season’s runners up (Bala Town) challenge the previous season’s runners-up (TNS)!
The last three League Cup finals have gone to penalties and the last four finals have gone to extra time.
The first ever league cup was also won on penalties, Afan Lido beating Caersws in 1993.
TNS are the most successful club in the competition with 5 wins, then Barry Town with 4 cup wins (on the bounce).
Carmarthen, Caersws and Afan Lido have each won the trophy three times, while Bala have never lifted the cup.
Worse than that, Bala have never beaten The New Saints in any competition… but there’s a first time for everything!
Interesting fact! Not one of the three ever-present WPL clubs – Aberystwyth, Bangor & Newtown – have won the League Cup!
Bangor have appeared in six finals but lost every time, three times on penalties.
Winning the cup and the £10,000 would go a long way for small town Bala and to help keep a strong squad to push for that second place and an automatic European spot.
With TNS 11 points clear at the top of the WPL the other clubs are battling it out for that second place to qualify for the Europa League.
After completing the double last season TNS are on the right track to go one further and complete the treble this season, a feat that they’ve never achieved. The league cup is also the only trophy that current manager Craig Harrison hasn’t won with the club.
The treble has only been completed twice in the WPL – in 1996/97 by Barry Town and by Rhyl in 2003/04.
The final will be held at Latham Park and it will be the first ever Welsh final held on a 3G surface.
This might give TNS an advantage as they play their home games on the plastic at Park Hall where they haven’t lost since 24 November 2012 – 35 league matches.
But we all know to expect the unexpected in any cup final and it will certainly be a thrilling encounter between two clubs who are in great form playing attractive football.
Bala Town v The New Saints LIVE on S4C, Sunday 25 January with kick-off at 12.45