The first trophy of the season in the Welsh football calendar is up for grabs this Saturday as Barry Town from Welsh League Division One face Welsh Premier League champions The New Saints in the Nathaniel MG League Cup Final at Cyncoed Campus live on S4C with kick off at 17:15.
The New Saints (7) and Barry Town (4) are the two most successful clubs in the history of the Welsh League Cup with a combined total of 11 trophies between them.
The New Saints have won their last 12 League Cup fixtures and haven’t lost in the competition since October 2013 (Airbus 2-1 TNS – 3rd Round 2013/14).
Barry Town have reached the final for the first time in 16 years and hope to lift the trophy for first time in 17 years.
During their golden years Barry Town won the cup on four occasions – four consecutive years between 1996/97-1999/00.
TNS will be clear favourites to make it a hat-trick of League Cups and they will be eager to put last weekend’s disappointment behind them.
After breaking Ajax’s world record and winning 27 consecutive games in all competitions, TNS’ fantastic run of victories came to an end last Saturday with a 3-3 draw against Newtown as they conceded from an injury time free kick.
But the Saints are still in with a chance of lifting four trophies this season as they are only 10 points away from the league title, into the Welsh Cup 4th round, the Irn-Bru Cup semi final and could lift their first silverware of the season this weekend.
This will be their first meeting in the League Cup final, but they have previously met twice in the Welsh Cup final (1996 and 2001) – Llansantffraid winning in 1996 and Barry winning in 2001.
Barry have beaten Cambrian & Clydach (1-3 a.e.t), Caridff Met (1-0), Haverfordwest (7-1) and Carmarthen (1-0) to reach this season’s final.
After receving a byw to the second round TNS have knocked out Bala Town (2-1), Bangor City (0-2), and gap Connah’s Quay (0-1) to come this far in the competition.
The New Saints could not have had a tougher route to the final as they have had to face the teams that are 2nd, 3rd and 4th in the WPL. A much different story to last season when TNS avoided all Top Six sides on their way to lifting the cup (beat Holywell, Port Talbot, Carmarthen and Denbigh).
It will be a tough ask for Barry Town who are currently 2nd in Welsh League Division One, but with three games in hand we might see the old giants return to the top flight sooner rather than later.
The big question is how will The New Saints react after the disappointment of ending their winning streak… could we see a shock at Cyncoed, or will Craig Harrison’s side bounce back with a vengeance and take the first step towards an unprecedented ‘Quadruple’?
We shall see on Saturday!
Barry Town v The New Saints – LIVE on S4C this Saturday, 21 January at 16:45.
On this day in 2003, Wales lost 1-0 to Russia in front of 73,000 fans at the Millenium Stadium.