It’s Welsh Cup weekend and the 12 Welsh Premier League clubs join the 20 teams from the lower leagues who’ve managed to reach the third round this season.
Bangor v Holyhead Hotspur | Friday – 19:45
Holyhead Hotspur will make the short trip over the Menai Bridge on Friday night to face Gary Taylor-Fletcher’s Citizens in an all Huws Gray Alliance tie.
The clubs have already met once at Nantporth this season in a 1-1 draw in the league.
But since then, Hotspur have been struggling and have slid to the bottom of the table, while Bangor have won eight of their last nine games in all competitions.
Bangor City have a rich history in the Welsh Cup, having won the competition on eight occasions, but it’s been nine years since the Citizens last lifted the cup.
To reach the third round this season, Bangor have beaten Mold Alexandra (4-2) and Cefn Albion (6-1), while Holyhead Hotspur have knocked out Corwen (4-2) and Ruthin (3-1).
Prestatyn v Caernarfon | Friday – 19:45
The Cofis travel to Bastion Gardens on Friday night to face the 2013 Welsh Cup winners, Prestatyn.
After dropping from the WPL last season, local legend Neil Gibson has returned to Prestatyn to try and steer the club from slipping further down the leagues as the Seasiders currently find themselves at the wrong end of the Huws Gray Alliance table.
Prestatyn have seen off New Brighton Villa (5-1) and Berriew (6-3) to reach this stage of the Welsh Cup.
Caernarfon reached the semi final in 2017, but the Cofis have never made into the Welsh Cup final, and Sean Eardley will be hoping for a good run cup for the Canaries this season.
Barry Town v Penybont | Friday – 19:45
Barry Town have won the Welsh Cup on six occasions, but it’s been a long 16 years since they last had their hands on the prize.
Gavin Chesterfield’s men are enjoying a fine season in the WPL and Penybont face a tough challenge at Jenner Park.
Under the guidance of manager Rhys Griffiths, Penybont are pushing for promotion up into the top flight.
It will be a special occasion for Penybont midfielder, James Saddler, who returns to Jenner Park where he captained Barry Town from the fourth tier of Welsh football into the Premier League.
Penybont have had to beat Panteg (1-3) and Aberbargoed Buds (0-2) to reach this stage of the competition.
Cwmbrân Celtic v The New Saints | Saturday – 13:30
At Torfaen, Cwmbrân Celtic of Welsh League Division One will host six time Welsh Cup winners, and Welsh Premier League champions, The New Saints.
But TNS have failed to claim the cup in the last two seasons, losing to Connah’s Quay in the quarter final last term following a cup final defeat to Bala Town the previous year.
Cwmbrân Celtic have knocked out Ammanford (3-0) and Sully Sports (1-3) to reach the third round of the Welsh Cup.
Cwmamman Utd v Aberystwyth | Saturday – 13:30
After reaching the final twice in the last four years, Aberystwyth will aim to go one step further this season and lift the Welsh Cup for only the second time in their history.
It’s been more than a decade since Aberystwyth had their hands on the Welsh Cup in 1900.
Cwmamman Utd of Welsh League Division One have had the better of Dinas Powys (4-0) and Blaenrhondda (2-1) in the Welsh Cup thus far.
Airbus UK v Porthmadog | Saturday – 14:30
Airbus UK are on track to make a return to the WPL following their relegation in 2017, as they are currently miles ahead of the pack in the Huws Gray Alliance having won all 14 league games this season.
But Porthmadog are also in fine form and are unbeaten in nine matches (won 8, drawn 1)
Airbus UK were in fact the last team to beat Port back in September (1-2), and Craig Papyrnik’s boys will be seeking revenge on Saturday.
The Wingmakers glided past Penycae (0-4) and Llay Miners (9-1) to reach the third round, while Porthmadog also enjoyed comfortable wins against Pwllheli (0-3) and Llanfair Utd (1-4).
Briton Ferry Llansawel v Llandudno | Saturday – 14:30
Birton Ferry Llansawel are one of nine Welsh League Division One clubs who are looking to progress into the Welsh Cup fourth round.
Llandudno, who are on a disappointing run of 10 league games without a win will relish the chance to boost their confidence with a cup run.
Briton Ferry Llansawel saw off Caerau Ely (1-0) and Treharris Athletic (3-4) to book their place in the third round.
Guilsfield v Connah’s Quay | Saturday – 14:30
Aftter lifting the Welsh Cup for the first time in their history, the current holders, Connah’s Quay will start their defence of the cup on Saturday with a trip to Guilsfield.
The Nomads saw off Cwmbrân Celtic, Porthmadog, The New Saints, Bangor and Aberystwyth to get their name on the historic cup last May.
Guilsfield reached the quarter final in 2017 but lost out to eventual winners, Bala Town.
Guilsfield of the Huws Gray Alliance have already beaten Rhostyllen (2-0) and Dyffryn Nantlle Vale (4-3) in the Welsh Cup this season.
Denbigh v Cambrian & Clydach | Saturday – 14:30
Denbigh Town of the Huws Gray Alliance will be hoping to achieve what four WPL clubs have failed to do this season, which is beating Welsh League Division One side, Cambrian & Clydach.
Remarkably, Cambrian & Clydach have reached the Nathaniel MG Cup final this season, seeing off Barry Town, Aberystwyth, Newtown and The New Saints of the Welsh Premier League.
Cambrian & Clydach will need to take another WPL scalp in the final if they are to complete the fairytale against Cardiff Met on the 19th of January.
Denbigh have recorded victories against Holyhead Town (9-3) and Buckley (1-3) to reach the third round of the Welsh Cup, while Cambrian & Clydach have knocked out Port Talbot (5-0) and Caldicot (2-3).
Goytre Utd v Carmarthen | Saturday – 14:30
With wins against Penlan (0-1) and Pontyclun (1-0) Goytre Utd have reached the Welsh Cup third round without conceding a goal and by scoring only twice.
Carmarthen lifted the cup in 2007, and after a tough start to the season, Neil Smothers’ side will be looking forward to challenging themselves in this competition.
Goytre Utd of the Port Talbot area are currently sitting in mid-table in the Welsh League Division One league.
Haverfordwest v Pontypridd | Saturday – 14:30
In the only tie between two Welsh League Division One sides, Haverfordwest will host Pontypridd at Dôl-y-Bont.
With the help of the evergreen Lee Trundle, Haverfordwest have beaten STM Sports (1-2) and Swansea University (4-3) to reach this stage, while Pontypridd have claimed wins against Llanidloes (1-2) and Goytre (6-3).
Haverfordwest reached the semi final in 2005, and with home advantage, the Bluebirds will be slight favourites to secure a place in the fourth round.
Llangefni v Llanelli | Saturday – 14:30
Llangefni are one of only two clubs left in the Welsh Cup that play their football in a league lower than the top two tiers in Wales.
But Cefni couldn’t be much closer to the second tier as they are currently top of the Welsh Alliance in the third tier.
Since being introduced in the second qualifying round, Llangefni have knocked out Saltney (4-0), Borth Utd (2-0) and St Asaph (5-1).
WPL side Llanelli, who were the 2011 Welsh Cup winners will travel over 150 miles to Cae Bob Parry on Saturday hoping to avoid an early exit.
Ton Pentre v Cardiff Met | Saturday – 14:30
Cardiff Met have already booked their place in one final this season, as they will take on Cambrian & Clydach in the Nathaniel MG Cup final on January 19th at Jenner Park.
In 1999, Inter Cardiff won the Welsh Cup, but since the club joined forces with UWIC to form the present club Cardiff Met, they have failed to get past the quarter final stage.
Ton Pentre secured wins against Pencoed (3-1) and Cwmbrân Town (1-2) to reach the third round stage this year.
Newtown v Rhyl | Saturday – 14:30
At Latham Park, two time Welsh Cup winners Newtown, will face four time winners Rhyl.
Its been a long wait since Newtown last won the cup in 1895, but Rhyl on the other hand lifted the cup as recent as 2006.
These two clubs went head to head in the 2014/15 Welsh Cup semi final where Newtown won 2-1 at The Rock before going on to lose 2-0 against The New Saints in the final.
Rhyl’s Lilywhites have had to get past Conwy (1-2) and Caersws (3-1) to book their place in this season’s third round and they are currently on a glorious run of seven consecutive wins.
Ynysddu Welfare v Cefn Druids | Saturday – 14:30
Ynysddu Welfare of the fifth tier is by far the lowest ranked club remaining in the competition, 62 positions below Cefn Druids in the football pyramid.
The Gwent County League side have caused several upsets to get this far since starting their Welsh Cup campaign in the first qualifying round back in September – Machen (2-1), Croesyceiliog (2-3 a.e.t), Taffs Well (2-1), Monmouth (1-3).
Cefn Druids have won the cup on eight occasions and played in the first ever final in 1878 where they lost 1-0 vs Wrexham.
But in the last two seasons, the Druids have been knocked out by lower league opposition (Llanrhaeadr and Llanfair), so they will have to be on their guard if they are to avoid another embarrassment at Pontllanfraith.
Flint Town Utd v Bala Town | Saturday – 19:30 (S4C)
The Sgorio cameras will broadcast live from Cae-y-Castell for the first time as Flint Town United welcome Bala Town for the third round of the JD Welsh Cup on Saturday the 8th of December at 7:20 with kick off at 7:30.
Flint Town United are second in the Huws Gray Alliance and are fighting for a place in next season’s Welsh Premier League.
Fans of the WPL will remember their manager, Niall McGuinness, who was the league’s youngest ever manager when in charge of Rhyl.
Flint’s one to watch is the former Bangor and Connah’s Quay attacking midfielder, Mark Cadwallader who had hit double figures in the Huws Gray scoring charts.
Flint Town United have beaten Gresford (3-2) and Llanrhaeadr (1-2) in this season’s competition with Niall McGuinness’ side hoping for a shock result on Cae-y-Castell against Bala Town in the third round.
Bala Town won their first Welsh Cup title in 2017 – defeating The New Saints 2-1 – but failed to pass the third round last season losing 4-0 to Aberystwyth.
Colin Caton’s men will hope for a better performance in this year’s competition with European football at stake.
Welsh Cup third round highlights will be on Sgorio this Monday at 5:30 on S4C.