The return of competitive football has attracted plenty of interest and there is another exciting weekend of action ahead as the JD Welsh Cup Qualifying Round 2 takes place with a host fixtures across the country.
The opening qualifying round took place a fortnight ago and there were no shortage of goals as a number of clubs returned to competitive action for the first time since March 2020 in style. Bodedern Athletic recorded the biggest victory of the opening round as they eased past Bodorgan 11-0, and their reward is an away match against Y Fali at Parc Mwd on Saturday (2pm).
Sam Gregson and Marc Evans both registered hat-tricks in the opening round tie with Ryan Taylor, Tom Wood, Casey Boylan and a brace from Asa Thomas completing the scoring. Coincidently, Bodedern Athletic and Y Fali met last weekend in the opening round of the FAW Trophy and claimed a 9-0 win. Evans claimed a further hat-trick while Thomas added another two goals to his early season tally.
But while Y Fali will know that they will be in for another tough test this weekend, the bigger picture makes the match a reason to celebrate for the side from Anglesey. Just a few weeks ago the very future of the club looked bleak, but a strong community spirit responded to their public call for help and ensured that they were in a position to start the new campaign as new and existing players rallied around manager Dan Jones.
Another high-scoring fixture marked the start of a new era in the opening round as Rhyl 1879 claimed a 10-0 victory over Rhyl Dragons. It was the first competitive match for the phoenix club formed after Rhyl FC were dissolved in April 2020, and their first game at their Belle Vue Stadium. “Thank you for the hundreds of fans who came to support,” said manager Gareth Thomas after the match. “It’s great to see big numbers back at Belle Vue after a challenging eighteen months for everyone”.
Veteran striker Carl Lamb scored an impressive five goals in the victory, with Chris Bennett, Mike Walsh, Reece Fairhurst, Elliott Evans and a penalty from Macauley Taylor rounding off the win on a memorable night for those who remember the glory days of the former club. The Lilywhites will now host Prestatyn Sports on Saturday (2pm) as they look to emulate of Welsh Cup success of Rhyl FC, who last lifted the trophy for the fourth and final time in their history back in 2005/06.
Meanwhile, there were also plenty of goals in the south as Abertillery Excelsiors made light work of Pentwynmawr Athletic in the opening round as a brace each from Thomas York and Danny Hillman helped the side to a 8-1 win at the Jim Owen Field. The side from the Ardal South East will now play league rivals Monmouth Town on Saturday (2pm) after they eased past 2002/03 Welsh Cup runners-up Cwmbran Town 3-0 two weeks ago, with Joe Ogugua scoring twice in the win.
But while some clubs were claiming big victories in the opening round, plenty of goals did not necessarily make for a comfortable afternoon for some clubs. Fairwater edged a ten-goal thriller against Ely Rangers at Poplar Park to progress with a 6-4 win. The margin of victory should have been greater for the home side, but a second goal for Ely Rangers substitute Darren Townsend made it 6-3 before a late fourth from Luke Trezise kept Fairwater on their toes until the final whistle.
The JD Welsh Cup story for Fairwater now continues at the Ocean Park Arena on Saturday as they take on Cardiff rivals Clwb Cymric (2.15pm). Rhys Withers was the hero for Clwb Cymric in the opening round as he scored the only goal of the game against Bridgend Street on the hour mark. With 55 fixtures taking place this weekend across Friday night and Saturday afternoon, there will be a game close relatively close to wherever you are in the country, and the clubs involved will appreciate your valued support.
PLAYER OF QUALIFYING ROUND 1
Chris Bristow (Cwmbach Royal Stars) - Bristow normally plays centre half for the second team but with two goalkeepers injured, he stepped up and did really well in the game. Then, when the tie went to penalties, he saved two to send his side into the next round.
Bristow will be presented with his award on Saturday in Cwmbach Royal Stars JD Welsh Cup Qualifying Round 2 tie away at Ynyshir Albions.
CYMRU FOOTBALL APP
Follow all the JD Welsh Cup Qualifying Round 2 matches with live updates in the Cymru Football App on your smart devices.
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JD WELSH CUP ROUND 1 DRAW
The JD Welsh Cup Draw Show for Round 1 will take place on Monday, 26 July from 8:00pm across the FAW’s Facebook and YouTube Channels.