The FAW Youth Cup Final takes place at Airbus UK Broughton FC on Sunday as Flint Town United and The New Saints look to lift the trophy. The match kicks off at 2:30pm.
The competition has not been played since 2019 due to the pandemic when Swansea City last claimed the cup. However, a new name will be added to the trophy this weekend and both managers are excited for the challenge ahead. “They are always difficult games against Flint Town United at any age and as a club they have improved a lot in the past 12 months,” explained Simon Smith of The New Saints. “They have some excellent players and a good team spirit and will make it extremely difficult for us to break them down, but I think if we match their work rate and attitude we can make it difficult for them. Anything can happen in a final so we are looking forward to the game.”
The New Saints have claimed convincing victories over Cefn Druids and Caernarfon Town to reach the semi-final of the competition, and then eased past Penybont to book their place in the final despite conceding an early goal. Joshua Roseberry-Beamond was the hat-trick hero for Smith's side in the 4-1 win before Joshua Lock added the fourth. “I thought the semi final was a great advert for youth football in Wales,” Smith added. “Penybont certainly made us work for the win, but the way we play we are going to make mistakes that lead to goal scoring opportunities. The reaction from boys to get back in the game and then really show what they are about in the second half was brilliant to see.”
Flint Town United have had a tougher run to the final, and manager Danny Bell has overseen two penalty shoot-out victories in order for his side to book their place in Sunday's final. The campaign started with a 6-2 win over Brickfield Rangers, but penalties were then required to see off the challenge of Buckley Town. A 3-1 win over Barry Town United followed, but Caerau Ely took the side all the way to penalties in the semi-final after a 1-1 draw. Ben Hughes, Harvey Andrews, Harley Brindley-Peagram and James Dunseath all converted from the spot, while goalkeeper Aiden Johnson contributed with a decisive save in the shoot-out.
“To win two penalty shoot-outs is impressive,” said Bell. “Of course, we would of liked to have won the game in 90 minutes, but football doesn’t always go as planned and the players had to dig deep. We have reflected from the semi final as a group very quickly, and this area of the players development is extremely important at our level. They are really showing their improvement throughout this competition. The current staff of Andy Kelly, Russell Williams, Dan Connell, Aden Shannon and myself are very proud of their achievements this season.”
Bell has some inside knowledge of The New Saints ahead of the final, and understands what his side can expect on Sunday. “During my three years at The New Saints I coached a number of their current group of players and understand the quality they have. But our players are well aware of the challenge, and in my opinion, they can compete with The New Saints and will give it their all. This final is huge for our club. We have a number of volunteers who work at the ground who played in the last Youth Cup final for the club back in 1967. They have been mentioning it to me the past couple of weeks and expressing their excitement.”