Six of the best as The New Saints complete the double
The New Saints completed the domestic double on Sunday as Craig Harrison's league champions claimed the JD Welsh Cup for the ninth time with a convincing 6-0 win over Bala Town at Nantporth, the highest-scoring final since 1931.
The New Saints enjoyed the majority of the possession in the early exchanges and took a deserved lead after 19 minutes when leading goalscorer and Golden Boot winner Declan McManus scored his 33rd goal of the season. Ryan Astles played the ball up to Danny Redmond in the Bala Town area before he cut the ball back for McManus to finish, and further chances would fall to the cup holders but they could not extend their lead.
Despite the setback of the opening goal, Bala Town ended the opening half as the stronger side, and they were helped by The New Saints conceding a number of free-kicks on the edge of the area. Former Cymru midfielder Dave Edwards came close to equalising just before half-time, but his well-struck set-piece was superbly tipped over the bar by Connor Roberts in what was their best chance of the match.
Bala Town looked to continue where they left off from the restart as Ollie Shannon shot over the crossbar, but on 51 minutes The New Saints took control of the match as Danny Redmond weaved his way through the Bala Town defence to double the advantage. Five minutes later the game was made safe as Ryan Brobbel found himself in space and curled the ball past Alex Ramsey to make it 3-0 to the holders.
With Colin Caton resigned to switching his attention to the play-offs, Bala Town trio Kieran Smith, Lassana Mendes and captain Chris Venables were replaced on the hour mark. The New Saints had opportunities to further extend their lead as they dominated possession, and it was substitutes Jordan Williams and Adrian Cieslewicz who added to the scoreline in the final moments. Brobbel then claimed his second goal of the game to complete the scoring before referee Nick Pratt brought the tie to an end.
No repeat of 2017 – Bala Town made history in the 2017 JD Welsh Cup Final as they claimed a famous 2-1 win over The New Saints to prevent Craig Harrison's side from completing the treble-treble. With the two teams meeting at the same venue six years later there was plenty of talk of history repeating, but a convincing display from The New Saints ensured there would no surprise this time around. The New Saints have now defeated Bala Town five times in all competitions this season.
Harrison delivers another double – Craig Harrison returned to Park Hall for a second spell as manager in August last year and immediately delivered by completing the double. Winning the JD Cymru Premier by a massive 22 points and suffering just one defeat in the process, The New Saints continue to dominate the domestic game and will now look to make an impression in Europe next season with another shot at the UEFA Champions League.
Euro-bound Penybont – It wasn't just The New Saints that were celebrating on Sunday as their victory means that Penybont will compete in Europe for the first time in their history next season having qualified for the UEFA Europa Conference League as a result of finishing third in the JD Cymru Premier. Colin Caton and his Bala Town side must now focus on the play-offs if they are to return to the European stage following their defeat.
The New Saints were always favourites to complete the domestic double this afternoon and Craig Harrison's side did not disappoint as they eased past a hard-working Bala Town side at a sunny Nantporth. Having dominated matters in the JD Cymru Premier this season, The New Saints are clearly on a different level to their league rivals and the focus now will be on preparing for a return to the UEFA Champions League in the summer. Bala Town had a decent spell just before half-time, but they never had enough to prevent The New Saints from retaining the trophy with a dominant display.
The New Saints XI: Roberts (GK), Marriott (c), Astles, Routledge (D.Williams 80), Daniels (Cieslewicz 80), Brobbel, McManus (J.Williams 74), Redmond, Hudson, Smith (Clark 66), Davies.
Unused subs: Simpson (GK).
Manager: Craig Harrison
Goals: McManus (19), Redmond (51), Brobbel (56, 90+1), J.Williams (87), Cieslewicz (88),
Yellow Cards: Astles (78).
Red Cards: None.
Bala Town XI: Ramsay (GK), Peate, Mendes (Wall 64), Venables (c) (White 62), Smith (Newell 62), Kay, Burke, Rutherford (Davies 88), Edwards, Arsan, Shannon.
Unused subs: Lloyd (GK).
Manager: Colin Caton
Yellow Cards: Venables (21), Mendes (25), Shannon (51)
Red Cards: None.
Referee: Nick Pratt.
Assistant referees: Daniel Beckett & Harry Hendricks.
Fourth official: Thomas Owen.
1st additional assistant: Connor Fowler.