Breese puts wind up Barry
Early strike sets up Cofis for another famous cup win
GIANT-KILLERS Caernarfon Town have landed a plum tie at home to Welsh Premier League champions The New Saints in the last 16 of the 2017/18 JD Welsh Cup.
The Canaries, who knocked out Barry Town United of the WPL last Sunday and reached the semifinals last season, will renew rivalries with six-time cup winners TNS in round four come the end of January.
Caernarfon hosted the full-timers in the 2014/15 competition and led 2-0 at The Oval before the Park Hall outfit battled back to win 3-2 on their way to lifting the trophy.
Town also put up a fine show at TNS in the Nathaniel MG Cup earlier this season despite going down 2-0. Next month’s clash could prove every bit as exciting as the first Welsh Cup classic with the Cofis top of the Huws Gray Alliance and determined to prove again that they belong in the top flight.
Sean Eardley’s heroes, who eliminated Welsh Premier teams Carmarthen and Rhyl en route to the last four of the cup last season, turned on the magic again last Sunday by dumping out top-flighters Barry. There was early drama at The Oval when Barry livewire Kayne McLaggon went down in the box under challenge from Joe Williams, but no penalty was given.
Soon after, fine build-up between Joe Williams and Clive Williams set up Jamie Breese to apply a cool fourth-minute finish to edge the Cofis ahead. Watched by a crowd of 1,150, Caernarfon were well on top in the first half, Mike Lewis performing marvels to keep out a Nathan Craig free kick and producing a couple more good stops.
At the other end, Alex Ramsay made a miraculous save to deny Drew Fahiya after McLaggon had caused havoc. Then right on half time, Craig made it 2-0 with a sublime free kick from 25 yards.
After the break, the Welsh Premier visitors pushed hard to get back into the game, Ramsay doing well to push a Callum Sainty effort over before Fahiya struck the post.
But the Canaries would not be knocked off their perch.
A delighted boss Eardley said after the game: “Everyone was dead on their feet at the end, but the Cofi Army pulled us through. They were tremendous – as were the Barry supporters. Two good footballing sides went at it and we’re delighted to be in the next round.”
A sporting Eardley also felt Barry were unlucky not to be awarded the early penalty.
“We’d have called for it had it happened at the other end,” he said. “Sometimes you get those, sometimes you don’t.”
Man of the match Craig added: “We proved again today where this club should be. It was vital that we got the early goal and to score a second just before half time was crucial.”
Caernarfon, three points clear at the HGA summit, return to league combat this Saturday with a trip to Caersws.
● Jamie Breese of Caernarfon Town celebrates his opening goal against Barry Town with the players enjoying claiming another scalp (below)