West is best as Pembs duo claim final spots
THE final of the West Wales FA Intermediate Cup is going to be an all-Pembrokeshire duel between Merlins Bridge and Carew.
In the first of the semi-finals at Bridge Meadow, it took penalties to settle the tie between Merlins Bridge and Hakin United.
Although Merlins Bridge created the better chances in the opening half, it was Hakin who broke the deadlock in the 27th minute through a 20-yard strike from Nicky Woodrow. That proved to be the only goal in the first 45 minutes.
Merlins Bridge were unlucky to be trailing but continued to press and got their reward in the 67th minute when the unmarked Laurie Haworth equalised.
When Joe Leahy shot Merlins Bridge ahead for the first time in the 96th minute it looked as if they might have done enough, but with just two minutes left there was another twist when the referee awarded Hakin a penalty for a foul in the box on Shane Walsh.
Justin Harding gave the keeper no chance with his spotkick to make it 2-2.
And in sudden death, Merlins Bridge secured their place in the final when keeper Gary Thomas saved a penalty by Jimmy Walker.
In the second semi-final, Neath League Premier division side Giants Grave saw their dream of playing at the Liberty Stadium dashed when beaten 4-2 by Carew at Garden Village FC
Carew were forced on to the back foot in the early stages and in the seventh minute conceded a penalty when skipper Iwan Izzard handled in the box. Richard Evans obliged with his spot-kick.
But there was no sign of what was to come, and in a remarkable 14-minute spell before half-time the tie was turned on its head.
Sam Christopher, who turned on the edge of the penalty area, triggered a Carew fightback when he scored an equaliser in the 28th minute.
Three minutes later Carew were ahead for the first time thanks to Lloyd Hughes. A couple more goals from Christopher and Hughes gave Carew a commanding 4-1 lead at the break.
Although Evans, with his second goal of the game, pulled one back soon after the break for Giants Grave, it could not rescue their cause.
The final is scheduled for the Liberty Stadium on Tuesday, May 7 (7.30pm).