Welsh Cup final: Bala eyeing shock win over New Saints

By Aled WilliamsBBC Wales Sport
Bala Town v New Saints
New Saints have beaten Bala Town fives times in all competitions this season
JD Welsh Cup Final: Bala Town v New Saints
Date: Sunday, 30 April Venue: Bangor University Stadium, Bangor Kick-off: 14:00 BST

Bala Town will be aiming to achieve two firsts when they make their Welsh Cup final debut in Bangor on Sunday.

The Lakesiders will have to claim a first victory over holders and Welsh Premier League champions New Saints if they are to win the competition for the first time.

The club were playing in the Welsh National League (Wrexham Area) when Colin Caton took over as manager in 2003.

Since then they have progressed to Welsh football's top-flight, have been league runners-up twice and represented Wales in the Europa League on three occasions.

They are already assured of their place in Europe next season and Caton hopes they will be Welsh Cup winners when they begin their campaign in late June.

"It will rank as a great occasion for me to win it," Caton told BBC Wales Sport

"It's going to be a great day and hopefully there will be a shock on the cards.

Welsh Cup final 'reward' for Bala - Caton

"There's been a lot of shocks in the FA Cup this season and hopefully there will be a major shock in the Welsh Cup on Sunday."

Caton uses the word shock because his side have failed to beat Saints in 29 previous encounters since their promotion to the Welsh Premier League in 2009.

"They're as good as they should be," Caton said of the Oswestry-based club.

"We played them last Saturday and I don't think anybody expected the scoreline of 6-4 and for us to score four.

"That's the most we've scored against them and it was free-flowing football and we went for it on the day and it will be a bit similar to that on Sunday.

"We're not going to go and defend. We've got one chance and we're going to go for it."

"We're going to make it as difficult as we can."

Holders New Saints will be appearing in their ninth final and looking to secure the Cup for a seventh time.

"The Welsh Cup final means a lot to me," manager Craig Harrison told BBC Wales Sport.

"It's a very prestigious cup and one myself, the players and the staff will be doing everything we can to win it again."

Saints are on course for a third domestic Welsh treble having already won the Welsh Premier League title and the Nathaniel MG League Cup.

New Saints celebrate their Welsh Cup final win over Airbus UK
New Saints' victory over Airbus UK in 2016 was their sixth Welsh Cup final win

Sunday's game in Bangor will be Saints' fourth successive final and Harrison's fifth.

The former Crystal Palace and Middlesbrough defender considers the 2014 win over Aberystwyth Town at Wrexham's Racecourse Ground as his stand out moment from previous finals

"It was a very dramatic final," Harrison recalls.

"We were losing 2-0 at half-time and I had a few choice words. I made a couple of substitutions and we ended up winning the game 3-2.

"Greg Draper came off the bench and scored twice and Mike Wilde also scored.

"I wouldn't want every cup final to go like that - I like it to be a bit more straightforward than that.

"But it was a nice, dramatic way to win a special cup like the Welsh Cup."

Harrison's first Welsh Cup win was achieved the previous occasion Bangor City's Nantporth staged the final in 2012.

Saints beat Cefn Druids 2-0 that year and the Bangor University Stadium has been a happy hunting ground for Harrison's side.

They won 11 consecutive games there, including two Welsh Cup semi-final victories, but were beaten 3-0 by Bangor City on their most recent visit earlier in April.

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