Match report by DAFYDD JONES – Y Clwb Pel-Droed
Connah’s Quay Nomads have been crowned champions of the Nathaniel MG Cup for a second time in their history after a 3-0 win over STM Sports.
A first-half double from Michael Wilde and Jamie Insall’s spectacular volley were enough for the Nomads to claim the first piece of silverware on offer this season.
The Nomads won the tournament back in 1996, beating Ebbw Vale, but have only come close since then, falling at the semi-final hurdle in each of the last four seasons.
In Andy Morrison’s fourth final as manager, the Nomads secure their second trophy under the former Manchester City defender, having also won the Welsh Cup in 2018.
Significantly, the Nomads have also secured their place in next season’s Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Scottish Challenge Cup, a competition that they were agonisingly close to winning last season.
STM Sports will be proud of their efforts in their debut season in the competition, having beaten JD Cymru Premier sides Newtown and Aberystwyth on their way to the final.
The Nomads came out of the blocks quickly and applied early pressure on the JD Cymru South side.
Referee, Bryn Markham-Jones, was called into action in the opening five minutes as Danny Holmes crossed for Michael Wilde, who felt he was pushed in the back. Markham-Jones waved away the Nomads’ protests.
STM Sports grew into the game early-on, with key man Marcus Jones at the heart of their attacks.
Jones’ direct run in the twelfth minute resulted in the Mellons’ biggest chance of the first half, as he found himself in space on the edge of the box, only to fire an effort wide.
JD Cymru Premier high-flyers, Connah’s Quay Nomads, then took control of the game and put the underdogs under immense pressure.
Jamie Insall found himself clear of the STM Sports’ defence with just Benjamin Boyer to beat. The striker’s attempted chip flew agonisingly over the bar.
The Nomads broke the deadlock just before the half-hour mark as a corner was played short to Michael Bakare.
The winger’s cross was inch-perfect for danger-man Michael Wilde to head home.
Andy Morrison’s side’s tails were up in a frantic spell of numerous chances for the Nomads.
Jay Owen’s delivery from a free-kick was within inches of Michael Wilde; the ball just evaded the striker, to the relief of Benjamin Boyer in the STM Sports’ goal.
The Nomads thought they had a second in the 35th minute as Benjamin Boyer dropped the ball under pressure from Michael Wilde. Midfielder Callum Morris tapped home, only for the offside flag to be raised against Wilde.
Michael Wilde grabbed his second minutes before half-time as the Nomads proved too strong for the STM Sports defence.
Left-back Kris Owens drove forward with pace and put in a fantastic cross for Wilde to head home emphatically to double the Nomads’ lead.
Despite STM Sports’ early resistance, Andy Morrison’s men showed their quality to go into the break with a 2-0 lead.
The Nomads started the second-half much as they ended the first, as a long-ball up to Wilde was headed across the box by the target-man in the direction of Jamie Insall. The latter hit a spectacular volley into the top corner to add the third.
Andy Morrison’s men dominated proceedings in the second half, controlling possession, with Lewis Brass, for the most part, a spectator.
The scoreline would have been much heavier if it hadn’t been for the efforts of Benjamin Boyer in the STM Sports goal.
Priestley Farquharson had a glorious chance to make it 4-0 as he wriggled free in the area, only for Boyer to heroically push his effort wide.
The chances for the Nomads kept coming, as Craig Curran went close to scoring on debut; his header was saved low to Boyer’s right.
Benjamin Boyer was again called into action as he pulled off an incredible double save, to deny Craig Curran of a debut goal, and Michael Wilde of a hat-trick.
Despite STM Sports’ valiant efforts, the Nomads proved too strong and won the Nathaniel MG Cup Final comfortably, with a 3-0 win.
Connah’s Quay: Lewis Brass, Priestley Farquharson (John Disney 82), George Horan (C), Danny Harrison, Michael Bakare, Callum Morris, Michael Wilde, Jamie Insall (Sameron Dool 69) Danny Holmes, Jay Owen (Craig Curran 58), Kris Owens
STM Sports: Benjamin Boyer, Hermon Yohannes, Riccardo Mackenzie, Tomas Rutherford, David Biggs, Chris Hajgato, Joe Evans (C) (Chris Worsley 66) Marcus Jones (Sam Cawley 82), Ben Ahmun, Josh Graham, Calum Bateman (Thoma Frick 69)
Connah’s Quay Nomads manager Andy Morrison said:
“I’m very proud. It’s one of the main trophies, alongside the Welsh Cup. It qualifies us for the Scottish Challenge Cup next year, which we’ve got a great history in.
“I’m delighted for my staff, players and everyone. A magical day and it’s worth all the hard work.”
Featured Image by Matthew Lofthouse