Date: Mon 02 Oct 2017

Nathaniel MG Cup Round 2 Preview

Cup football returns tonight, with the 2nd Round of this season’s Nathaniel MG Cup. Here’s our look at the eight ties.

Aberystwyth Town v Airbus UK Broughton (20:00)

These two sides have made wholly contrasting starts to the season, albeit in different divisions. Aber have struggled in the league so far, their only win of the season coming in this competition away at Caersws in the previous round. Airbus meanwhile sit second in the Huws Gray Alliance having won seven out of their opening nine games, and dispatched JDWPL side Cefn Druids in Round 1. Joe Culshaw returns from suspension for Aber after his red card against Cardiff Met in the league, while the Airbus squad could feature former Aber players Stefan Edwards and Jamie Crowther.

Barry Town United v Afan Lido (19:45)

Last year’s beaten finalists Barry Town United enter the competition with a home tie at Jenner Park against Afan Lido. Town have started the season well, and successive wins against Carmarthen and Bangor will have them full of confidence going into this one. Lido have also had a good start to their campaign, having not lost since the opening day in the league. Thirteen points from six games seeing them sitting sixth in a very competitive Welsh League Division One table, and having not played on the weekend thanks to a waterlogged pitch at Cwmamman United, Lido will be fresh coming into this one and hopeful of causing an upset.

Cardiff Met v Pontypridd Town (19:45)

The only side outside of the top two tiers left in this season’s competition, Pontypridd’s reward for beating Taffs Well in Round 1 is a trip to the capital to face an in-form Cardiff Met at Cyncoed. Ponty are in form themselves though, sitting atop Welsh League Division Two with four wins in five and having scored twenty goals in the process, and will relish testing themselves against Met. The home side won 2-1 away at Goytre in the previous round, and haven’t lost at home so far this season.

Connah’s Quay Nomads v Bangor City (19:45)

You’d be forgiven for thinking these two might be sick of the sight of each other. Having taken two attempts to play their league fixture at Nantporth in recent weeks, they meet again at the Deeside Stadium. Both sides have 15 points in the league, though come into this game off the back of different results, Nomads having beaten Newtown while Bangor lost to Barry. Nomads received a bye into this round after reaching last year’s semi-finals, while the Citizens came back from being behind twice at home to Denbigh in Round 1 to win 5-2. Dean Rittenberg scored four in that game, and could feature again for the visitors. Nomads meanwhile look set to make changes to the side that beat Newtown, with a few of their younger players expected to feature.

Flint Town United v The New Saints (19:45)

The winners of the Cup in the last three seasons get their 2017/18 campaign underway with a trip to Cae-y-Castell to face Flint Town United. It’s the first meeting of the two sides since Llantsanffraid merged with Oswestry to form TNS back in the 90s, and the hosts will be hoping to cause an upset. Scott Ruscoe might make a few changes from the side that beat Carmarthen comfortably on the weekend, particularly with one eye on the visit of Elgin City in the IRN-BRU Cup on Saturday.

Haverfordwest County v Carmarthen Town (19:30)

There were few home comforts to be found for Carmarthen on Saturday. A first game of the season at home after the completion of the 3G pitch installation saw them ship five without reply at the hands of a clinical TNS. Mark Aizelwood will certainly be hoping the side that beat Bala 4-0 a couple of weeks ago is the one that turns up to Bridge Meadow tomorrow to face a Haverfordwest side sitting 4th in the Welsh League Division One table. County have started well but lost for the first time in the league this year 3-2 away at Goytre on the weekend, and will be looking to bounce back against another of last season’s semi finalists.

Holyhead Hotspur v Caernarfon Town (19:45)

In the only tie not to feature a JD Welsh Premier League club, Caernarfon make the short journey across the Menai Strait to face Holyhead (not Hollywood!) Hotspur. Hotly tipped to be pushing for promotion again, the Canaries are leading the way in the Huws Gray Alliance, and have scored 18 goals in their last three league games. However, their only league defeat so far was against Hotspur, and having come through a mammoth 5-3 win against Porthmadog in Round 1, the Harbourmen will be confident they can progress through to the Quarter-Finals.

Newtown v Holywell Town (20:00)

Newtown edged out Bala in the only all-JDWPL clash of Round 1, and their reward is a home tie against Holywell Town. The hosts have had a mixed start to their league campaign, winning and drawing two and losing the other three, and will be looking to use this game to bounce back from Saturday’s defeat at home to Connah’s Quay. Holywell are currently third in the HGA, and come into this game off the back of a five game unbeaten run in the league. They also made history in the First Round, becoming the first team in Wales to win a penalty shoot-out played under the ABBA system, which is being trialled in the Nathaniel MG Cup this season.

Finally, we would like to pay our condolences to the friends and family of Holywell Town youth player Liam Simpson, who was tragically killed in a hit and run incident in the town on Saturday. Our thoughts are with everyone at this terrible time.

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