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West Wales Cup Final Preview: Merlins Bridge v Carew

ON Tuesday, May 7, Merlins Bridge will take on Carew in the Final of the West Wales Cup Final at the Liberty Stadium in Swansea.

In a historic night, it will be the first all-Pembrokeshire final and both will be keen to follow in the footsteps of Goodwick United who won the trophy in 2018.

This will be the fourth meeting between the two sides this season with the most recent coming in the Senior Cup Final on April 20.

Carew took the lead in that game, only for the Bridge to come back with two late goals to seal the win.

It was another close game, much like their two league encounters and, now the league season has finished, it will be a battle between the team who finished second in Merlins Bridge and the team who finished fourth in the table.

Route to the final

Merlins Bridge began their run to the final with a 1-0 win away to Kilvey Fords in October with Will Haworth grabbing the only goal to send them through to round 2.

The Wizards were again drawn away from home to last season’s beaten finalists Penlan Club but they again came back with a 1-0 win thanks to a goal from Joe Leahy.

In the third round Merlins Bridge played Monkton Swifts and two goals from Nathan Greene and another from Leahy gave them a 3-0 win.

Leahy and Greene were at it again in the fourth round as they both scored to earn the Wizards a 2-1 win over Swansea side Llandarcy.

Merlins Bridge were drawn at home to Plough Colts in the last eight and earned a 5-2 win with Adam Hawkins scoring twice and other goals from Leahy, Greene and Dai Davies.

In the semi-final they took on rivals Hakin United in what turned out to be a thrilling game. Adam Hawkins levelled after Hakin had taken the lead and the game was forced into extra time.

Joe Leahy put the Wizards ahead only for Hakin to score again to score again and force the game into penalties. Gary Thomas was the hero for the Wizards saving the last penalty as they went through with an 8-7 shootout win.

Joe Leahy has scored in each round since the second round and having scored the two goals against them in the Senior Cup final, Carew will be well aware of his threat.

Having reached the last four last season, Carew received a bye for the first round and began their run to the final in round 2 where they were drawn away to Burry Port.

Two goals each from Jordan Richards and Scott Ferney and another from Lloyd Hughes saw them to a 5-2 win over the Carmarthenshire League Division 1 side.

In round three the Rooks took on Loughor Rovers and eased to an 8-0 win with Hughes scoring four and Jordan Richards scoring a hat trick. Ferney grabbed the other goal.

Shaun Whitfield, Sam Christopher, Scott Ferney and Jordan Richards each scored in round four to earn a 4-0 win for the Rooks away at Maltsters Sports.

In the last eight, Carew played Mumbles Rangers at home and they came from two goals down to win 3-2 with brothers Sam and Jack Christopher on the score sheet alongside Whitfield.

In the semi-final, Carew took on Giants Grave and they came from behind again with four first half goals to all but seal their passage.

Sam Christopher and Lloyd Hughes both scored twice in the game.

Christopher also scored against the Bridge in the Senior Cup Final and he along with the likes of Pembrokeshire League top scorer Jordan Richards and Scott Ferney will prove a big threat to the Wizards.

What the managers say

Merlins Bridge manager Matthew Divry told the Herald: “We trained on Wednesday at the Bridge Meadow which was a tactical session and we will be training on Saturday on the 4G surface at Caer Elen.

“We know the Liberty is a good surface so it was good to be able to train at these places.

“We haven’t done anything different, we’ve played a number of games recently so with the training we’ve had we’ll be ready to go on Tuesday.

“We’ve got a fully fit squad to choose from.

“We didn’t play to our full potential in the Senior Cup final so a lot of our training has been based on trying to get back to how we want to play.

“The Liberty is a big pitch and we are looking forward to it, it’s the first ever one for the club.

“We’ve got a few previous winners in our squad so we’re hoping those experiences will pay off for us.”

Carew manager Rob Scourfield said: “It’s a big game for the football club and we’re really, really looking forward to it. It’s the first time in the West Wales Cup Final so it will be a great occasion for the village and the club. We can’t wait.

“We played quite well in the Senior Cup Final in the but in the last ten minutes they were better than us.

“However, this is a totally different game and we’re just looking forward and concentrating on the game itself.

“We have a very similar squad to choose from that played in the Senior Cup Final and we have five subs this time so it will be good to get everybody involved.

“We’ve been watching Swansea at the Liberty, it’s a great stadium and it will be a great occasion, both for us and for Pembrokeshire Football.”

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