It’s the biggest date in the club’s history and potentially, it sets the scene for one of the biggest shocks in Welsh league football. Denbigh Town aim to round off a fairytale Word Cup run this Saturday when they take on The New Saints in the final. Point FM sports editor Gareth Joy looks at their chances of making history…
They are wildcards, they are underdogs, they are the small club that could. Those tags are probably a bit unfair for a team that’s beaten three Welsh Premier clubs so far this season. And yet they find themselves on the verge of beating the behemoths of Welsh football to the first silverware of the season…but it will mean so much more than that.
How often can a team inspire commentators to consider whether the ultimate upset will be even bigger than when Wrexham dispatched Arsenal in the FA Cup (sorry, Mickey). As many as 800 are expected to play the valuable twelfth man for Town at Llandudno’s Maesdu Park on Saturday – thousands more back in Denbigh will see their hometown club gain valuable live TV exposure via S4C’s Sgorio.
As many rewards as prestige are available to the club – they are already guaranteed at least £3,000 but a £10,000 cheque is on offer to the winners. Even more crucial will be the opportunity for Town to prove they can make a go of it in the Welsh Premier if they eventually finish top in what has been a highly unpredictable Huws Gray Alliance campaign.
League Cup runs rarely inspire in the way Denbigh Town have managed – but there was a hint of something special from the start. Against a misfiring Rhyl side who have seldom recovered, Gareth Thomas’ men were already 4-0 up at half time. Holyhead Hotspur were dispatched with as much ease in round two.
Tony Davies and Anthony Dunleavey held their nerve to knock out Airbus UK in extra time, while a boisterous 600-strong crowd at Central Park saw Sam Jones’ winning goal against Gap Connah’s Quay which set up their showpiece with the holders, who are looking for their seventh League Cup win.
WATCH: FAW TV’s preview of the Word Cup final
So what of the odds? They have been time and again defied by Denbigh in the cup, though the bookies have given them as much as 25-1 to beat The New Saints, who are as little as 1-12 to retain the cup again.
What Denbigh do have is a vastly dedicated squad who have served their cause well regardless of competition – their top scorer, Kristian Pierce, is also one of the top scorers in the HGA with 11 goals. And the man who got them to the final, Sam Jones, knows his status as a local hero will serve him well regardless of the result on Saturday night.
Having returned to Denbigh from Welsh National League side Ruthin Town, his winning goal against the Nomads came only after being brought on as a substitute. He told BBC Wales Sport: ”It was a brilliant night and the crowd pushed us over the line…they missed a penalty and the game then changed. We made some substitutions, I happened to be one of them, and it worked. The fresh legs changed the game and I scored the winner.”
Add the likes of captain Warren Duckett, seasoned striker Mark Roberts and keeper Elliott Power creates a Denbigh side that can truly complete with any club at any level…but fresh on most minds this weekend will be Town’s golden opportunity to become history makers.
One quote from the manager before the semi final still rings as true about whether Denbigh really can claim the glory – why not?
Best of luck to Denbigh Town from everyone at 103.1 Point FM