By David Williams
There will be no need for introductions when Bala Town meet Connah’s Quay Nomads in the first JD Welsh Cup semi-final on Friday night.
The Cup clash – staged at Flint Town United’s Essity Stadium – will be the fifth time the clubs have met this season and the third time they have eye-balled each other in the last six weeks.
Anyone looking for a form guide will have to sift through the fine detail, though, as the four meetings so far leave nothing between them. They have one victory apiece, with two of the previous encounters ending in draws.
The first JD Cymru Premier League meeting of the season saw The Nomads emerge as 1-0 winners thanks to Ryan Stratulis’ long range effort at the Deeside Stadium before the two sides played out a goalless draw at Maes Tegid in early January.
The showcase fixture of the year so far saw Bala triumph in the Nathaniel MG Cup Final after a penalty shoot-out defeat for The Nomads.
The pair then played out a 1-1 draw at Deeside Stadium just two weeks ago in a match which saw The Nomads play for over an hour with just 10 men after Harry Franklin was sent off.
So, honours very much even, with all to play for as they seek a place in the final.
The Nomads come into the game having defeated Airbus, Llanelli, Colwyn Bay and Denbigh en route to the semi finals, scoring 16 goals in the process and conceding just one.
Bala have overcome Briton Ferry, Pontypridd United, Flint and Hawarden Rangers.
A week ago, Bala lost 3-2 to Newtown in the league, whilst the Nomads were 2-1 victors over Cardiff Met.
Much could depend on how well Bala striker Adam Roscrow – with four goals in their Cup run so far – can escape the attentions of a Nomads defence who have only conceded 17 goals in their 25 league matches and just one goal in their four-match run to the semi-final.
Veteran Nomads striker Michael Wilde scored twice in the 2018 final victory over Aberystwyth Town, which they won 4-1.
Wilde continues to lead the front-line for his club at the age of 39, and has scored 15 goals in all competitions this season, including a double in the 5-1 win at Denbigh Town in their opening round match.
The Nomads will be favourites, courtesy of their higher league placing, even though the honours have been even in those head-to-head battles.
Connah’s Quay are second in the table on 49 points – two places and seven points above Bale.
The Nomads have lost once since that Nathaniel MG Cup defeat to Bala – a 2-1 reverse at Haverfordwest County.
As well as that loss last week to Newton, the Lakesiders lost 3-0 to The New Saints at the end of January.
The winners will face either Penybont or The New Saints in the final. They meet at Richmond Park, Carmarthen on Saturday.
Craig Harrison's pre-match press conference | Penybont (JD Welsh Cup semi-final) https://t.co/Nt00rAmXGY
— The New Saints FC (@tnsfc) March 1, 2023