JD Welsh Cup Fourth Round
Llanfair United 4
Cefn Druids 1
JAMES Davies was the hat-trick hero as Llanfair United upset the odds by sending Welsh Premier side Cefn Druids crashing out of the JD Welsh Cup.
A thrilling cup clash began with Druids reduced to 10 men inside the opening five minutes following a reckless challenge by Rakim Newton on home goalkeeper Chris Brown.
Druids overcame their numerical disadvantage to lead through Steve Blenkinsop before man of the match Davies levelled 10 minutes before half-time.
It was all United in the second-half with Davies completing a memorable hat-trick while substitute Alun Hughes scored with virtually his first touch to spark a night of celebrations in Banw valley.
The large home support feared the worst when ex-Caersws striker Blenkinsop followed up to steer 10 man Druids ahead after Brown parried a Jordan Harper shot into his path.
Ex-TNS youngster Fisnik Hajdari scuffed wide before Mike Pritchard’s shot was deflected over as United were put on the rack during the opening exchanges.
Gradually the hosts found their footing and began to stretch the Welsh Premier side with the triumvirate of Andrew Hughes, Nahsawn Blake and Davies instrumental.
With pressure building a partially cleared corner was swept back into the danger area by Paul Griffiths for Davies to steer home from eight yards as United celebrated a 33rd minute equaliser.
United ended the half on top with Hughes dispossessing Jordan Barrow and fending off Hajdari only to drag his shot wide of the upright as the hosts went in at the interval with their tails up.
The second-half began with a bang as Hughes was released on the left wing by the hard working Joe Vaughan to cross for Davies to slot United into the lead.
Druids rallied with Harper and Hajdari both denied by Brown before the tie was held up after Blake sustained a head injury which required lengthy treatment,
Substitute Alun Hughes entered the fray and immediately made his contribution as United doubled their lead on the hour.
Hughes and Luke Gethin linked on the right to cross for Davies who was denied from point blank range by goalkeeper Filippo Casaretto but reacted first by heading the loose ball back across goal for Hughes to head home.
Druids still had spells of possession but the United defence continued to stand firm, restricting Barrow to a wasteful 25 yard free-kick which went well wide while Harper was denied by an outstanding tackle from Ryan Davies.
Brown made a smart save to deny Pritchard from the edge of the area before United broke to settle the outcome.
With eight minutes remaining Vaughan broke up play in midfield to release Andrew Hughes on the left wing who completed his own outstanding display by floating a weighted cross for Davies to head past Casaretto.
United could have heaped further embarrassment on the outclassed and outfought Welsh Premier visitors with both Hughes and Davies going close late on but by then the Mount Field faithful had already begun their celebrations.
LLANFAIR: Brown, Spencer, M Jones, Griffiths, R Davies, Andrew, Vaughan, Gethin, Blake, J Davies, A Hughes. Subs: D Jones, L Davies, A Hughes, Astley
See full story in the County Times