IT IS nearly 25 years since part-time village club Llansantffraid defeated mighty the Barry Town to lift the Welsh Cup.

The side representing a village of around 1,000 people, beat the full-time pros from South Wales in a classic at Cardiff Arms Park in 1996.

They played out a thrilling 3-3 draw throughout 90 minutes and extra-time, with the Mid Wales side taking the lead three times, through Tomi Morgan, a screamer from Welshpool lad Gary Evans, and Chris Whelan – but each time, they were pegged back.

Even during the penalty shoot-out that decided the game, the Saints were 2-0 up, only to miss their next two, before goalkeeper Andy Mulliner pulled off a terrific save to win them the cup.

Although the game was billed as a ‘David v Goliath’ clash Llansantffraid’s manager, the former County Times editor Graham Breeze, said his side were always confident.

“We felt we’d got a chance”, he said.“We’d beaten them at home earlier in the season, knew we could give them a game, and Barry Town knew that as well.

“Everyone rose to the occasion.

“We had over 1,000 people in Cardiff. Everyone in the village went to the game. It was a bizarre situation.

“For a club of Llansantffraid’s size to reach that stage anyway and having half the world’s press and media show an interest in the village, it was crazy.”

He added: “We stayed in Cardiff for two nights, and one of the things that happened was incredible - we trained at Cardiff Castle and worked on the exact free-kick from which Chris Whelan scored his header. To see it happen at the castle and then the next day during the game was quite special.

“The lads went out after and partied with Glamorgan cricketers and even when travelling back, we stopped off in Builth Wells and were swamped by the media!”

In next week’s County Times Sport, we’ll be sharing memories of the Saints’ adventure in UEFA’s European Cup Winners Cup which followed.