Saints-Alive! The Total Network Solutions Football Club website
CEN WALES SEN CUP
EUROPEAN CUP WINNERS CUP
FAW PREMIER CUP
UEFA CHAMPIONS LGE
May 19th 1996 at 15:00 National Stadium, Cardiff
3 - 3
(2 - 3 PEN)
The New Saints
WELSH CUP / Final
Andy Mulliner makes the vital penalty save to deny David Withers and bring the cup to Llansantffraid.
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Fairytale win for super Saints
GOALKEEPER Andy Mulliner turned from villain to hero to help Llansantffraid lift the Welsh Cup after a dramatic penalty shoot-out.
Mulliner had been partly at fault with two Barry goals as Saints were pegged back after leading three times.
But he made two excellent saves from penalties as Llansantffraid became the first mid-Wales club to lift the trophy since 1900.
Mulliner blocked Gary Lloyd's spot-kick with his legs, then from Town's last penalty which David Withers had to score he pulled off a fine diving save.
Skipper Gary Evans lifted the cup in front of over around 500 Saints fans to round off a memorable day for him.
The midfielder, easily man of the match, scored with a spectacular volley in normal time to put his side 2-1 ahead.
The victory was thoroughly deserved for the Mid Wales underdogs against the League of Wales champions, and sends them into next season's European Cup Winners' Cup in style.
They were just two minutes away from winning the match in extra-time when Anthony Bird scored a stunning goal to force the shoot-out. But somehow Saints were able to lift themselves each time they were pegged back. John Whelan and Tommy Morgan both scored penalties while Pike and Lloyd were denied from Barry's first two efforts, and Saints looked home and dry.
But when Gary Evans and Tim Nunnerley missed and both Bird and Ovendale scored for Barry, it was the South Walians whose confidence soared.
That was only momentary, though, as full-back Gary Curtiss struck a fine penalty before Mulliner made the decisive save.
Saints had been unable to make any headway for the first 20 minutes, but Morgan then gave Barry the first signs of the threat he poses in front of goal.
Chris Whelan was obstructed on the edge of the area and the Evans brothers combined from the indirect free-kick. Ian struck a deflected shot which Ovendale seemed to have caught but when the ball slipped out of his grasp Morgan was quick to react and headed just wide.
Eight minutes later the veteran striker put Saints into dreamland with the first goal, still very much against the run of play.
A long ball from defence was well flicked on by Chris Whelan and Morgan ran on, using his head to control the ball, before slipping it past Ovendale from just inside the area.
A defensive lapse cost Saints dear 10 minutes before the break when Barry equalised.
Gary Evans was harshly penalised for a foul 25 yards out on Bird to concede a free kick, but Llansantffraid gambled that left-back Gary Lloyd would cross the ball.
They placed only a two-man wall in front of Mulliner and Lloyd struck a powerful shot which took a slight deflection off a defender and under the keeper's body.
Just seconds after half-time Barry caught Saints cold with a Terry Evans cross and were unlucky to see Bird's header rebound off the bar.
Gary Evans' superb strike restored the Mid Wales side's lead on 54 minutes.
There seemed no danger when the loose ball fell for Evans on his left but his tremendous volley from 25 yards sped past Ovendale into the net.
But in a final far more packed with incident than last week's Wembley bore, one of the most bizarre goals of the season brought Town level.
Chris Pike got a touch to O'Gorman's cross but defender Mike Brown had every chance to clear the ball from in front of his own line. Instead his clearance hit Mulliner and rebounded into the net.
The match was up for grabs and Barry thought they had gone in front for the first time on 68 minutes when Pike freed O'Gorman on the edge of the box. The former Connah's Quay player took the ball round Mulliner but his shot was blocked on the line by the long legs of O'Brien.
Simon Abercrombie was twice denied late-on as Llansantffraid re-established an initiative that they took into extra-time and turned into lead for the third time.
Abercrombie's free-kick on the left found the unmarked Chris Whelan diving to head home from eight yards.
Mulliner and his defence were still jittery as the time ticked away, and the keeper fumbled a ball which was going out for a goal-kick to concede a corner with seconds left.
That gave Richard Jones chance to deliver a cross and when the ball fell invitingly for Bird he turned and smashed a superb shot past the keeper.
Even after seeing yet another lead wiped out, though, Llansantffraid were not to be denied.
PENALTY SHOOT OUT
LFC: John Whelan scores, 1-0
BT: Chris Pike hits bar, 1-0
LFC: Tommy Morgan scores, 2-0
BT: Gary Lloyd shot saved, 2-0
LFC: Gary Evans shot saved, 2-0
BT: Tony Bird scores, 2-1
LFC: Tim Nunnerley shot saved, 2-1
BT: Marc Overdale scores, 2-2
LFC: Gary Curtiss scores, 3-2
BT: David Withers shot saved, 3-2
Left: Mulliner's 'unbelievable' final penalty save.
Fairytale of Llansantffraid-ym-Mechen
A village with a population of less than 1000 has achieved the impossible by lifting the prestigious Welsh Cup. John Bridgwater witnessed history in the making
IT was a day that few had dreamed of - little Llansantffraid setting foot on the hallowed turf of Cardiff's National Stadium.
It was hard to imagine that seven years ago the villagers were desperately seeking a manager to take charge of their struggling Montgomeryshire League side.
But here they were at the principality's greatest sporting venue about to lift the prestigious Welsh Cup with a dramatic penalty shootout win over pre-match favourites Barry Town.
At the start of the season, many outside Mid Wales had not even heard of the small village of Llansantffraid-ym-Mechain (to give the village its full name) or even pronounce it.
Even the official matchday programme had erred in the spelling of the village but the script writers got it right on the field.
Two-all at the end of normal time, 3-3 after extra time before the Saints sealed victory with the drama of a penalty
And to cap the fairytale finish, keeper Andy Mulliner - who was below par for much of the game - made the crucial penalty save to seal a famous victory.
Few of the 700 from Mid Wales could hardly have imagined such drama as they made their way to the ground. But this wasn't to be any old Sunday.
Wearing green scarves, green wigs and green whatever, the faithful shouted on their heroes to their finest hour.
The press box watched, not quite sure what to make of a final without the likes of Wrexham, Cardiff or Swansea. Should the game be staged at the stadium in the first place as it would only attract a 3,000 crowd.
But as the tension grew, even the most hardened of hacks became visibly intrigued and fully captivated by the encounter.
Saints boss Graham Breeze stood rigid, looking tense - hut he wasn't the only one. A press colleague's pencil broke in two as Barry clawed their way back into the game with a last-gasp extra time equaliser.
Had Llansantffraid blown it! They had led three times only to be denied on each occasion and now it was penalties.
The players had seen it on TV many a times. Remember Chris Waddle in the World Cup. This was no place for faint
The Barry fans started shouting, but Breeze - like a conductor - promptly started signalling to the Mid Wales contingent to up the tempo. They responded in style.
The rival players smiled and shook hands, as they came to terms that the showpiece final would be decided in such a manner. The penalties took place and the rest was history.
As Mulliner was engulfed by ecstatic team-mates, the unbelievable had happened. Emotional chairman Edgar Jones hugged Breeze, the cameras and press were in full pursuit and skipper Gary Evans was lifting the impressive cup aloft.
Players jigged with delight, the singing started. They soon forgot their tired legs as the celebrations started which were destined to go long into the night.
The supporters were gearing themselves for a night on the town.
They know how to celebrate, but of course, they've had plenty of practice in a remarkable few years. The Welsh Intermediate Cup, the League of Wales Cup and now the glittering Welsh Cup.
From Montgomeryshire League minnows to Welsh Cup winners. Where now? Europe, and who would bet money against the Saints upsetting the odds there?
Rodger Gifford (Llanbradach)
Gary Lloyd (35)
Andy Mulliner, og (61)
Tony Bird (118)
Pike -> Hunter (57)
Withers -> P Giles (97)
Griffith -> Barnett (105)
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NOTE: For comparison purposes, teams are referred to throughout all seasons by their current names.
Substitute minutes of 99 indicate actual times not known.
The New Saints played as Total Network Solutions from 1997 to end of season 2005/6.
NEWI Cefn Druids played as Flexsys Cefn Druids prior to 2003/4.
Port Talbot Town played as Port Talbot Athletic prior to 2001/2.
Total Network Solutions played as Llansantffraid FC prior to 1997/8.
Match-by-match player stats for season 1993/4 are largely unavailable.