FC Nomads of Connah’s Quay progressed to the JD Welsh Cup first round proper after a 3-1 win against Brickfield Rangers in extra time.
Brickfield Rangers went ahead in the first half, but a penalty equaliser from Warren Kelly brought the game into extra time in which a Ryan Mcleary brace secured the win for the home side.
The two sides will meet again in the Welsh National League Premier Division, but this game was of increased significance as a Welsh Cup fixture offering progression into the next round and beyond where financial rewards await.
FC Nomads started a strong line up consisting of the likes of Jordan O’ Brian, Leon Jones and Warren Kelly. An addition to the line up was new signing Lee Butterworth, who went straight into the first eleven following successful international clearance in the week.
The travelling Brickfield gave a start to goalkeeper Andrew Lee Ruscoe with Terry McCormick unavailable, whilst Chris Boyes, Sam Molyneux and Nicky Ward also lined up for the kick off.
The game began at a high tempo, making for some early end to end action. FC Nomads attacked with Adie Callaghan forcing a corner, before testing Andrew ‘Chopper’ Ruscoe who did well to tip an effort wide of his goal.
The Brickfield keeper was kept busy in the first half, which saw FC Nomads grow into the game and establish themselves with slightly more possession than their opponents. Sam Buckley, along with a number of his teammates, sent dangerous crosses into the Brickfield box but the away side held firm.
This resilience paid off for Brickfield, who took the lead when they broke free to square a ball to the waiting Sam Molyneux, who was left to tap the ball in from the goal line in a great piece of play from Brickfield who had split FC Nomads to score against the run of play.
Brickfield went in at half time full of confidence in their 1-0 lead whilst a frustrated FC Nomads had an uphill climb to stay in the competition.
The second half began with less intensity than the first, an indicator of how hard both teams were pushing to reach the first round proper.
Brickfield were holding their lead well with a drilled performance, with chances from FC Nomads dealt with comfortably bar a Callaghan header which had to be cleared off the goal line. As the game went past the hour mark, the home side’s frustrations began to show with long range efforts being sent into the Brickfield goal mouth but bringing no real danger.
The biggest moment of the match followed when Warren Kelly broke free on a run to the Brickfield goal, entering the area only to be took down by Ruscoe who came out of his goal to tackle. Referee Josh Wissen pointed to the spot and sent Ruscoe off.
This brought the keeper’s jersey upon player/coach Dave Norman who subbed himself on to go up against Kelly for the penalty. Kelly stepped up and made no mistake in slotting the ball to the left of goal to bring the score level at 1-1.
Norman went onto to enjoy a good performance as the emergency goalkeeper, making a number of stops including a tip over of a 20 yard FC Nomads effort that looked destined for the net.
Despite FC Nomads having all the momentum, they were dealt a blow when Callaghan was shown a second yellow for dissent, bringing the teams to 10 v 10 and bringing Callaghan’s largely positive part in the game to an end.
With the scores level after the 90 minutes, extra time began and Brickfield’s Dave Norman came out of goal to play in his usual defensive position. Just two minutes into the first half of extra time, FC Nomads went ahead via Ryan McCleary in a goal that would prove to kill the game.
Brickfield pushed to stay in the tie, but as energy levels dropped play became flat, with McCleary confirming a FC Nomads win in the second half of AET with a low shot towards the bottom right corner of the Brickfield goal.
McCleary’s man of the match performance came to a sour end, when he joined Adie Callaghan with a second yellow for dissent. Despite having just nine men left, FC Nomads saw the remaining few minutes out to progress to the first round proper.
The result was a justified win for a persistent FC Nomads who never gave up despite trailing to Brickfield for over an hour, going onto the win the game comfortably in extra time, whilst Brickfield can look back a respectable performance that just never quite recovered from their red card.
FC Nomads await the draw to find out their next opponents, whilst Brickfield Rangers will press on with their season with plenty of football to play yet in pursuit of their 2020 vision.