Saturday 24th July 2021
Welsh Cup Round One
Four Crosses 1 Llanfair United 4 HT: 1-2 Att: 40 hc
Gregory (og) 37 : Astley 27,89 (p) Hughes 30, Mwamuka 87
from Foxen Manor
I continued my Welsh travels this Saturday, this time for the Welsh cup, with a trip to another team on the border of England and Wales. Churchstoke, where I went Wednesday, sits in a chode shaped Welsh protuberance into the Shropshire hills, whereas Four Crosses sits a bit higher up, on the site of Offa’s Dyke Path, a few miles south of Oswestry.
Four Crosses have flitted between the Montgomeryshire League and the Mid Wales League, first joining the latter in 2005-06. In 2018-19 they were runners up in division two of the Mid Wales League, moving up to tier three of Welsh football. This placed them in one of the four new leagues in the restructure at step three, the Ardal North East League. Their opponents in the cup today, Llanfair United, also play in this league and likewise have updated their facilities substantially, in recent years
Four Crosses is a small village with a population of less than 1,000. Despite the size of the village they respresent, the football club has made loads of improvements to the facilities over the years, including a double stand housing around 100 fans, which was currently boarded up with a metal cage, in what seemed like a very expensive and over the top covid prevention measure. Wouldn’t a rope and no entry sign have done the trick? Aside from this stand there is a long bench sitting underneath what would normally be the snack hut.
Four Crosses is just down the road from proper border village Llanymynech, who coincidentally had a massive match of their own, playing Caersws, once of the Welsh top-flight, in the Welsh Cup. Llanymynech still play at step five so were hoping for a major cup upset today. Just over the Welsh border to the west is Llansanffraid-Ym-Mechain, original home of TNS. I’m not sure if Llandysilio is the Welsh name for Four Crosses (it doesn’t translate as such) or if it is the name of the wider region in which it sits.
The club play in within the Foxen Manor housing estate and bears its name. Apparently there was a successful club called Rodney Rovers who played in the village in the 60s, who played behind the Golden Lion pub, but I could find no information on this team.
The ground lies at the back end of a smart housing estate and has a fair amount of parking, enough for me to park mine dangerously close to the pitch. It was £3 for entrance, which including the parking. No programme today, alas, although up the road in Llanymynech they were issuing a programme for their big day, it did almost tempt me there instead, but the higher level ground won out.
The views around Foxen Manor are rural and tree-lined but not as impressive as your typical Welsh Ground. Roughly 40 spectators were here for this Cup tie in which it became clear early on that Llanfair had the better quality. it took them almost half an hour to open the scoring with a simple header off a corner. A few minutes later Hughes smacked it in from close range after a scramble.
Four Crosses got one back to set up an interesting second period, with an outrageous own goal. Almost at the touchline and thirty yards out, his pass back to the keeper was lobbed fiercely over his head into the back of the net.
This gave the home side the impetus to search for an equaliser in the second half, which was a lot more even and several times they were near to levelling the tie. However, right at the end, with legs tiring, Llanfair but the game to bed with a breakway goal and a pen in the last two minutes, to give them a flattering scoreline.
Another enjoyable trip to to see a value for money Welsh tie and ground.