2019 Eddie Merry Memorial Cup semi-finals

Swifts stay strong to deny Sports

Fishguard Sports 2 -  Monkton Swifts 4

It was a case of champions v champions as the Eddie Merry Cup kicked off at Fishguard last night, and it was a competitive 90 minutes as Monkton held off a second half fightback from the hosts before running out 4-2 winners.

Last season's Division 1 winners got off to a fast start when striker James Russell found space on the right, and his square ball teed up Chris Richards to fire a low left foot shot across Dean Hopson and into the corner.

Richards scored again shortly after and then it was Russell himself who put Joe Lewis' team in total control before the break by making it 3-0.

But then the Sports, back in the top flight this season after being promoted from Division Two as champions, forced their way back into it early in the second half.

After referee Bernie Armstrong spotted a handball in the box it was Niall Kinsella who scored from the spot, and soon afterwards Steve Lewis made it 3-2.

Centre back Anthony Couzens then hit the bar as the Sports continued to push, and Kinsella forced a great save out of new Monkton keeper Stuart James.

Ryan Griffiths came on to provide the killer blow though, firing past Hopson from 20 yards as the Swifts sealed a place in Friday's final.

Fishguard Sports: Dean Hopson, Billy Moore, Anthony Couzens, Thomas Merry, Patrick Hughes, Ryan Howells, Niall Kinsella, Danny Hopkin, Jordan Raymond, Matthew Harries, Steve Lewis. Subs: Lewis Banks, Matthew Lewis, Jake Booth, Tom Lawrence, Ieuan Llewellyn.

Monkton Swifts: Stuart James, Jamie Wilkes, Shaun Jones, Ben Nicholas, Rhodri Davies, Martyn Carroll, Thomas Powell, Blake James, Chris Richards, Dylan Davies, James Russell. Subs: Luke Hendry, Adam Brown, Ryan Griffiths, Connor Rees.

Referee: Bernie Armstrong.

Lee Hudgell puts in a strong tackle for Wizards 

Wizards edge out gritty Saints

Merlins Bridge 3 - St Dogmaels 2

It will be Merlins Bridge v Monkton in Friday’s Eddie Merry Cup final - but only after The Wizards came from behind to beat St Dogmaels in a tight clash at Tregroes.

Last season’s Senior and West Wales Cup winners trailed 2-1 just before half time after Jordan Williams’ early opener had been countered by goals from Louis Harding and Peter Almond.

But Nathan Greene headed Bridge level just seconds before the break, and repeated the trick early in the second half for what proved to be the winner.

It was Williams, newly signed from Narberth, who gave The Wizards the perfect start as he cut into the box from the left wing and clinically whipped a shot high into Justin Smith’s net.

Moments later it should have been 2-0 as Adam Hawkins got to the by-line before his cut back to Greene resulted in the striker shooting straight at Smith from point blank range.

But after their ropey start the Costcutter League champions came back into it and midway through the half they were level.

It was striker Louis Harding who worked space in the area and fired a low right footed shot that deflected off Simon Gilderdale and left Bridge keeper James Dixon wrong footed.

And then it was Peter Aldred who put St Dogmaels 2-1 up, tapping in from close range after Dixon had failed to gather Adam Williams’ long free kick into the six yard box.

In the final seconds of the half though matters were level again as Luke Hayward’s pin-point cross was nodded in by Greene at the back post.

And early in the second half the same player swung the pendulum back in favour of The Wizards, latching onto Andrew John’s long throw into the box to skilfully flick a header across Smith and into the far corner.

St Dogmaels did have a chance to square things again when Josh Meller volleyed wide from close range, but Bridge held on to set up a meeting with The Swifts on Friday.

And there is sure to be some spice to it after the sides met four times last season. Bridge knocked Monkton out of both the Senior and West Wales Cup but were also twice beaten in the league by Joe Lewis’ men – with the latter meeting in April ultimately securing The Swifts the Division 1 title.

The game will kick off 6.15pm at Tregroes, and like the two semi-finals all proceeds will go to the Gateway Club in Fishguard.

Merlins Bridge: James Dixon, Andrew John, Chris Ormond, Simon Gilderdale, Peter Thomas, Lee Hudgell, Dai Davies, Luke Hayward, Adam Hawkins, Jordan Williams, Nathan Greene. Subs: Gethin Roberts, Will Haworth, Dan Bryce.

St Dogmaels: Justin Smith, Dan Jones, Chris Morgan, Jason Williams, Minder, Owen Williams, Peter Almond, Adam Williams, Louis Harding, Rhys Jones, Josh Meller. Subs: Casey Walters, Aaron Williams, Luke Jones, Tom Phillips, Craig Williams.

Referee: Angus Scourfield.