Date: Sun 05 May 2013

Willo hoping lightning strikes twice

Prestatyn Town midfielder Gareth Wilson is hoping that lightning can strike twice as he faces Bangor City in the Welsh Cup Final, seven years after scoring for Rhyl against the Citizens, the last time that the Racecourse hosted the occasion.

Wilson was a vital cog in the Rhyl midfield that season and he scored the second and final goal back in 2006 as Rhyl overcame Bangor City 2-0.

"I don't remember really touching the ball in the whole game, but I certainly remember the goal. It was a half-volley just outside the box," recalled Wilson as he spoke exclusively to the FAW on the eve of the 126th Welsh Cup Final.

"It was a great day and it was played infront of an excellent atmosphere. That was back in the day when there was a great rivalry between Rhyl and Bangor, but there is a new rivalry between Bangor and Prestatyn now and I'm sure that will make for a great atmosphere in this Final."

Wilson knows that his side have a tough test if he is to claim a third Welsh Cup success as he added; "They are a very good side, we have had close games against each other this season, but we have a great chance of winning the game."

Both clubs have had the opportunity of training at the home of Wrexham FC this week and Wilson explained; "We trained there on Wednesday, which was a great experience for some of the lads who haven't played there before. It's one of my former clubs, so for me, it was nice to go back there and get a feel for the place again."

Prestatyn are a club with great ambition and it reminds me of Rhyl when I first joined them, before they won the League for the first time. We are all hoping to achieve great things with Prestatyn and I think the future is bright for the club and the town


Wilson is one of the most decorated players in the Welsh Premier, having enjoyed domestic success at TNS and Rhyl, with three Welsh Premier League Titles, two Welsh Cups and six League and Cup Runners-Up medals to his name. "I won a lot earlier in my career, but I haven't won anything since we won the Title at Rhyl in 2009/10, so it would be great to win the Cup with Prestatyn," he explained.

"Prestatyn are a club with great ambition and it reminds me of Rhyl when I first joined them, before they won the League for the first time. We are all hoping to achieve great things with Prestatyn and I think the future is bright for the club and the town.

"Phil (Merrick) the Chairman is really ambitious and he and the other committee members of the club are working hard with the Council and I think they all realise that football can be massive for the Town and the whole area as a real community club."

With domestic success comes European football and Wilson has enjoyed playing in the Champions League and UEFA Cup already and he will be dusting down his passport again if Town can lift a first Welsh Cup on Monday.

"Of course it would be fantastic to play in Europe again and it would be an excellent experience for the club. But if we do qualify, it's for the people that work so hard behind the scenes; all the volunteers and the fans. It would be real just reward for them."

The Seasiders are almost at full-strength, but they will be missing defender Paul O'Neil who is ruled out for the season with a knee injury. O'Neil actually played for Bangor in that Final in 2006 and he and Wilson are not the only people with connections to that match. Bangor captain Jamie Brewerton and coach Marc Limbert were both in the successful Rhyl team, whilst Martin Beattie, now of Prestatyn, was in the losing Bangor defence that day.

The Racecourse has seen three triumphant visits by the Citizens. In 1889, Bangor, on their first visit to the final, beat Nortwich Victoria 2-1, and more recently they beat Connah’s Quay Nomads on penalties in 1998 and beat Cwmbran 1-0 in 2000.

This will be Prestatyn Town’s first ever appearance in the Welsh Cup final and should they win, it will also be the first time that they have qualified for Europe. The game kicks off at 3:00pm on Bank Holiday Monday and it will be screened live on Sgorio.