This Week In History - Swansea’s First Ever Welsh Cup Match
On the 31st October 1912, Swansea Town took part in their first ever Welsh Cup fixture, a 3-1 home win against Milford. The Welsh Cup was a competition that Swansea would have great success in and their win against Milford was a good sign of things to come.
Swansea Town were founded in 1912 and had only played their first league match a month earlier, a 1-1 draw against Cardiff. Swansea as a team had been successful so far, with 3 wins following their opening draw. Football was proving to win over the locals in Swansea as well. An average attendance of just over 6,000 had been at Swansea’s home games so far, and with the Welsh Cup offering another real chance of silverware, much was expected of Swansea Town.
The Welsh Cup itself had been around since 1877 and was only the 3rd national football competition in the world. The first competition was won by Wrexham after their 1-0 win against Druids in the final. That final would be a sign of things to come, with either Wrexham or Druids reaching the final in 29 of the 34 years before Swansea Town joined. In 1912, Swansea were entered into the Preliminary Round, 1 round before the Welsh Cup proper. The draw pitted them against Milford Town, a lower division side who had also entered the competition at the Preliminary Round.
Swansea Town 3-1 Milford Town - 31st October 1912
Swansea’s first Welsh Cup match would be at Vetch Field on Thursday 31st October. Against lower league opposition, Swansea Town were expected to win, despite the club just being a few months old. Just over 1,000 people turned up to Vetch Field for the tie, and they would be treated to a historic Swansea moment.
The game was a straightforward 3-1 win, but the highlight of the match was striker Billy Ball’s performance. Billy Ball had already scored Swansea’s first ever goal in their draw with Cardiff, but against Milford Town, he became the first player to score a hattrick in a Swansea shirt. The English striker would finish the season as Swansea’s top scorer, with 19 goals in all competitions. His goals helped Swansea advance in the Welsh Cup, eventually reaching the final. The highlight of Swansea’s run was a 4-2 semi-final win against Cardiff, which included another hattrick for Ball.
The final of the 1912/13 Welsh Cup was played between Swansea Town and Pontypridd. The game would end in a 0-0 draw, prompting a rare final replay, something that had only happened 4 times in the competition’s history. The replay in Tonypandy would be settled by a 20th minute John Grierson goal, giving Swansea their first domestic honour just 7 months after the club was founded.
Swansea City’s Welsh Cup Record
The Welsh Cup was one that Swansea Town, and subsequently Swansea City, would have a lot of success in over the years. The Swans would go on to win the Welsh Cup another 9 times, a record that can only be beaten by Cardiff and Wrexham. Swansea’s 1961 Welsh Cup win would grant them entry into the 1961/62 European Cup Winners Cup where they played their first ever European game against Motor Jena. The Welsh Cup offered Swansea a simple route into European football in the Cup Winners Cup, a competition they would enter 7 times because of their Cup success.
Swansea’s last Welsh Cup win came in 1991 after a 2-0 win over Wrexham, the most successful Welsh Cup side of all time. On loan Dave Penney and Swansea hero Paul Raynor grabbed the goals that day in front of 5,000 fans at the National Stadium in Cardiff. Swansea’s last season in the Welsh Cup was 1993/94, with the Swans exiting the competition in the semi-finals.
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