Wrexham and Newport Keep Cup Dreams Alive, While Swans and Bluebirds dig in

Another weekend of defiance from the leading four Welsh football clubs has seen Wrexham and Newport County move into the FA Cup second round – and both Cardiff City and Swansea City grind out points in the Championship.

Cardiff and Swansea met in the women’s Adran Premier, where the Bluebirds emerged as 1-0 winners.

Back to the old romantics’ favourite firstly, though, the FA Cup.

Wrexham and Newport have both been given home draws in round two – leaving them just one win on home turf from potentially exciting and money-spinning third round ties against the big boys of the Premier League.

Wrexham will face National League South club Yeovil Town after the Dragons’ 2-1 win at League Two rivals, Mansfield Town.

County have been given another crack at Rodney Parade – a home game against Barnet from the National League – after Graham Coughlan’s men overcame Oldham Athletic, 2-0.

Coughlan said of Saturday’s win, “I’m not saying it was a great performance but it was a professional performance and we wanted to be in the hat for the next round – job done.

“We’re really, really pleased we got a victory and a clean sheet.”

Wrexham boss Phil Parkinson was equally pleased with his team’s win at Mansfield and said: “I thought the ref gave us very little on the night but that is a colossal victory for us.”

Michael Duff has warned Swansea City’s loan star Charlie Patino he could pay for his red card by losing his place in the team.

The Swans midfielder – on a season-long deal from Arsenal – was dismissed for two yellow card offences after half an hour of his team’s 0-0 draw at home to Sunderland.

The 10-men dug in and managed to take a draw, but while Duff was full of praise for Patino’s recent contributions, he believes the 20-year-old will have a fight on his hands to regain his place after his automatic one-match ban.

Duff said: “We’ll talk to him and show him a few clips but it’s character now. It’s an opportunity for someone else to come in and if they step up he might lose his place.

“He knows where he wants to be but he’s prepared to work every day to get there. This will be another part of his learning.

“It’s why he’s here, different experiences. Arsenal want him to have these experiences with different teams so it doesn’t happen when he’s playing for them. It’s why we have players out on loan.”

Patino was red-carded in the 30th minute when his foul on the Black Cats’ Pierre Ekwah earned him a second yellow card.

Cardiff were also held to a goalless draw, but Erol Bulut has praised his players for their progress.

The Bluebirds manager was pleased his team were able to keep their opponents scoreless for a third successive match, although they had to settle for a 0-0 draw at the weekend at Stoke City.

Cardiff have kept the door shut on Huddersfield, Bristol City and Stoke and have conceded just four goals in their last seven matches.

“I’m really happy with my players, they’ve made big progress,” said Bulut.

“It’s not easy for many players here when we remember the last two years with what’s happened and how we started pre-season and the first games.

“It’s not easy to change everything in a positive way. Right now, we’ve done it but we need to continue in that way and keep believing in our target.

“We have to look forward and it’ll be good for us to keep our run of clean sheets.”

Molly Kehoe was the Bluebirds’ hero in that Adran Premier clash against the Swans at Llandarcy.

She scored the only goal of the game to keep Cardiff at the top of the table, while Swansea slipped from second to third with Wrexham overtaking them.

Swansea coach Chris Church admitted: “I can’t ask for much more from the players in terms of their mentality and putting their bodies on the line, they gave a lot, and they played really well.

“But football is about those fine margins, we need to start banging the goals in. We can do it and I know that we can do it, but everyone needs to be chipping in.”