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Cardiff City defeated North Wales side Caernarfon Town 3-1 in the semi finals of the Welsh Cup at Rhayader Town F.C.
It was a day of mixed emotions for the defending Welsh Cup champions as they made it to the final for the sixth successive season but news also filtered through that they had been relegated from the National Division after Birmingham City beat Charlton Athletic 4-0.
It was the champions who began the match the sharper, and the breakthrough came on just 11 minutes when Cardiff's Welsh international midfielder Katie Daley rattled the crossbar from a well struck free kick and Kayleigh Greening was quick to react to hammer the ball into the net to open the scoring.
Minutes later, defender Lauren Townsend jinked her way through the Caernarfon midfield and hit a shot which missed the target by inches.
Caernarfon packed the midfield areas to try and stifle any threat from Cardiff's forwards and were relying on the pace of Shan Jones, but Cardiff's defence were defiant and reduced Caernarfon's attacking efforts to half chances until the 25th minute when a well struck effort by Ceryl Jones was saved by Cardiff's goalkeeper Rhian Nokes with her feet.
Minutes before the break, Cardiff had a golden opportunity to double the score when Natasha Harding was floored by two defenders in the penalty area, but Kelly Isaac struck the outside of the post from the resulting spot kick.
A spirited opening ten minutes of the second half by Caernarfon got them the equaliser, when Jones buried a free kick low into the left hand corner of Nokes' goal.
Cardiff then mounted pressure from the midfield department with Greening making way for Carla Parfitt for a welcome return after a long lay-off with a broken nose, sustained playing for Wales in the UEFA Championship qualifier against the Netherlands back in February. It was Parfitt who rounded off a well worked move for the champions on 65 minutes after Charlotte Miller and Harding linked up for Loren Dykes to cross and, with Nicola Cousins making a menacing jump to distract Joanne Roberts in the Caernarfon goal, Parfitt had the simple task of nodding home, and Cardiff took a 2-1 lead.
A cute goal from Harding on 80 minutes slotting the ball under Roberts, rounded off the scoring and secured a record sixth outing for Cardiff in the Welsh Cup Final to be played at the end of the season in May against Wrexham or Pontypridd.
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