WITH due deference to Newport County AFC, Ebbw Vale RFC, Pontypool RFC and whoever constructed that fake castle for the Dragons at Rodney Parade, the biggest achievement in Gwent sport at the weekend came from the Ynysddu Welfare FC youth team.

The side that did not exist a fortnight ago – before being mistakenly entered in the Welsh Youth Cup – upset the odds on Sunday to reach the second round of the prestigious tournament.

The Gwent County League side sparked national interest and a huge response from would-be players, when an administration error saw them entered for the competition, which features the youth teams of professional outfits such as County, Cardiff City and Swansea City.

Ynysddu put a side together at short notice after placing an appeal on social media, but were only able to hold one training session before their trip to Briton Ferry Llansawel AFC at the weekend.

The hosts included six former Swans academy players in their team, but Ynysddu managed to complete a remarkable victory by winning 7-6 on penalties after drawing 2-2 over 120 minutes.

“I'm lost for words,” said Ynysddu manager Ben Murphy.

“When they equalised in extra-time I thought that would be the end of it, but we dug in.

“I don't know how we found that energy in the last 30 minutes.

“They worked their socks off and to win it on penalties, well, I don't think my heart could take another one of them!”

Ynysddu were backed by a large travelling support, including most of the club’s first team who cheered them on from the sidelines with beers in hand.

That vocal support buoyed their spirits as they trailed early on before Billy Evans equalised from the penalty spot.

Kean Davies then put Ynysddu ahead in extra-time before Ferry took the tie to penalties.

“If it hadn't happened the way it has we would have probably scraped a side together and been the whipping boys for a couple of months,” said Murphy.

“It's incredible to be in the next round.

“I'd like someone like Bangor away next, a nice, long away day.

“But the fact we're in the draw for the second round and could possibly play Cardiff, Newport or Swansea is just unbelievable.”

They missed out on facing the Exiles academy boys, who thumped Garden Village AFC youth 13-0 on Sunday, but the good news keeps on coming as yesterday’s draw handed them another away tie at Llanelli Town AFC.

The Ynysddu boys will be heading to Steboneath Park, home of the Welsh Premier League side, on November 4 and they will be taking “at least two buses” of supporters as their magical journey continues.

Whatever the result there, it’s hoped that there will be long-term benefits for the club that was formed in 1915 but saw their youth team fold two years ago due to a lack of numbers.

Murphy is confident that there will be enough interest to keep a youth team going in the future and the club’s savvy use of social media has seen them garner nationwide publicity and attracted a host of new sponsors, generating some much-needed cash for the grassroots outfit.

“The really positive thing for us is that this story has got the feel-good factor back,” said the coach.

“We've had so many offers that we could have picked four or five sides.

“Hopefully some of these boys will want to carry on [at youth level] and go on to play senior football.

“We've also had sponsors help us with a kit, polo shirts and team wear for the players. It's been unbelievable.”

Dan Thomas, who hit the winning penalty, and Billy Evans, who levelled from the spot in normal time, even found themselves being interviewed on Sky Sports News after the game.

“No one really knew anyone but we showed that team spirit means everything in football. It’s just a massive achievement for us,” said Thomas, whose winning penalty sparked a pitch invasion the likes of which Briton Ferry’s Old Road ground has probably never seen before.

Evans, neatly summing up this heart-warming story, added: “After one training session you don’t really expect much but all of the lads talked it through and we just decided to have a laugh.

“We had nothing to lose so we just wanted to enjoy it and, thank God, we did our best and we won.”

The national media have already moved on but this terrific tale of a tiny Gwent club has put a smile on the face of everyone who has heard it.

And the remarkable story is not over yet.