Saturday 14th February
Airbus UK Broughton 3 Aberystwyth Town 2
Injury ravaged Aberystwyth Town suffered late heartbreak on Valentine's Day as two goals in the last six minutes won the game for the hosts, after strikes from Chris Venables and Luke Sherbon had put the Black and Greens within sight of victory.
Despite starting the game without Sion James, Stephen Wright, Ryan Batley and Chris Davies Aber started confidently and showed their technical qualities on the superb 3G surface at the Airfield. In fact the surface contributed to a high quality half which was a great advert for the Championship Conference, as Airbus also showed some nice touches, though clear chances were few and far between. Glenn Rule fired just over for the hosts, then Town took the lead after 25 minutes when Antonio Corbisiero's lofted cross was handled in the area by Andy Jones, and Venables buried the gift penalty for what in a tight game looked a priceless lead. The hosts however responded quickly, and when Lee Owens' overlapping run into the box was halted by Craig Williams, referee Dean John pointed for a second pen, confidently dispatched by Tom Field on 31 minutes. Stuart Jones had a shot blocked for Aber, and Ryan Wignall fired inches wide for Airbus - and the visitor were very good value for the first half scoreline of 1-1.
The Wingmakers in truth dominated possession for most of the second half as Aber dropped deep to protect their valuable point, however countless identical balls into the box were well dealt with by visiting centre backs Stuart Jones and Wyn Thomas, meaning that Mike Lewis had almost no saves to make. Into the last fifteen minutes Aber once again started to press and with just five minutes left a superb free kick from Ross Stephens found Thomas' head, bringing a save from James Coates which pushed the ball straight onto Sherbon's head for possibly Aber's biggest goal of the season. Unfortunately it came too soon. Three minutes later Field equalised with a peach of a free kick from the edge of the area, before a breathless seven minutes of injury time. Aber's Mark Jones intercepted the ball and bore down on goal before appearing to be taken out from behind, but play was waved on, then in the 94th minute Airbus were fortunate to be awarded a penalty for an innocuous handball by Ross Stephens, who was facing away from the ball, and Field gained a narrow and crucial victory for Airbus with a 94th minute penalty. Venables was dismissed for a second yellow card, and the game was done.
The result was a very hard one to take for Aber, knowing how close they had come - twice - to a massive result. The good news is that Town have two more opportunities to beat Saturday's opponents, both at Park Avenue in the next six weeks. For now though the Black and Greens will lick their wounds and prepare for another important game next Sunday, when Champions Elect The New Saints visit Aberystwyth for a 1pm kick off.