The club were devastated yesterday morning to learn of the passing of Tony Payne, who was Head of Security at Park Avenue and a hugely popular figure, not only at Aberystwyth Town but within the local community also. Tony’s contribution to the club over many years was immeasurable and his warm welcome, generosity and friendship will be sorely missed by all. Everyone’s thoughts are currently with his wife Sara and children Jordan & Sophie.
Football is insignificant in these circumstances – however Aberystwyth Town FC would like to dedicate last night’s victory to our dear friend, Tony.
Ahead of the game, Gavin Allen made one change from Saturdays’ defeat to Barry Town, with Jonathan Evans replacing Rhys Davies. Aber lined up in their yellow away kit for the first time this season, with all the players wearing black armbands as a mark of respect.
It was an uneventful opening first fifteen minutes to the game, with the first real chance falling to Druids on 17 minutes – Iwan Cartwright heading wide from a corner. Lee Jenkins then had to be alert to deny Druids a shot from close range a minute later, before Jonny Evans registered Aber’s first shot on target.
Druids arguably had the better of much of the first half, as Connor Roberts saved well from Josef Faux on twenty minutes before both Aaron Simpson and Alex Darlington had chances to open the scoring also. At the other end, Marc Williams was finding his range, first having a shot deflected for a corner before shooting just over from 20 yards. On 41 minutes, the Aber captain got even closer still, hitting the woodwork following good work from Gwion Owen, who was once again impressing with his tireless energy in the middle of midfield.
On 44 minutes, Aber took the lead. Druids keeper Dawid Szczepaniak spilled the ball from his grasp, and Jonathan Evans reacted quickest, slotting into the net to give Aber the advantage. Less than a minute later it was 2-0, as Marc Williams hit a sublime effort into the top right of the net from 20 yards. From 0-0 with a minute to go to the break, Aber now had a commanding lead.
Aber continued their good play after the restart, with Jonathan Evans doing well down the right hand side and finding Williams again, who was unlucky to see his header flash just wide. Lee Jenkins had to be alert on a couple of occasions to deny the home side, before Steff Davies just failed to connect with another cross from Jonathan Evans, who was giving Druid’s left back a torrid time.
Steff Davies did not have to wait long for another opportunity however, and on 62 minutes it was 3-0 to the visitors. Jonathan Evans was once again involved in the action, beating his marker before sending in a superb cross to Marc Williams at the back post. The Aber captain nodded down for Steff Davies to net his second goal in as many games and the Seasiders third of the night.
The Black & Greens weren’t satisfied with the scoreline however, and kept pushing for more goals. On 70 minutes Steven Hewitt, who impressed all game in only his second start of the season, combined well with Marc Williams who set up Jonathan Evans, but keeper Szczepanick was not to be beaten on this occasion. Jamie Veale then registered another shot on target from a free-kick, before Richie Ricketts entered the action in place of Steff Davies.
With ten minutes left on the clock, Aber were dealt a blow when Jonathan Evans pulled up and had to be substituted. The winger had been in terrific form all game, contributing to much of what was good about the team’s performance, and everyone at the club will be hoping that the injury sustained does not keep him out for too long. Jack Thorn came on in Evans’ place.
As the clock ticked down, Druids had a bit of a resurgence, with Aber’s defensive line doing well to deal with a number of attacks and Connor Roberts saving from an Aaron Simpson header. The back four of Miles John, Louis Bradford, Lee Jenkins and Mathew Jones along with keeper Roberts must be commended on their performance, which was outstanding for the entirety of the game, and was rightly praised by manager Gavin Allen after the match.
The Black & Greens weren’t quite finished for the evening however and just as the match was reaching its conclusion, Richie Ricketts burst down the left. Holding off a couple of opposition defenders, the youngster crossed for Jack Thorn, who claimed his first goal in senior football.
The referee blew for full time and with that emphatic victory, Aber climb to 8 points and into the Top Six!
Gavin Allen was pleased with his teams work, commenting “I thought we were on it. It was a great performance from the boys with four goals and a clean sheet. They have showed character tonight. I thought the back line were excellent – they won everything. At times we’ve looked threatening, and it was a decent performance. I hope Tony would be looking down on us and smiling tonight and Tony, that’s 3 points for you mate”.
Next up for The Black & Greens is a trip to Bala Town on Saturday, which is live on Sgorio with a 5.15pm Kick-Off. As usual coverage will also be provided on our Twitter platform @AberystwythTown, as the team will look to replicate last night’s performance – a fitting tribute to a man who did so much for Aberystwyth Town Football Club. That one is for you, Tony and for Sara, Jordan & Sophie too. We’re all thinking of you.