Sunday 26th April
Port Talbot Town 1 Aberystwyth Town 2
Aber Town brought down the curtain on the regular section of a Super season with a morale boosting 2-1 win at Play Offs rivals Port Talbot's ground this afternoon. Goals from Geoff Kellaway and Craig Williams ensured that the Black and Greens crossed the 50 point barrier for the season and enter the Play Offs in two weeks time in high spirits, and Chris Venables was confirmed as the WPL Golden Boot winner for the second season running for his amazing 28 goal haul from midfield.
On a lovely sunny day in Aberavon the game was preceded by a Guard of Honour for retiring referee Mark Whitby who has been a superb servant to the League for so many seasons. An open and entertaining game ensued despite a bobbly surface. The homesters' Liam McCreesh fired over the bar from close range early on, but then in the ninth minute Aber took the lead. Venables' rasping 30 yard shot was parried by stand in keeper Connor McFenton to Kellaway, and the Felinfach Flier headed downwards to score a vital opener for Ian Hughes' men. Martin Rose brought the first save of the day from visiting keeper Mike Lewis, then Kellaway fired wide with a speculative effort. Venables headed a Williams free kick over the bar, then Williams himself was denied by McFenton. Dan Sheehan drew a comfortable save from Lewis, then Luke Sherbon fired just over as the chances kept coming. Chris Davies then narrowly missed the target for Aber before they finally got a deserved second eleven minutes before half time, when Kellaway's shot was deflected straight to Williams who pounced to conquer. When a few more half chances went begging the half time score stayed at 0-2, with Aber good value for a lead, even though Talbot had also enjoyed their moments.
Aber started the second half on the front foot with Mark Jones putting himself about, but then the Steelmen had a real go. Rose, and Chris Davies brought decent saves from Lewis, but six minutes in a corner on the left was floated straight to the head of Luke Bowen, who finished easily to halve the deficit. Rose had a dangerous shot deflected wide, and the visitors appeared to have survived an onslaught. Venables had a shout for a penalty denied, then Mark Jones headed just wide from a Kellaway cross. Venables then had a headed goal from a corner disallowed, and Kellaway shot wide with Aber cutting through the home defence at ease. There was no room for complacency however, and Rose then, right through on goal, inexplicably missed the target with a deft lob. Ross Stephens volleyed over, Venables hit the post, before narrowly missing once more with a cultured lob. The irrepressible Venables was then denied again by McFenton and it was clearly not going to be the Golden Boot's day! Talbot did launch a late foray in added time, and McCreesh tested Lewis for a final time, but the visitors held on valiantly and gained a deserved win on the South Wales coast.
The Black and Greens could not have picked a better time to find their form, and they now know they will host Gap Connah's Quay (if TNS win the Welsh Cup), or Port Talbot (if Newtown win the Cup) in the UEFA Europa League Play Off Semi Finals on Saturday 9th or Sunday 10th May. Aber's WPL season is of course certain to end in drama, hopefully in three weeks time with a Play Off Final victory. See you in two weeks down Park Avenue!