With eleven games gone in the 2018/9 iteration of the JD Welsh Premier League Aber Town are half way to the January split which will define their season.
The Black and Greens have garnered 14 points to date which leaves them two points off the Top Six. This is a big improvement on last season, when Town had only nine, and it means that the Black and Greens can still realistically make a push for what would be the Club‘s second ever Top Half finish. How have they got there so far?
Winning the Key Games
Manager Neville Powell’s men have shown an ability so far to win the key games. Marked down as potential strugglers by some pundits, crucial victories in tight games over Llandudno at home and away, and at home to Llanelli have meant that Aber stand six points away from relegation and have earned the right to look upwards instead of downwards in the table. It is worth noting that Captain Declan Walker (right)'s 3 crucial strikes to date have earned Aber two victories over Llandudno, and salvaged a point at Carmarthen when all seemed lost.
Defensive Experience and Solidity
Aber’s defence has improved markedly in the past few games with Assistant Manager Gavin Allen’s organisational coaching skills coming to the fore. The extra experience and nous brought by goalkeeper Terry McCormick and centre back Allan Goodall have shored up the back five, which along with the stalwart efforts of Ryan Wollacott, Wes Baynes, Steff Edwards and Jack Rimmer have ensured two consecutive clean sheets and given the Seasiders a base on which to grind out results.
A detailed read of Instat’s match data for Aberystwyth Town makes interesting reading. Winger Ryan Edwards is Aber’s highest rated player of the season with 21 successful dribbles made, and three assists to his name. Midfield enforcer Paolo Mendes has won an astonishing 85% of his defensive tackles and local boy Matthew Jones is Aber’s top ball winner with 18 interceptions made to date. Town’s midfielders are key to their defensive shape and they will need to continue this excellent protection if the team are to maintain a push for glory.
Everyone’s Chipping In
Six different players have scored for Aber so far this season in the WPL. Declan Walker leads the way from midfield with 3 goals, while forwards Ash Ruane, Rio Ahmadi and Geoff Kellaway (left) have contributed two each. Right back Wes Baynes has contributed not just three assists but also two spectacular volleyed goals, including a goal of the week stunner against Cardiff Met, and flying winger Joe Phillips also got on the scoresheet against Llanelli.
Strength in depth
Geoff Kellaway has scored 2 crucial goals without starting regularly and Jack Rimmer contributed to a notable clean sheet at home against Caernarfon. Lee Jenkins at Centre Back made a superb impression in Aber’s first few games, with keeper Leigh Jenkins and winger Nash Blake also doing their bit when needed.
Looking Forward: Play Your Part and Support the Boys
The Black and Greens displayed in September’s memorable 3-2 win over Bala Town the ability to beat WPL heavyweights. They will almost certainly have to overcome more Top Six candidates if they are to make the cut come January.
Town’s quest for the Top Six continues on Friday evening with a trip to Llanelli (ko 7.45pm), before Champions The New Saints visit Park Avenue on Friday 2nd November. A good following could make all the difference in the crucial tight games so make sure you play your part too. See you at Stebo!
Photos courtesy of Colin Ewart