Aberystwyth Town Ladies fell to a narrow defeat against Briton Ferry Llansawel on the South Wales coast.
Sophie Topper’s finish minutes before the half time interval condemned the Black and Greens to defeat and saw them slip to 8th in the table in the process.
With the April sun bathing Old Road, both teams made a bright start in the opening quarter of an hour. Both sides were looking to attack but couldn’t muster clear goal scoring opportunities. Kelly Thomas was the liveliest attacking threat for Andy Evans’ side as she saw a deflected shot fail to trouble Courtney Young in the opposition goal whilst her header from a corner landed narrowly over the bar.
For the hosts, Georgia Howells and Alexise Clayton each saw strikes fly over the cross bar whilst Ffion Ashman had to be alert to smother well at the feet of Lucy Powell.
Half way into the opening stanza, the hosts began to assert their authority on the contest. They controlled the affair until the half time whistle as they created three good chances in ten minutes.
The first came via an error from the visitors. Ashman’s clearance was intercepted by Renee Day. The attacker took the chance early, sensing the Aber stopper was off her line. However, Ashman atoned for her error, making a great diving stop to keep the scores deadlocked.
The home side kept hold of the ball well and forced two good chances in succession minutes later. The first fell to the dangerous Day who swivelled in the box but dragged her strike inches wide followed by a long-range effort from Anya Welch whose effort succumbed to a similar fate.
But with just four minutes to go until the half time whistle, Briton Ferry Llansawel got their go-ahead goal. A cross field ball evaded everyone except Topper who calmly passed the ball past Ashman and into the bottom corner of the net.
Down but not dismayed, Aber did have an opportunity to level the scores before interval but Hannah Pusey couldn’t get a telling touch on a wicked delivery across the penalty area.
The ladies from Ceredigion started the second half brightly and showing more confidence than in the opening 45 minutes. Skipper Caroline Cooper and Flavia Jenkins both got shots from distance on target but failed to trouble Young.
Despite the bright start, Briton Ferry nearly doubled their advantage. A free kick was given twenty five yards out. Nia Davies’ curling effort evaded the wall and Ashman but cannoned off the crossbar and away to safety.
Minutes later, the ladies in red missed another guilt edged opportunity. The Aber defence failed to clear the danger from another free kick but Powell hooked the ball over the bar from six yards out.
Evans made a double change in the hope of reversing his sides fortunes with Bethan Roberts and Libby Isaac being introduced into the action. The former had a good opportunity following great work down the right by Emily Thomas but her heavy touch saw the ball trickle away from her at the critical moment.
A nasty looking head injury to Ferry captain Lowri Ridings held up play with a quarter of an hour left to play however, thankfully, she was able to leave the field of her own accord.
The Seasiders were pressing for an equaliser but were struggling to break down or through a resolute backline. Substitute Ffiona Evans tried her hand from outside the area but like all of the opportunities that presented themselves to Aber, failed to seriously trouble the opposition stopper.
Jenkins came closest to earning Aber a point with a long-range effort with five minutes of the contest to go. Her corner was cleared back out to her and she rifled a shot from the edge of the penalty area, stinging the palms of Young in the goal who pushed it around the post to keep their one goal lead.
Despite plenty of endeavour, there was to be no late drama for Evans’ side as the final whistle sparked jubilant scenes from the South Walians who go ahead of the Seasiders in the Orchard Ladies Welsh Premier League.
Ashman; K Thomas, Cooper ©, E Thomas, Gwilt, F Jenkins, Pugh, Pusey, Mathias, Chalmers, Duggan
Subs: Roberts, S Evans, F Evans, Walker, Isaac, Jenkins