JD Welsh Premier League
Friday 30th November
Aberystwyth Town 1-1 Carmarthen Town
Aberystwyth Town had to settle for a hard earned point as they extended their unbeaten run to seven games against a well organised Carmarthen Town side at Park Avenue on Friday evening. Declan Walker's 10th minute header had put the Seasiders firmly in control, but a failure to further capitalise on their first half dominance allowed the visitors back into the game through a Liam Thomas penalty (55), as both sides settled for a hard earned point.
Aber made one change to the starting eleven that beat Bala Town at Maes Tegid last time out, as Rio Ahmadi replaced Joe Phillips, joining strike partner Ash Ruane as a central striker. It was the visitors who started the game the brightest, with Terry McCormick forced into two fine saves within the opening five minutes. The Aber 'keeper parried Luke Cummings' palm-stinger away from goal, before producing a great reaction save with his right foot to deny Mael Davies. Aber slowly began to find their feet as Mathew Jones and Paulo Mendes took control in midfield, and they took the lead with their first meaningful attack of the game. Mendes won the ball in the heart of midfield and played in Wes Baynes on the right flank, who delivered a whipped cross on a sixpence for Declan Walker to produce an excellent header into the bottom right corner of Lee Idzi's net to make it 1-0. The goal gave the hosts a surge of confidence as they began to utterly dominate all over the field. On 21 minutes, they could have doubled their lead as Ash Ruane harried Dave Vincent off the ball and struck a half volley destined for the top corner, only for Idzi to produce a fine save. Soon after, Alan Goodall almost made it two as he turned and volleyed a left footed effort inches wide of the post, before Baynes found Paulo Mendes in the area only for his header to loop agonisingly over the crossbar. It looked like a matter of 'when' rather than 'if' Aber would double their lead as Jones, Walker and Mendes continued to win the midfield battle with Ryan Edwards causing havoc on the left flank. On the stroke of half time, Mendes found himself in behind the visitors back line once more but was denied by a fantastic last ditch tackle by Ceri Morgan, and Aber would enter the half time break with a slender advantage.
Carmarthen shuffled the pack at the break with Sean Hanbury replacing Ceri Morgan, and the change seemed to spark them into life somewhat. The first chance of the second half did fall to the Seasiders though, as Baynes delivered yet another superb cross to Ruane, who was unable to direct his header towards goal after finding space in the area. Then, on 55 minutes the game was turned on its head as Carmarthen were awarded a penalty kick after Luke Bowen smashed the ball against the hand of Steff Edwards from close range, and referee Iwan Griffith pointed to the spot. Liam Thomas stepped up and converted the spot kick to McCormick's right to make it 1-1. The equaliser gave the visitors a lift, as they began to push more players forward, and very nearly fashioned another opportunity as Luke Bowen was denied by some superb defending from Ryan Wollacott. Aber introduced Joe Phillips and Geoff Kellaway in place of Ahmadi and Mendes on 70 minutes, but continued to struggle to find a way past the visitors' defence as they had done on multiple occasions in the first half. As the game entered the final 10 minutes, it became a scrappy affair with neither side able to produce any flowing football; Declan Carroll coming closest to finding a winner as he forced McCormick into a good save from a long range effort. Town's supporters sensed there may be one last opportunity to notch their third stoppage time winner in a row, but it wasn't to be as the visitors defended staunchly and both sides would have to settle for a point.
The draw keeps Aber in fifth place in the JD Welsh Premier League, just three points off the top of the table and five points clear of seventh placed Caernarfon as they look to confirm their place in the top six. Next weekend sees the return of the JD Welsh Cup as Aber travel to Welsh League outfit Cwmamman United for their third round tie in a 1:30p.m kick off, before a crunch JD Welsh Premier League clash away at Caernarfon in a fortnight's time.
Aberystwyth Town: McCormick, Baynes, Goodall, Wollacott, S Edwards, Jones, Mendes (70), Walker, R Edwards, Ahmadi (70), Ruane. Subs: Rimmer, Kellaway (70), Jenkins, Blake, Rowe, Coleridge, Phillips (70)
Carmarthen Town: Idzi, Davies, Vincent, Surman, Knott, Cummings, Morgan (45), Vickers (75), Carroll, L Thomas, Bowen. Subs: Woodford, Hanford (75), D Thomas, Hanbury (45), Baldwin