First half goals apiece from Jack Kenny and former Aber man Darren Thomas sunk Aberystwyth Town on a cold but clear night at Aberystwyth University Park Avenue.
Despite skipper Marc Williams grabbing his 5th of the season and a flurry of chances late on, the Seasiders could not muster their way past a stubborn and organised back line to claim a much needed three points.
Four changes were made to the starting line up from last week’s defeat against Bala. In to the starting eleven came Mati Etchegoyen, Jamie Veale, Louis Bradford and Gwion Owen.
Having been on a poor run of form, Gavin Allen’s men knew the importance of getting a positive result to begin a series of crucial fixtures and they flew out of the starting blocks. The early possession and territory was dominated by the men from Ceredigion and a series of corners signalled their early intent. A well worked routine was superbly blocked by the Cofi defence to keep parity with the scores.
The Canaries, who came into this game after back to back defeats, were well drilled and a threat going forward. A make shift defence had their hands full with the lively Jack Kenny and the experienced Mike Hayes. They created chances of their own with Thomas hooking the ball wide and Sam Jones fired wide.
However, with the Seasiders looking confident, disaster struck on the 20 minute mark. Possession was lost in midfield and Thomas gathered the loose ball. He passed the ball to Hayes who rode the challenge from Bradford to feed his strike partner to open the scoring for the evening.
The goal left Aber reeling and a flurry of half chances fell the way of the men from Gwynedd soon after. Thomas, a thorn in the Aber defence all night, hit the side netting and Hayes was denied by Connor Roberts in goal for Town.
But with the half growing to a close and the Black and Greens regaining some control of the game, the visitors doubled their advantage. An innocuous in-swinging free kick from the left hand side from Thomas evaded everyone, including the Aber defence and nestled home in the bottom corner of the net.
Allen reacted at the interval with the introduction of Jonathan Evans and Geoff Kellaway to spark a response. Both men were lively and gave the hosts an outlet out wide which had been missing in the opening stanza.
The game was nearly out of site within five minutes of the second half for the visitors. Referee Huw Jones deemed that Stephen Hewitt had handled the ball in the area but Kenny was to be denied a brace for the evening by a superb stop from Roberts, who managed to keep hold of the ball as well to deny any scraps for the onrushing attackers.
The final half an hour saw Aber dominate possession but they were struggling to break down a well marshalled defence to create clear cut chances. Jack Rimmer was Town’s main source of attacking intent as he and Evans combined well down the right-hand side and was happy switching the ball from his right flank to the left wing. Matthew Jones’ cross came within a whisker of getting a touch at the far post and Jack Thorn was unable to trouble Josh Tibbetts in the opposition goal.
With the game hurtling towards its conclusion, the home side reduced the arrears and got the goal their dominance richly deserved with just two minutes of regular time to go. A corner from the left-hand side was whipped in by Jones and it was the skipper, Williams, who met the ball from just four yards out to nod it home and give Aber some hope of a revival.
With time being of the essence, the green shirts were camped inside the attacking half looking for an equaliser. With the added time showing three minutes, Tibbetts produced two world class saves to keep the three points from his side. Jones’ free kick was tipped brilliantly over the bar and from a free kick out wide, he produced another outstanding stop to break the hearts of the vocal home support from behind the ground and sinking the players to their knees in disappointment.