Two second half goals in five minutes sank a spirited Aberystwyth Town Ladies side in the Women’s Welsh Premier League on a blustery and overcast afternoon in Ceredigion.
In a competitive affair, the Seasiders had taken the lead thanks to Libby Isaac’s strike early in the second half but a swift brace followed by a late goal after a counter attack saw the visitors leave the Ceredigion coast with all three points.
Aber started the game brightly and carved out three good chances in the opening quarter of an hour. After just two minutes, a great ball down the right flank from Lucie Gwilt found Eloise Jenkins on the edge of the area. The winger was able to beat her opponent but her shot was well stopped at the near post by visiting stopper Vicky Beddows.
The opposition keeper was again on hand to prevent Aber taking the lead just minutes later as Bethan Roberts’ drive from 25 yards out was comfortably stopped before Tanya Wilde’s speculative long-range shot failed to trouble the goal with the match twelve minutes old. At the other end, home keeper Ffion Ashman saved well from Courtney Thomas’ half volley following an excellent delivery from a corner.
After a busy opening fifteen minutes in which Aber enjoyed the better of the affair, the game calmed and there was very little in the way of goal mouth action. The Blues were enjoying the majority of possession but the Seasiders looked threatening on the break.
In fact, it took until two minutes before the interval for the next chance of note as Roberts again troubled the keeper from distance. Her effort looked to be looping in but Beddows footwork ensured that the goal remained untroubled at the interval.
After a sedate opening stanza, the opening of the second was anything but. From the kick off, Aber looked to seize the initiative and were pressing the Steelwomen’s goal from the off. The introduction of last week’s match winner Niamh Duggan added another dimension to Aber’s attacking play and it was her work down the right that set up Eloise Jenkins. Only a brilliant last-ditch block from visiting captain Chelsey Harris prevented an early second period goal.
But Aber didn’t have to wait long until they did take the lead. In the 49th minute, a long clearance over the top of the Port Talbot defence was chased down superbly by Wylde. Beddows came out to clear the danger but her efforts landed kindly at the feet of Libby Isaac who had the simple job of rolling the ball into an empty net from 30 yards out.
However, the visitors were behind for only minutes. The visitors worked the ball well down the left hand side and the ever dangerous Lauren Amor met the low cross in the penalty area to level the scores.
The goal stunned the home side and they were to be dealt a further blow just five minutes later. A cross was once again the source of the danger but this time, Rachel Ball met the ball with her head to the jubilation of the South Walians. Manager Andy Evans responded with the introduction of Charlotte Chambers and Kelly Thomas in search of a leveller.
Despite the disappointment, the home side went in search of an equaliser but the Port Talbot defence were well organised and able to repel anything thrown their way. They too came close to extending their lead as Amor forced Ashman into a smart stop whilst Maisie Miller’s superb shot from the left flank struck a post.
With Aber pilling forward late on in an effort to get the equaliser, Port Talbot put the game beyond doubt with an excellent counter attack. Despite Ashman saving brilliantly from Miller’s initial effort, the rebound fell kindly to Courtney Thomas who was able to find the bottom corner to put the game beyond doubt.
Although disappointed, Aber were not disheartened and with the last kick of the game, came close to reducing the arrears. Isaac was again the danger woman as her volley from an Eloise Jenkins’ cross landed narrowly over the crossbar.
Although the Ladies will be disappointed not to take anything from the game, there were plenty of positives for Andy Evans and his staff to mull over going into future games, starting with the daunting task of an away trip to Cardiff Met next Sunday.
Starting Line Up
Ffion Ashman; Beth Roberts, Caroline Cooper © Libby Isaac, Tania Wylde, Ffiona Evans, Dwynwen Davies, Lucie Gwilt, Flavia Jenkins, Josie Pugh, Eloise Jenkins
Sian Meleri Evans, Kelly Thomas, Alaw Davies, Charlotte Chambers, Niamh Duggan
Photo Credit: Chris Howells