Corbettsports Welsh Premier League
Sunday 29th March (ko 1pm)
Aberystwyth Town 1 v 3 Airbus UK Broughton
Aberystwyth's hopes of a second place finish were dealt a blow today as they were defeated 3-1 by Airbus UK Broughton. The match also marked Sion James' 300th appearance for the Black and Greens.
It was the home side who had the best of the early exchanges, Craig Williams testing the Airbus keeper early on before Chris Venables headed just wide of the post. Williams had another good chance, finding space on the edge of the box to shoot but was unable to hit the target. Aberystwyth continued to look dangerous on the break, Chris Davies delivering a fantastic cross which was well dealt with by James Coates. Having committed players forwards, Aber were caught on the counter attack and the ever dangerous Ryan Wignall's shot found it's way past Mike Lewis' hand and into the net to hand The Wingmakers the lead on 37 minutes.
Venables had the chance to equalize with a free-kick right on the edge of the box but spurned the kick high over the bar.
Airbus continued to look strong in the second half but it was Aber again who had the first real chance, Venables unable to convert a fantastic cross from Williams. Following this near miss, the visitors went from strength to strength. Centre-back Andy Jones hit the bar from point blank range to kick start a period of dominance for Airbus. In the 66th minute, they doubled their lead through Tom Field's 16th goal of the season. Wignall was again involved, squaring the ball for the midfielder to sidefoot home despite Mike Lewis' best efforts to keep it out. The referee waved away an Aberystwyth penalty shout as Chris Davies was bundled over in the box, but again Airbus charged up to the other end quickly, Wignall again assisting this time for Ryan Wade who curled it into the bottom corner.
The tide turned slightly as Mike Lewis, yet again, saved a Tom Field penalty having previously kept him out from the spot in the recent Welsh Cup defeat. Following a series of half chances for Aber's Mark Jones and Chris Venables, it was the latter who tapped home a late consolation goal in injury time.
The defeat here sees Airbus and Bala pull away in the race for second, but it is still all to play for and Aberystwyth hope to turn things around in time for their visit to league champions, TNS in two weeks time.
Report by Tomos Ings
Manager Ian Hughes is urging Aberystwyth Town supporters to turn up the volume on Sunday at Park Avenue.
With Aber needing a win to reclaim the all important third place in the WPL, Hughes believes Aber's 12th man could make all the difference in the televised game against Airbus UK Broughton.
"Hopefully the fans will turn out again, they were excellent at home to Port Talbot and they pushed us on for the equaliser towards the end. I've said how important the fans are, and it was great to see some at Newtown," he told Martin Smith, interviewed on Aberystwyth Town's Youtube Channel this week.
"Even though it's a Sunday, we need the fans to make some noise, because we need to hear their support. The Players are putting in the effort, they are trying their best."
"We're not far away - but maybe that support may just tip it over the edge for us."
Kick off for Sunday's crunch game is at 1pm, with Admission Prices frozen down low at £5 for Adults, £3 Concessions and £1 for Kids.
Corbettsports Welsh Premier League
Sunday 29th March (ko 1pm)
Aberystwyth Town v Airbus UK Broughton
Aberystwyth Town go into Sunday's crunch home game against Airbus in excellent spirits, knowing that last Saturday's gutsy fightback at Newtown all but secured a fantastic Top Four Finish for the end of the season.
The Top Four spot - which equals Town's second best ever WPL finish - guarantees Aber at least a home draw in the Play Off Semi Finals, and if Airbus or TNS win the Welsh Cup, the Black and Greens would become top seeds guaranteed a home game for the Final too.
Now Ian Hughes' side know they probably need to win three of their last four games to equal their best ever third placed finish, gained under Tomi Morgan in the Welsh Premier League's inaugural season of 1992/3.
The Management and Players have done magnificently to raise expectations over the past two seasons - and Ian Hughes now feels that Town's supporters - who turned out in force two weeks ago for the Port Talbot game - have a crucial role to play in the Final Push for a Best Ever Finish.
The superb roar created in the Dias Stand for the Port Talbot game had a huge impact on the game's outcome, and we hope home fans are now ready to roar the Black and Greens to another famous victory on Sunday.
Manager Ian Hughes' plans were disrupted by injuries and illness last week, with Mark Jones unwell and Antonio Corbisiero and Ryan Batley confined to the bench, though Chris Venables' goalscoring return and Luke Sherbon's striking performance up front were major boosts going into Sunday's big televised game.
After a glut of high scoring games this affair is likely to be tighter - so make sure you play your part by supporting the boys, and making a noise at Park Avenue on Sunday! Kick off is at 1pm.
Prior to the game the Club's legendary Caterers Ruth's Kitchen will be serving a Sunday Carvery in the John Charles Lounge from 11.30am (Adults - £5.95, Children - £3.95).
Admission to the game costs £5 for Adults, £3 Concessions and £1 for Children.
Aberystwyth Town FC were proud and delighted to learn of Academy Product Tom Bradshaw's Wembley appearance yesterday, representing Walsall in the Johnson's Paint Trophy Final in front of 72,315 fans.
Centre forward Tom, who wears the Number 9 short for Walsall is currently enjoying his best ever season having scored 13 goals from 23 League One appearances for the Saddlers, and he was named on standby for Wales' Senior Squad in October.
Shrewsbury-born Tom was a part of Aberystwyth Town's Academy for a number of years while his family were living in Tywyn, and he made his debut for the Black and Greens in 2009, scoring 2 goals in four games and coming on as a substitute in the 2009 Welsh Cup Final.
Bradshaw then moved to Shrewsbury Town, scoring 17 goals in 89 appearances over 5 years before his move to the Bescot Stadium last summer. Having completed five years of education in Wales Tom has also played for Wales' Under 19s and Under 21s side - and he scored on his debut for both, as he did at Shrewsbury and Walsall. In fact the Black and Greens are the only side Tom failed to score for on his debut!
Everyone at the Club congratulates Tom and his family on a major achievement, and wish him all the best for his future career, which at present looks very promising indeed.
With a little over ten minutes to play on Saturday Town were staring down the barrel of a defeat away at mid Wales rivals Newtown, trailing 3-1, writes Matthew Wallace. But strikes from top goal scorer Chris Venables and midfielder Ross Stephens in the final ten minutes ensured the Seasiders made the short journey home with a share of the spoils and by doing so, kept themselves in the hunt for second place.
Reflecting on the match, manager Ian Hughes was positive about the result but naturally disappointed with not securing all three points: “I’m proud of the players for coming back but disappointed we’ve had to do it. It’s been a reoccurring theme over the past few weeks that we need to stop because going forward we’ve been great but we need to stop giving away sloppy goals. I’ll take the blame for that. I want to play an attacking brand of football and sometimes that leaves us a bit exposed at the back.”
With the team needing to claw back a two goal deficit, Hughes credits the comeback on the character of his players and a tactical shift.
“I thought we did really well at the start of the first half. We conceded too many freekicks around the penalty box and we were obviously poor at the start of the second half. Then it was about getting about back into the game and getting that next goal. We changed to a diamond and put two up front to give us more of a chance which looked good. When we’ve got Chris Venables in your team, you’re always likely to score”
The late point keeps Town in the hunt for the coveted second spot. Fellow challengers Airbus UK are the visitors to Park Avenue next Sunday that is televised on S4C and after last weekend’s excellent showing from the Green Army roaring from the Dias Stand Hughes wants a similar performance again from the side’s 12th man.
“They were excellent against Port Talbot and they pushed us on for that equaliser but we need their support this Sunday. The players are doing their best and they’re nearly there but that extra bit of fan support could tip it over the edge for us.”.
Watch Martin Smith's full post match interview with Ian Hughes via Town's Youtube Channel by clicking on the "Videos" tab here.
Corbettsports Welsh Premier League
Saturday 21st March
Newtown 3 Aberystwyth Town 3
Two late goals from Chris Venables and Ross Stephens, allied to an earlier strike from Luke Sherbon, earned the Black and Greens a potentially crucial point at Newtown yesterday, which all but guarantees them a Top Four finish for 2014/5. For the third successive League game Aber showed terrific character to come from behind to earn a point, and that never say die attitude will serve them well in the final four League games of the season.
With striker Mark Jones ruled out by a virus and Venables returning to midfield, Sherbon moved up top and he made an excellent start in the Number 9 position, holding the ball up well and bringing others into play. An open game ensued, with Newtown's main chances coming from Sean Evans, who had one attempt blocked and another cleared off the line. The visitors were creating chances too, with Geoff Kellaway and Craig Williams testing Dave Jones' handiwork, and then on 26 minutes Sherbon pounced on a hesitation at the back, did superbly to win the ball, created an opening and slotted home confidently to give Aber the lead. Kellaway again, and the Venables from 40 yards nearly scored, and then Venables appeared to be hauled back in the area - but characteristic of this game was the fact that chances were still coming at both ends. It appeared that Jason Oswell had to score from 10 yards but he dragged his shot wide, then on 34 minutes Craig Williams equalised for Newtown with a deft free kick from the edge of the area. There was still time for Sherbon to come within an inch of scoring with a wonder volley which bounced back off the post, and a breathtaking half ended 1-1.
If nervy supporters were hoping for a quieter second half they were to be disappointed! Venables had one shot deflected wide, then headed over from a Craig Williams free kick, but Newtown were fully in the game and it was no surprise when Oswell pounced on some uncertainty at the back to score from a yard on the hour, after a lofted free kick from out on the right. For Aber Stephens headed wide from a right wing cross, and at the other end Matty Owen drew a good save from Mike Lewis who parried the ball to safety with a big left hand. Stuart Jones went close, seeing a header and a volley blocked but then disaster struck for the visitors with sixteen minutes left, as Matthew Hearsey finished a breakaway down the right flank by finding the net to surely kill off the game. However, Black and Greens are never beaten, and back came Aber. With ten minutes left a Sherbon ball in from the right wing was controlled and volleyed home contemptuously by Venables, and after seven more minutes of non stop pressure, Craig Williams' pinpoint right wing cross was deftly touched home by Stephens at the near post for a brilliant equaliser. It was all Aber now but Kellaway's lob was gathered by Dave Jones, and then his cross shot fell inches wide, and an amazingly entertaining game ended 3-3.
Aber's six games in the Championship Conference to date have produced 30 goals, and given unforgettable entertainment. Exciting as stirring comebacks can be, Ian Hughes and his players will be desperate to get back to winning ways next Sunday as they welcome nearest rivals Airbus UK Broughton, who lost 3-0 at Bala this afternoon, to Park Avenue for a titanic tussle. Kick off is at 1pm and after yesterday's thrills and spills the anticipation is building already.