Wyn Thomas, in conversation with S4C's Sgorio programme, was keen to praise his attacking players after last Friday night's convincing 3-1 win over Rhyl, which returned the Black and Greens to the summit of the WPL Play Off Conference for a week at least.
"It was a game of two halves as they say! But we've got players like Rhys Griffiths - he played exceptionally well tonight - Craig Williams, and Venners, really good players."
Goals from Williams, Ross Stephens and Venables crowned what was in all honesty a fairly comfortable win over a Rhyl side which was relegated on Monday after a heavy defeat at Port Talbot. However Thomas was not 100% happy with the performance:
"We need to defend better, Rhyl's goal was a poor one to concede again, but points are the important thing now, and we got three points tonight."
Results, not performances are the order of the day at this time of the season and Town know that three wins will guarantee them seventh place in the Dafabet WPL and a UEFA Europa League Play Off Spot.
Having gained 14 points from their 7 Play Off Conference matches to date, Aber will enjoy a well earned break this weekend, while rivals Bangor City and Carmarthen Town both host relegation threatened Haverfordwest County on Saturday and Tuesday respectively, before the Pembrokeshire Bluebirds visit Park Avenue a week tomorrow, Friday 8th April (ko 7.45pm).
Aberystwyth Town Football Club and its Academy Officials are delighted and extremely proud to have witnessed a moment in history this evening at 8.30pm, when Tom Bradshaw became the Club's first ever Academy Product to win a Full Cap for Wales.
Tom came on as a 72nd minute substitute during Wales' narrow 1-0 defeat to Ukraine at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev, and made a big impression by having a number of attempts on goal, in a performance which thrilled Aber Town supporters who remember his debut making season at the Club of 2008/9.
His impact will not surprise those following Tom's career closely as he has scored on his debuts for Wales Under 19s, Under 21s, Shrewsbury Town and Walsall, and only Ukraine goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov prevented him from repeating the trick tonight.
Wales Manager Chris Coleman will name his Squad for the Euros on or by May 31st, and Tom has done his chances of being called up no harm with a stirring cameo performance this evening.
Incidentally Bradshaw also becomes the first Aberystwyth Town player to progress to a Senior Wales Cap since Phil Woosnam in 1959.
Congratulations Tom from all your friends in Aber.
Dafabet Welsh Premier
Friday 25th March
Abeystwyth Town 3 Rhyl 1
Goals from Craig Williams (18 minutes), Ross Stephens (48 minutes) and Chris Venables (55 minutes) earned Aber a priceless victory over relegation haunted Rhyl at Park Avenue this evening, for whom Zac Corbett opened the scoring on 13 minutes. The win takes Town back up to the all important seventh spot at the top of the Play Off Conference, and with rivals Carmarthen losing at home to Port Talbot the Black and Greens know that wins in their final three games will guarantee them a UEFA Europa League Play Off Spot.
Aber went into the game knowing that a win was a must to retain hopes of a Seventh placed finish, while Rhyl needed a victory to retain even a theoretical chance of saving their WPL Status. Craig Williams returned to the starting eleven after an impressive cameo last week and the hosts were soon on the attack. Rhys Griffiths flicked on a header for Geoff Kellaway to fire over early on, and then Williams sent in a trademark free kick from which Venables glanced a header just wide. Then from their second attack Rhyl scored. A soft free kick on the edge of the area was fired in low by Rob Hughes, and Mike Lewis’ save fell perfectly for Zac Corbett to nod the ball home from close range. The response came immediately and within 5 minutes Aber were level, when they were awarded a penalty for handball. Venables’ effort was saved by Terry McCormick but Williams was first to the rebound to snaffle up a deserved equaliser. The hosts continued to attack with Kellaway setting up a great chance from the left, crossing for Venables who placed an effort agonizingly past the post. Williams then drew another save from McCormick before at the other end a superb goal saving tackle by Stuart Jones denied Corbett as he closed in on goal. Griffiths headed wide for Aber, and then at the other end the hosts survived a difficult injury time which culminated in Greg Stones hitting the bar from close range, and parity at half time was probably just about right.
Aber started the second half with much more urgency and a classy period of pressure effectively won the game. Just three minutes had elapsed when Kellaway surged before sending in another superb cross, and who but Ross Stephens was there to score with a thrilling diving header right in front of the Dias Stand. Hughes went close for Rhyl but then back again came the hosts. A quick free kick set up Venables but his low drive was parried to safety by McCormick. This was only a temporary reprieve though and with the Black and Greens showing strong commitment in the tackle and a clinical edge up front the third had to come. It did so when Venables found space in the right side of the area to dance around his bete noir McCormick and bury his sixteenth WPL goal of the season with a low drive: a goal which brought him back level at the top of the WPL’s Golden Boot contest. Town went on to dominate the remainder of the game, with more goals seemingly inevitable. Griffiths’ deft touch set up Kellaway who went close again, and Griffiths himself then headed just over from an excellent Williams delivery. Venables was again denied by McCormick before Kellaway fired wide, while at the other end Mike Lewis pulled out an excellent save to prevent a deflected shot from David Mannix finding the net. Next Antonio Corbisiero sent in a great cross which Griffiths headed against the bar, and with news filtering through of Port Talbot’s surprise win at Carmarthen Good Friday was indeed turning into Great Friday. Lewis denied Stones and Jon Owen who both saw close range headers saved, and Venables was yet again denied by McCormick, sub Kane Owen blasted wide, and another wonderful touch from Griffiths set up Jonathan Evans who scored with a sweet curling effort, but his special goal was ruled out for offside.
An extremely entertaining game therefore went Aber’s way and the importance of the win was underlined by Carmarthen’s defeat, which means Town return to the top of the Play Off Conference on 40 points. Equally encouraging however was a very positive performance at home, and if the Black and Green can replicate that level over the next three games they can be confident of a UEFA Europa League Play Off place. The next chapter in this intriguing season comes in thirteen days when Haverfordwest County visit Park Avenue on Friday 8th April (ko 7.45pm).
Dafabet Welsh Premier League
Friday 25th March (ko 7.45pm)
Aberystwyth Town v Rhyl
Aber Town return to Park Avenue after a four week hiatus on Friday night knowing that a positive home result is necessary to keep themselves in the running for the UEFA Europa League Play Offs. Two away draws at Bangor and Port Talbot have showcased Aber's defensive strength, and their attacking resiliance respectively, and Black and Green Supporters will be hoping that both characteristics are in evidence on Friday as eleventh place Rhyl travel to the Ceredigion Coast. Aber currently stand 3 points adrift of the all important seventh spot on 37 points, but know that three of their last four matches are at home, and a win of Friday would be a big boost ahead of a two week lay off.
Aside from long term absentee Luke Sherbon Town were back to full strength on Friday at Port Talbot, and Rhys Griffiths' presence up front was a big positive for them. Craig Williams made a big impact off the bench with two assists, and the quixotic Chris Venables snaffled up two late headers to put himself right back in the running for a third successive WPL Golden Boot on 15 goals.
Visitors Rhyl, despite playing well in patches throughout the season, lie in eleventh place and suffered a heartbreaking loss to Bangor City last Saturday evening. However players such as Jon Owen and Ron Hughes showed flashes of class on TV last week and will need to be closely watched.
Wyn Thomas told Aber Town's Youtube Channel this week:“Rhyl next week at home is a big, big game. We need a big crowd, a big noise to cheer us on because that’s what the lads need and hopefully, if we perform like we did in the second half tonight, we’ll get the all important three points.”
Can Aber turn Good Friday into a Great Friday? There's only one way to find out! Admission costs a bargain £6 for Adults, £4 Concessions and £1 for Kids. See you down Park Ave - the game kicks off at 7.45pm.
Aberystwyth Town's 3G project has been almost three years in the planning and has been an off the field roller coaster ride to rival the First Team's fortunes on the field over the same period. Last week we learned how the Club developed a successful 3G bid to the FAW which hung on a deal to sell Tai Ceredigion the astroturf area for a building development.
Club Chairman Tony Bates takes us through the next stage of the process:
"A big hurdle for the development appeared when the application to the Local Authority Planning Department for access via our Car Park was rejected. After a site meeting we decided to look at providing access via the other side of the ground, adjacent to the Police Station, and although this brought some extra work, it was agreed, and we ceded a small strip of land necessary for that access road. At this point the Local Authority Planning Officers recommended refusal of the project, but at a meeting in April 2015 the Planning Committee approved it pending amendments to the Access Route and we received planning permission.
The funding for Tai Ceredigion's Social Housing development was also an important factor. They received a grant from Aberystwyth's Development Fund and a crucial extra grant from the Welsh Office in March 2016.
On February 23rd 2016 Ceredigion County Council finally agreed to sell the Astroturf area to Tai Ceredigion, which made the last piece in the jigsaw, the final tranche of funding a real hair raiser. Following the approval the Council had a 10 day moritorium which meant they were unable to sign the contracts until March 4th. This date also happened to be the exact deadline for applications to the Welsh Office fund!"
On the morning of the 4th the Contracts had to be delivered to Aberystwyth from Tai Ceredigion's Office in Lampeter for signing, and it was snowing! Thankfully though the crucial papers made it through and the Contracts were finally signed off at 10.27am - a time which will be forever etched in the memory of Tony Bates who had carried out a phenomenal amount of work on the project.
Finally around lunchtime a group of Club Directors met in Harry's Bar to celebrate with a few light ales what was hopefully a momentous day in the history of Aberystwyth Town Football Club.
Aberystwyth Town Football Club hopes to put on some end of season events to bid farewell to the Park Avenue pitch, before the 3G Pitch is laid around mid May, and it should be operational in time for the start of the 2016/7 season. Note that the Housing Development construction is not expected to cause any significant disruption to the use of the 3G Facility once it has been laid.
Incidentally The Club has also applied for planning permission for a further 24 flats and complete upgrade of Club facilities, and if successful will be looking for a developer in the future.
Port Talbot defender Kurtis March lay sprawled midway between the half way line and his own goal. Eighty six minutes of an unremarkable game of football had passed and it looked as though the home side were on course to register a famous win. However, as the former Swans man limped off after suffering a ball to the head, little did anyone in the ground know what was about to pass, writes Club Media Assistant Matthew Wallace.
With Town trailing 1-0 going into the final minute of normal time, three goals in a quite remarkable eight minutes saw the game finish 2-2 leaving players, supporters and journalists in shock at what happened.
“The last eight minutes were crazy. When we scored to make it one each, I thought we would go on to win it as there was enough time with added time to come for us to win it. We’ve made a mistake at the back but all credit to the players once again. They’ve put the effort in, they’ve got the commitment and the desire and that’s what you get.” Interim manager Wyn Thomas told Aberystwyth Town's Youtube Channel after the full time whistle.
The previous 89 minutes had been largely non descript. Port Talbot enjoyed the lion’s share of the first half and much of the second but despite their dominance in large periods of the game, they couldn’t increase the advantage that former Seasider Luke Bowen had given the hosts on the 25th minute.
“There was nothing much in the game as you expect. It’s quite tight down the bottom. Port Talbot has always been a tough place to go to, the pitch was hard, the surface was tough to play on which contributed to the mistakes out there. We started off well, they’ve scored a free kick that we should have defended better but we’ve come out second half and showed an improvement. We played in the right areas. We got what we deserved.”
With both Carmarthen and Bangor picking up wins against relegation threatened rivals over the weekend, this point could prove a big positive as the season draws to a close, both in football terms and for momentum.
“We didn’t lose. Since the split we’ve only lost against Carmarthen which was a poor performance but we’ve grown from that. Hopefully, that last minute goal will help turn those draws into wins now because that’s what we need. We’ve got to fight for that seventh spot. It’s not going to be easy. It’s not ours to have. Carmarthen, Bangor and Port Talbot; they all want it. Rhyl next week at home is a big, big game. We need a big crowd, a big noise to cheer us on because that’s what the lads need and hopefully, if we perform like we did in the second half tonight, we’ll get the all important three points.”
To view the interview with Wyn Thomas visit Aberystwyth Town’s Youtube Channel here.