A throw away half time comment has caused a social media storm amongst football supporters all over the globe. The post has caught the attention of thousands all over the world on both Facebook and Twitter including influential posters such as BBC Match of the Day, Gary Neville and Mundial magazine.
Having to assume a new vantage point to follow proceedings, the media team of Paul Coyne, Owain Evans and Matthew Wallace spotted the somewhat unusual sight of two supporters perched over the wall at the far end of the ground. With half time providing a lull in proceedings, a photograph went online with the caption, “The official attendance for today’s game is 2. Thank you for your continued support… #Aberasone #Seasiders”
Programme editor Wallace stated, “It was a very much tongue-in-cheek comment given the situation we find ourselves in having to play games behind closed doors for the time being. It was great to see two locals that love their football enjoying the match! I don’t think any of us were expecting the reaction it got.”
At the time of writing, the tweet has amassed nearly 9,000 likes and over a million impressions and continues to grow by the hour. “This tweet has already accounted for 10% of last season’s social media impressions” said marketing manager Tom Bates. “In the current pandemic, football clubs around the world will be trying to overcome huge challenges and the support shown to the club from club sponsors and fans alike has been fantastic. We can’t wait to welcome everyone back into Park Avenue in the near future, when it is safe to do so.”
The two men, whose identities we’ve kept a secret, are both well-respected and well-known in the footballing community in Ceredigion and took the comment well, giving the media team a wave after being made aware of the tweet.
Meanwhile, the pair were left disappointed as Aber succumbed to defeat in their first match since the easing of lockdown as Haverfordwest County won the battle of Dyfed by a 1-2 score line.
Aberystwyth Town Football Club can announce five retentions and five departures from last year's squad.
Local lads and Aberystwyth University Scholarship holders Jones and Pennock return to this year's squad, with Mathew having been a consistent presence in the 19/20 team and Alex providing backup to Connor Roberts, making 5 first team appearances. Another local retention for the Seasiders is talented winger Richie Ricketts, who made a number of first team appearances at the age of just 16 years old.
Adam Davies and Ilan Hughes were mid-season additions to Gavin Allen's 2019/20 squad, contributing to the Seasiders' efforts pre-curtailment. Fans will be eager to see what the duo can offer having seen only a brief glimpse of their talents last season.
The club can also announce five departures, those being:
All at Park Avenue thank them for their contributions in Green & Black and wish them the best going forward!
Speaking after our pre-season loss to Haverfordwest County, manager Gavin Allen said about his squad:
"We're not far off, to be honest. We were missing two experienced individuals today, but you can see the age group of players already; we've got legs, we've got youth - it's just that bit of experience and knowledge that will benefit many of the young lads when we have a full squad. We have two games to go before the season starts, but you could see today that when we got the passing and tempo going, we looked strong"
Our match review from Saturday's game can be read here.
Two first half goals in as many minutes condemned Aber to defeat in their first preseason match ahead of the forthcoming JD Cymru Premier Season.
With football returning to the Ceredigion coast for the first time in nearly six months, Aber lined up in a 3-4-3 formation offering new manager Gavin Allen a chance to assess a new system and the squad at his disposal.
The Seasiders started the game looking to assert dominance in possession and came close to an early advantage. Jack Rimmer’s cross field ball from just inside the opposition half caught out the defence however his pass was unable to meet the marauding run of Harri Rowe at the far post.
This seemed to spur the visitors into action as they missed three good opportunities in succession. Firstly, when Danny Williams looping header glanced over the bar then Connor Roberts produced a smart save at his near post to deny Miles John before the Aber stopper tipped over a flick on from Sean Pemberton following a long throw.
The Bluebirds did break the deadlock on the half hour mark. A freekick inside the Aber half was met by the head of the ever dangerous Williams whose header looped over the head of the helpless Roberts and into the back of the net.
Less than sixty seconds later, the visitors doubled the advantage. The hosts lost possession inside their own half which allowed a swift break down the right-hand side. Kurtis Rees was the grateful recipient to the cross at the front post, bundling the ball home from close range at the near post.
The sharp wakeup call was what Aber needed as they finished the half stronger, carving out two quality chances which were unable to trouble the away goal. Leigh Jenkins met a corner at the far post but couldn’t direct his header goalward before Jamie Veale played a perfectly weighted through ball into the box, finding Rowe on the left-hand side who was unable to keep his stroke below the crossbar.
A raft of changes at the break didn’t dampen the momentum built towards the end of the first stanza. A shift in formation and a higher pressing game saw Aber take the game to Haverfordwest from the outset and were rewarded early on for their persistence. Two chances fell to Trialist B before Jenkins headed in from the edge of the six yard box to halve the deficit.
Despite the early promise, Aber failed to assert their dominance into any chances of note. The lively Jonathan Evans fired a freekick under the wall, forcing a sprawling save to the keepers right whilst Trialist C saw a shot fall tamely into the arms of Steve Hall whilst at the other end, Roberts denied the visitors a third with a smart save over his crossbar.
Overall, this provided the management an opportunity to assess their options moving forward as well as the playing squad some much needed minutes on the field. An improved second half performance will give everyone cause for optimism. Thoughts now turn to the rest of preseason ahead of the big return on the 12th September.
Aberystwyth Town will begin their 2020/21 JD Cymru Premier campaign with a south Walian double-header before welcoming newly promoted Flint Town, after the official fixture list was released by the league on Friday afternoon. Aber will start their campaign against Cardiff Met at Aberystwyth University Park Avenue Stadium on Saturday the 12th of September, before travelling to Penybont on the 15th and greeting ex-Seasider Wes Baynes’ Flint Town on the 18th.
Town face a tough September to October period, facing all of last season's top 4 in a succession of five games, with home ties vs champions Connah’s Quay and TNS and away trips to Bala and Barry. Later in the campaign, with Haverfordwest County’s promotion to the top-flight, the Seasiders’ usual New Year’s double-header vs Newtown has been replaced with ties against ex-Black & Green fan-favourite Wayne Jones and his Bluebirds.
The full list of Aberystwyth Town's 2020/21 JD Cymru Premier fixtures are listed below:
12/09 – Cardiff Met (H) – 14:30
15/09 – Penybont (A) – 19:45
18/09 – Flint Town (H) – 19:45
25/09 – Newtown (A) – 19:45
30/09 – Connah’s Quay Nomads (A) – 19:45
03/10 – Barry Town (H) – 14:30
06/10 – Cefn Druids (A) – 19:45
09/10 – Bala Town (A) – 19:45
16/10 – The New Saints (H) – 19:45
23/10 – Caernarfon Town (A) – 19:45
30/10 – Penybont (H) – 19:45
06/11 – Newtown (H) – 19:45
13/11 – Cardiff Met (A) – 19:45
20/11 – Bala Town (H) – 19:45
28/11 – The New Saints (A) – 14:30
04/12 – Connah’s Quay Nomads (H) – 19:45
19/12 – Flint Town (A) – 17:00
26/12 – Haverfordwest County (H) – 14:30
29/12 – Haverfordwest County (A) – 19:45
01/01 – Caernarfon Town (H) – 14:30
23/01 – Barry Town (A) – 14:30
29/01 – Cefn Druids (H) – 19:45
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Aberystwyth Town Football Club are delighted to announce the signing of Steven Hewitt for the 2020/21 Cymru Premier season. The 26-year-old ex-Bangor City midfielder joins the Seasiders from Australian club Hume City FC of the National Premier Leagues Victoria.
Manchester-born Hewitt began his career with the youth teams of Blackburn Rovers and Stockport County before becoming a scholar at Burnley FC in 2010. He signed his first professional contract in October 2011, a two-and-a-half-year deal to remain at Turf Moor and made his professional debut for the club in March 2012, coming on as a substitute for Charlie Austin in a 1-0 win vs Brighton & Hove Albion.
Loan spells at Alfreton Town and Southport followed where he made 22 appearances, scoring twice before leaving The Clarets at the end of his contract. Short spells at Chester and Southport followed, before Hewitt joined Accrington Stanley on a one-year contract in July 2016.
Steven made the switch to Welsh football in July 2017 when he joined Gary Taylor-Fletcher’s Bangor City team who finished runners-up to The New Saints. Hewitt became well-known to the Park Avenue faithful in September when he broke Black & Green hearts with a rasping half-volley in the 93rd minute to snatch all three points for The Citizens after Aber had drawn level on 90 minutes. Highlights of that thriller can be seen here.
Steven then made the move Down Under and spent a year with National Premier Leagues Victoria side Hume City based in Broadmeadows, a suburb of Melbourne.
Steven told ATFC.org.uk: “I spoke to a couple of teams, but when I spoke to Gav he told me about his style of football and his ambitions for the season ahead and it sounded perfect for the way I want to play - I knew it was the right club for me. I had also spoken to Barnsey (Sam Barnes) and Willow (Marc Williams) and they both said how great a club it is and that I’d be a perfect fit, so it was an easy choice”
“For me, the main goal this season is getting a European spot. That was made clear to me by everyone I spoke to at the club and I feel that with our squad and coaching staff, we have enough experience and quality to achieve that. I can’t wait to get started and help this great club get back to where it belongs!”
First Team manager Gavin Allen said: “Steve is a fantastic signing for us who had numerous clubs after his signature. I’m over the moon to sign a player with so much quality and experience – he’s a great addition to our squad!”
All at Aberystwyth Town welcome Steven to Ceredigion and look forward to a successful season together!
The Football Association of Wales has received confirmation that the JD Cymru Premier has been granted elite athletic status by the Welsh Government, meaning that the 2020/21 season can get underway next month.
The FAW has been working closely with the Welsh Government, Sport Wales and the JD Cymru Premier on a return to play plan for the league, which will start its new season on 11 September.
Matches will initially take place without spectators as Welsh Government continues its cautious approach towards the COVID-19 pandemic.
The FAW also welcomes today’s (21 August) announcement by the Welsh Government that three upcoming sporting events will be trialled with a maximum of 100 spectators. The FAW has submitted plans for the JD Cymru Premier to be included in future pilot programmes with larger crowds, should this trial period go well over the next three-week review period. The FAW notes that this is dependent on the infection rates remaining low.
There are currently no plans from the Welsh Government to change their guidelines for those leagues without elite athlete status. Therefore, for all clubs below the JD Cymru Premier, the FAW’s Return to Training – Phase 2 guidelines must still be followed and competitive football is currently prohibited. The FAW will continue to work with Welsh Government, Sport Wales and the Welsh Sports Association to review this status.
Meanwhile, JD Cymru Premier clubs will follow the FAW Return to Play Regulations in order for the safe return of football in the league. The regulations have been approved by the FAW Board and have a societal duty to help reduce the transmission rate of the virus.
All 12 Clubs have recently undergone site visits with FAW representatives and the broadcaster, S4C, to ensure that the stadiums are compliant with social distancing measures, with ‘Red Zones’ created to reduce the number of people permitted in the same areas as the players. As part of the Return to Play Regulations, all players, technical staff, club officials, match officials and administrators who will require access to the red zone of the stadium, will have to undergo daily medical assessments and a temperature test upon arrival at the stadium.
The FAW welcomes the cooperation of the 12 clubs and the new measures in place have helped to ensure that the League will start again next month.