Dafabet Welsh Premier League
Saturday 21st November (ko 2.30pm)
Airbus UK Broughton v Aberystwyth Town
Aberystwyth Town can't wait to get going again in the Dafabet Welsh Premier League after last week's frustration, when their televised home game against Port Talbot Town was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. Fortunately Airbus' excellent 3G pitch means there will be no such worries this weekend, and with Dafabet WPL results last weekend congesting the middle of the table Aber now find themselves in eigth place, level on goal difference with Bangor and Gap Connah's Quay.
Airbus, by their own high standards, have had an uncharacteristically unsure start to the season, and have lost three times at home, 4-1 to Bangor and Newtown and 2-0 to Llandudno. They were also beaten 3-0 at Bangor last Sunday, and Aber know a two goal win will put them back above the Wingmakers with a game in hand. The time is ripe for revenge as Airbus have won the last four encounters between the two sides, including a 2-1 win at Park Avenue back in September.
The Black and Greens have improved since then however and now boast the joint best away record in the League having won 4 and drawn 2 of their last six games on the road - a record only matched by League Leaders TNS. The enforced break will have done the Playing Squad no harm, with a few bumps and bruises given time to heal. Geoff Kellaway is the one long term absentee of course and is unlikely to be back before the New Year, but apart from him everyone should be available, including Rhys Griffiths, who has not lost a WPL game for Aber since joining the Club in June.
The Coach will leave Park Avenue at 9.30am and a return trip to Deeside costs a mere £10 for Adults and £5 Concessions. Affordable entertainment, good company and an enjoyable trip - what better way could there be to spend a November Saturday afternoon?!
Aberystwyth Town's Dafabet WPL home game against Port Talbot Town, due to be played this evening at 5.15pm, has been postponed following a pitch inspection, due to a waterlogged pitch. The Club regrets any inconvenience caused.
A rearranged date for the game will be announced in due course.
Dafabet Welsh Premier League
Saturday 14th November (kick off 5.15pm)
Aberystwyth Town v Port Talbot Town
Aberystwyth Town are preparing for another big game on Saturday as they host the Sgorio TV Cameras, and Top Six Contenders Port Talbot Town for another Dafabet WPL Cracker.
Last week's encouraging result at Rhyl has given everyone at Park Avenue a boost, but Manager Ian Hughes and his team know it is now time to convert their excellent away form into some good home results. Five of Aber's last eight games before the split are at home, the next three against major rivals for a Top Six spot, so this would be an ideal time for the Black and Greens to go on a good run at home in Ceredigion.
Facing their previous club will be Black and Greens' Legendary WPL Striker Rhys Griffiths, and Centre Back Lee Surman. Rhys has scored three goals from four starts and four sub appearances, and Aber have not lost any of the Dafabet WPL games he has featured in to date. It should also be noted that Rhys has scored in both his home appearances in 2015/6. Earlier in the week Rhys told atfc.org.uk: "A win could be a really significant result in our season if we want to go ahead and qualify for Europe automatically. That's still in our grasp but we need more consistency both in our performances and in our personnel."
Visitors Port Talbot have been difficult opponents at Park Avenue in the past. Current Manager Andy Dyer started his Port Talbot reign with a battling 2-2 draw at Park Avenue last season, and his teams are never boring on or off the field. This season has already been a roller coaster for their loyal and vocal fans, never more apparent than in their televised game against Bangor last week. Some super finishing and a competent defensive performance anchored by new signing Alan Tate had put them in a great position only for Goalkeeper Steve Cann to pull his hamstring with an inocuous clearance with just five minutes to go - and the ex Aber Netminder looks likely to miss out on Saturday.
Match Sponsor on Saturday evening is Matthew Burgess, author of the unmissable WPL Blog http://insidethewpl.com/. Having done his time as Media Officer at Port Talbot over the past few seasons, he has now moved on to freelance work and his well informed weekly pieces are a must read for anyone interested in the Dafabet WPL.
Evening kick offs and presence of the TV Cameras always add something to the atmosphere at Aber, and a 5.15pm start should allow Players involved in local matches to get down to Park Avenue in time. The last time Town hosted an early evening game was against another team from Port Talbot, Afan Lido in the Welsh Cup Fourth Round in February 2014 - and that night the Black and Greens won 5-1. A simple win on Saturday evening would be a huge boost ahead of the vital pre-Christmas run in.
Ahead of Saturday's big televised game at home to Port Talbot, atfc.org.uk caught up with the Black and Greens' Legendary WPL Striker Rhys Griffiths, who along with Centre Back Lee Surman joined the Club from the Steelmen last June.
Rhys has scored three goals from four starts and four sub appearances, and Aber have not lost any of the Dafabet WPL games he has featured in to date. It should also be noted that Rhys has scored in both his home appearances in 2015/6.
What have been your first impressions of the Club?
I did know a lot about the Club before I came through contacts of mine, and I had a good impression before I came. People are obviously ambitious at the Club but at the same time they seem friendly and honest.
We are unbeaten in the eight games you have featured in so far, and you have scored three from four starts. Does that make it a good start from you personally?
Not really, no. I've not really suffered too badly from injuries in my career up to now, so I'm frustrated that I haven't played more. When I play, I'm pleased to be able to contribute something, I do think I offer something different when I play and my expectations are sky high, so I will try and drive the Boys on if that's needed. I don't like people looking at me with disappointed faces and I expect a goal a game. So do Reedy and Venners so there should be goals throughout the team.
Are you looking forward to Saturday's game?
Well, there is a bit of added spice to it for obvious reasons but it makes no difference for me personally if it's on TV or not to be honest. A win could be a really significant result in our season if we want to go ahead and qualify for Europe automatically. That's still in our grasp but we need more consistency both in our performances and in our personnel.
Looking further forward, are you confident that Aber will go ahead and do well this season?
Yes, of course I am! I personally think our first 11-13 Players are good enough to qualify for Europe, and if we can get our best Players on the pitch there's no reason we can't succeed.
Atfc.org.uk would like to thank Rhys for the interview, and we look forward to another commanding performance at Park Avenue on Saturday. Kick off versus Port Talbot is at 5.15pm.
Photo courtesy of Chris Howells
Black and Greens Manager Ian Hughes, in conversation with atfc.org.uk this afternoon, expressed his satisfaction at last Friday's battling 2-2 draw at Rhyl:
"I was happy with the performance on Friday night. The boys showed character to come back after conceding the first goal and the way the last two games have gone some teams would have folded."
After conceding early at Belle Vue to a Rob Hughes strike Aber quickly rallied to equalise and the manner of their first goal pleased Hughes:
"It was pleasing to see the team pull up their sleeves and get back into the game with a great headed goal from Rhys Griffiths, it must be mentioned that it was a great cross from Sion James - who I believe is playing his best football since I have arrived at the club in a somewhat unorthodox position".
Aber then took the lead just after the break from close range when Chris Venables' header hit the crossbar, and Jamie Reed tapped the ball home. The Players showed a dogged determination on the night and their resolve to force a positive result was praised by the Manager:
"Chris Venables' display was also pleasing and his attitude of sprinting to get the ball from our net once we had conceded the second goal demonstrates the resolve within the squad to go on another good run of form and all players are doing their very best to win games of football. Having gone 2-1 up and having chances to score a third we were of course disappointed to concede in the last 10 minutes however Rhyl have drawn against TNS and beaten Airbus recently at home."
Aber are now coming out of a difficult couple of weeks, but every cloud has a silver lining and some of Town's Youth Players are making the most of the opportunity they have been given:
"It has been a tough couple of weeks losing players to injury and Darren Thomas leaving however if players don’t want to play for this prestigious club as far as I am concerned they can leave. When one door closes another one opens and I have been impressed with both Jack Rimmer and Liam Jaques in recent weeks - If anything this has increased my determination to make sure this club continues to develop on and off the pitch."
Dafabet WPL results over the weekend meant that Aberystwyth Town retained their coveted place in the Top Six and following a positive and heartening result the Black and Greens now look forward to Saturday's televised home game with Port Talbot with confidence. Expect a slightly later kick off time to increase the anticipation and excitement ahead of the game in five days time, which begins at 5.15pm.
Photo courtesy of Chris Howells
Friday 6th November
Dafabet Welsh Premier League
Rhyl 2 Aberystwyth Town 2
Aberystwyth Town gave a much improved performance at the Belle Vue, Rhyl last night as crucial goals from Rhys Griffiths and Jamie Reed earned the Black and Greens a respectable point on the North Wales Coast, and on the night a draw was probably a fair result.
The hosts started quite well and were ahead in the seventh minute when Rob Hughes’ speculative effort from the edge of the area sneaked through the Aber back line and into the bottom corner. John Owen brought a save out of Mike Lewis but then the visitors responded well and were soon level when an expertly delivered right wing cross from Sion James gave Griffiths a brilliant opportunity to head an equaliser from close range, and with 14 minutes gone the score was 1-1. Griffiths glanced another header inches wide from Craig Williams’ free kick, and Ross Stephens brought a save out of Terry McCormick, while Jon Owen’s trickery threatened in vain to open up Aber’s back four, and the half ended all square.
WPL Player of the month Connor Bell flashed a shot wide, before Levi Mackin drew an astonishing right handed save out of Mike Lewis to deflect the ball onto the post, but then the Black and Greens enjoyed a great period of pressure when Ross Stephens, on his 300th WPL start, sent in a corner which Chris Venables headed against the cross bar, and the ball deflected to Jamie Reed who tapped home against his old club on 51 minutes. Cledan Davies, making his 100th start for Aber, and Williams were putting in some dangerous crosses and from these Venables had an effort saved and Griffiths saw a goal disallowed. Griffiths then won the ball and Reed lofted an effort just over the bar. With Stuart Jones and Lee Surman looking strong at the back Aber appeared comfortable but then Hughes, who was lucky not to see red minutes earlier, set up Michael Walsh down the right and his cross was buried by the impressive Jon Owen for an 80th minute equaliser. Chances came at both ends with Bell firing wide for the hosts, and Aber nearly won it late on as Surman set up Jones to volley over, and then in injury time when Venables’ header was cleared off the line but the whistle blew almost immediately, and a 2-2 draw was probably the correct outcome for a game neither side really deserved to lose.
Following a difficult couple of weeks Ian Hughes men now appear to be back on track, and they have the opportunity to turn a good point into an excellent point by winning next Saturday’s televised home game against Port Talbot Town (ko 5.15pm).