JD Cymru Premier
Friday 2nd December (KO 7.45pm)
The New Saints vs Aberystwyth Town
After a two week break, Aber Town return to league action and are back on the road with a trip to Shropshire awaiting, to face league leaders The New Saints. Anthony Williams and his team come into this game on the back of a 2-1 home victory over Pontypridd, back on November 18th, which extended the winning streak at Park Avenue to 5 league games – the club’s best home run of form for eight years!
This phenomenal home form has left the Seasiders with a realistic opportunity of grabbing a place in the all-important top 6 come the league split in January. With 8 games remaining to achieve this, Aber have 18 points – only 3 behind 6th place Cardiff Metropolitan University. It is all to play for!
Matches in the Cymru Premier do not come much tougher than a trip to Park Hall however, as once again The New Saints have been in imperious form this season. Craig Harrison returned as Manager on the eve of the season following the surprise sacking of previous incumbent Anthony Limbrick and so far he has overseen 12 wins from 14 games so far. Their other two matches have resulted in draws, including their most recent league game against Penybont.
The Saints are the top scoring in the league with 41 goals, a huge 14 goals more than any other side. Declan McManus has picked up where he left off last season, and leads the leagues goalscoring charts with 13 goals. Ryan Brobbel also has a place in the top 5, with 6 goals, whilst Adam Wilson & Adrian Cieslewicz have netted 4 each.
Although Aber are yet to win at Park Hall since the Saints moved in in 2007, it was the Black & Greens who inflicted the Saints first league defeat of last season – a 1-0 win thanks to an 86th minute Jon Owen winner at Park Avenue. Can history repeat itself again this time around?
After the disappointment of Tuesday’s nights World Cup match, ATFC and the Cymru Prem can provide the perfect pick-me-up! Park Hall is situated on Burma Road in Oswestry, Shropshire and the postcode for your Sat-Nav is SY11 4AS. Tickets are priced at £8 for Adults and £4 for Concessions. The Black & Greens are back on the road!
JD Cymru Premier
Saturday 10th December (KO 1pm)
Connah's Quay Nomads v
Following Wales' elimination from the World Cup Finals last night, by agreement between both Clubs, Aberystwyth Town's away match at Connah's Quay Nomads has been moved forward 24 hours to Saturday 10th December, with a 1pm kick off.
The Black and Greens' run in to the split now looks like this:
Fri 2nd The New Saints (Away) Ko 7.45pm
Sat 10th Connah’s Quay Nomads (Away) KO 1pm
Fri 16th PENYBONT (HOME) Ko 8pm
Fri 23rd Haverfordwest County (Away) Ko 7.45pm
Mon 26th NEWTOWN (HOME) KO 2.30pm
Fri 30th Newtown (Away) Ko 5.45pm
Fri 6th Flint Town United (Away) Ko 7.45pm
Sat 21st CAERNARFON TOWN (HOME) Ko 5.15pm
Get into the festive spirit on Sunday - by heading down to Park Avenue to support Aberystwyth Town Women in their last home match of 2022.
The Seasiders are facing TNS in a crucial league game on Sunday 4th December (kick-off 2pm) - and are hoping that the stands will be full of fans supporting them to victory.
"It's a massive game," says skipper Kel Thomas. "You can fight a little harder, run a little quicker and enjoy the game a little bit more when you have people backing you on the sidelines - and we appreciate every single individual that turns up to support us.
"To have a crowd there on Sunday really could make a world of difference. Please come along and cheer for the girls - if we've ever needed it, it's now."
Bring a Santa hat or a bucket hat - everyone is welcome to join some special guests whose attendance is already confirmed.
The Aberystwyth Rainbows and Brownies will be there as the day's mascots, walking out with the team and cheering them on.
Students from Aberystwyth University will be on the terraces, getting their first taste of Adran Premier action as part of the #EmpowerAber initiative.
The excitement on the pitch and in the stands will be captured by a group of photographers coming along courtesy of a workshop from Cered and Theatr Felinfach.
The clubhouse will be on hand for fans' food and drink requirements (book your spot for Sunday lunch in advance!).
And Aber Town Women are also delighted to welcome match sponsors Teify Forge.
Any companies or individuals interested in sponsoring future Aber Town Women matches, or groups who'd like to be match mascots, can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
It was an agonising defeat for Aberystwyth Town Women, falling 2-1 at Pontypridd United and missing their chance to go fourth in the Genero Adran Premier.
Gwenllian Jones had given Aber a first-half lead - but two goals in two minutes for the hosts courtesy of Alison Witts and Olivia Francis kept the points at home.
Aber thought they had equalised in the dying seconds of the game as Rebecca Mathias fired home after a drop ball but the goal was ruled out after a conference between the officials.
"Pontypridd were better than us today," said a disappointed captain Kel Thomas. "We were lucky to come in at 1-0 at half-time - we rode our luck a bit and sneaked a cheeky goal. "We did have some good spells, and there was no doubting the girls' efforts today.
"We've got to dust ourselves down and go again - there's still a lot to play for and we need to remember that the league doesn’t stop at the split so all points will count whether we end up in the top half or the bottom half."
Aber Town Women's next match is on Sunday 4th December against TNS at Park Avenue (kick-off 2pm).
With fourteen matches played to date in the 2022/23 Cymru Premier season Anthony Williams’ team are poised in seventh place, three tantalising points short of the Top Six. With eight games remaining we review the season so far and look at six key reasons why Williams’ men have done so well to date.
Calm, pragmatic management
Facing a huge exodus at the end of last season, with only three players who kept the team up at Barry last year still available (Owen, Bradford and Thorn), Anthony Williams, and his Assistant Guy Handscombe recruited extremely well from outside the Cymru Prem, signing quality players such as Iwan Lewis and Sam Litchfield from Guilsfield, Lewis Webb from Swansea City, Harry Arnison from Australia, Phil Perry from Salford and bringing back Harry Horwood from Penrhyncoch. He also shared a heart to heart with the players after the home defeat to Bala Town, and the tactical switch around since that game has produced five consecutive home wins.
Resilient defence and solid structure
Goalkeepers Lewis Webb and Leigh Jenkins have both been credited with excellent match winning performances, and Louis Bradford and Sam Litchfield look a very solid combination at centre back, behind the unchangeable middle three of Arnison, Lewis and captain Jack Thorn. Harry Horwood has impressed at left back and Jack Rimmer, Ben Erickson, Phil Perry, Jonathan Evans and Charley Edge have all helped out in defence when needed.
Steff Davies, Jonathan Evans, Harry Horwood, Jack Rimmer, Leigh Jenkins, Cam Allen, Jamie Jones: a solid local core to Anthony William’s squad has been key to its success and has kept the home crowds happy at Park Avenue.
Aber’s five home wins have been remarkably similar, with Town establishing leads and hanging on for long periods in the second halves to safeguard their precious three points. All six of the Black and Greens’ wins have been by two goals to win so the resilient defensive qualities the side shows to protect leads at Park Avenue is making a huge difference to the season’s progress. Five home wins in a row represents Aber’s best home run for eight years - Keep it up lads!
Goals from everywhere
Aber’s six match winners have come from six different players: Alex Darlington’s classy late strike at Airbus was a key moment in the season. Jack Thorn got the winner against Connah’s Quay, Louis Bradford ensured the double over Airbus and Jon Owen was the difference at home to Haverfordwest. Niall Flint got a late penalty to overcome Flint and Jonathan Evans’ double downed Ponty United last week. Evans and Darlington top the score charts with three goals each, Arnison, Flint and Thorn have two each, with Lichfield, Lewis, Bradford and Owen all on one goal scored.
Charley Edge, Sam Phillips, Ben Erickson, Phil Perry, Cameron Allen and Jamie Jones are also key squad members and have made important contributions as recognised by the Manager. Goalkeeping Coach Dave Owen has been named in some squads in the absence of Webb, and is on hand if required.
Top Six Still Possible
Aber now need to maintain their home form and grab a couple of away wins, and a dream Top Six finish will remain within their grasp. After a two week break Aber are back on the road on Friday, away to The New Saints with a 7.45pm kick off. Let’s get back on the bandwaggon!
Following Friday night’s 2-1 win over Pontypridd Town, Aberystwyth Town Manager Anthony Williams shared his thoughts with Matthew Wallace from the Black and Greens’ Media Team:
“First half we probably should have been ahead by more, it was different in the second half but we have that determination and structure, that understanding as a group which carries us through games.
Jonathan Evans has the desire and determination and will play anywhere, that typifies us and as a squad there’s no individuals amongst us. Leigh’s come in goal and done outstanding for us, but as an overall group, it starts from the front, with a structure where we position ourselves to win the ball back in midfield, which we did really well and Harry Arnison has taken a few whacks”.
The team has now won home league five games in a row, their best run in eight years, which has opened up the possibility of a late run for the top six.
“Top Six has always been the ambition from the start. I know it’s a tough ask, the minnows will be fighting against the giants, but if the results go our way, we start the break in sixth position. We’re not daft, we know who the next three fixtures are against, but you know what, that’s where we could end up.”
Aber’s two goal hero Jonathan Evans shared his thoughts with Sgorio after the game:
“Our home form is great at the moment, we are winning ugly, teams are coming here, throwing everything at us and were doing enough to win the games, so if we keep doing that all season we’ll be a tough team to beat. We’ll keep taking it into Christmas and see where we are in the New Year. I’ll keep up the scoring and hopefully I won’t have to play many more games at left back or right back!
It’s very nice to show that we can fight with the better teams in the league, and our position in the league is showing that at the moment. We’re looking now to push on and get top six.
Meanwhile Anthony Williams had this to say on his Sgorio interview:
They had been in our half probably once before (their goal), we were dominant in the first half, and it was disappointing to be only one up. We got the second goal straight away which deflated them. Two one at half time probably wasn’t a just result, but second half we had to battle, they had some chances, but they are always going to be like that.
Our ambition is Top Six, it has to be. We know we’ve got some big games coming up against some tough teams, but we’re going to strive to get top six, and if we do, it’ll be absolutely outstanding. The team are doing well and if we keep playing like that in games we’re going to win more than we lose.”
Watch Anthony Williams’ interview on Aber Town’s Youtube channel here while the Sgorio interviews are here.
Photos courtesy of Rhys Barron