I hope your Christmas is filled with the things you enjoy (aside from Football), and you are able to connect with those important in your life and allow time to rest and reflect.
Rarely do our Christmas times feel peaceful, and while 2022 may hold lots of uncertainty please be assured that all you do to serve the club and community is noticed and valued. This will be true of next year for sure.
I pray you experience some peace this Christmas and look forward to seeing you again in the New Year, when football and fans will return.
A prayer for peace;
When I don’t feel at peace, please make Your presence known to me. Remind me that You’re in control. Give me Your strength and comfort when the world feels unsafe. Protect my heart and mind from the weight of my feelings and thoughts.
Nadolig Llawen i chi, a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda.
Aberystwyth Town Football Club Chaplain / Caplan Clwb Pêl Droed Aberystwyth
Ffôn symudol / Mobile phone: 07906046899
Wales Football Lead for Sports Chaplaincy UK / Arweinydd Pêl-Droed Cymru ar ran Caplaniaeth Chwaraeon y DU
The FAW National League Board has taken the decision to suspend the Cymru Leagues, Adran Leagues and Ardal Leagues, following today's (22 December) Welsh Government announcement that team sports are limited to 50 spectators due to the rise of the omicron variant of COVID-19.
The decision was taken following consultation with the leagues and the clubs who had fixtures scheduled over the festive period.
Ahead of the 2021/22 season, the FAW factored a COVID-19 related disruption into its planning with some leagues starting their seasons earlier than normal to counteract such an impact.
The FAW acknowledges the significant loss of income that clubs in the above-mentioned leagues will incur should they be unable to accommodate more than 50 spectators at their matches, in addition to the extreme disappointment of fans being unable to support their clubs should games be played behind closed doors.
To limit the loss of income and to provide the best chance for fans not to miss out on supporting their clubs, the National League Board felt the suspension of the competitions over the festive period was in the best interest of the game.
The National League Board will communicate with the Area Associations so that they can make an informed decision about the leagues and competitions under their remit.
The Welsh Government has informed sports governing bodies that their coronavirus regulations, including playing sports behind closed doors, will be reviewed regularly. Therefore, the National League Board will continue to monitor the situation and currently plans to review its decision on the suspensions of the leagues on or prior to 9 January 2022.
The FAW would like to reiterate the importance of people receiving two doses of the COVID-19 vaccination and the booster vaccine. For more information on vaccinations, please visit Public Health Wales by clicking here.
Following the Welsh Government announcement overnight regarding Sporting events in Wales, Aberystwyth Town FC can confirm that the JD Cymru League Boxing Day match at home to Haverfordwest County will be played behind closed doors, and the John Charles Lounge within the ground will be closed to the general public prior to and for the duration of the match.
We understand and sympathise with the disappointment this will cause amongst our supporters, especially given that the Boxing Day matches are often an opportunity for people to meet up with friends and families, and we hope that we will be able to welcome supporters back to Park Avenue as soon as possible.
In the meantime we encourage our supporters to follow Welsh Government guidance, and to ensure they are fully vaccinated so that the current outbreak can be managed safely and restrictions can be lifted as soon as possible.
JD Cymru Premier
Friday 17th December
Caernarfon Town 3 Aberystwyth Town 3
Aber Town took a valuable point home from Gwynedd last night after a thriller of a game in which they were two nil down and three two up before being finally pegged back by the Cofis. Early goals for Steve Evans (11 mins) and Iwan Cartwright (25 minutes) put the hosts in the box seat but Harry Franklin sparked a spirited recovery with a brilliant solo effort (29 mins). Two second half penalties from Matty Jones (59 and 62 mins) turned the game on its head but then Dan Gossett squared things for the final time on 67 minutes.
The Black and Greens were depleted by the loss of Jamie Veale (suspension), Raul Correia and Owain Jones (injury) and the unavailability of Jon Owen and Lee Jenkins and early on looked vulnerable. Gregor Zabret tipped a free header over the bar for a corner, but from Rob Hughes’ ball in Evans smashed home from the edge of the area with aplomb to open the scoring. The visitors tried to respond and the returning Steff Davies up front had an effort blocked, but the Cofis were still coming and Jack Rimmer and Rhys Davies had to put in some important challenges to keep Town in it. Zabret tipped another headed attempt from Darren Thomas over the bar, then at the other end Davies sent two more efforts past the far post. When Cartwright nodded home another Hughes corner it looked like the game could be all over but credit to Aber who came back strongly in the latter stages of the half, and Man of the Match Franklin was the key. He was gifted the ball by Evans on the half way line, and ran at the defence, dinking past defenders until he found space to send a low shot into the far corner for a super solo strike which gave Aber huge hope of a recovery. Alex Darlington had an effort cleared off the line after a nice move, overlapping Owen Orford had a shot blocked at the near post and Franklin had another shot blocked before half time, with the travelling support cheered by a strong finish to the first half.
The hosts started the second half well and Hughes had an effort blocked early on, before Dion Donohue sent a superb free kick towards the top corner, only for Zabret to brilliantly touch the ball onto the post, and from the rebound Mike Hayes blasted over from close range for a real let off for the visitors. Zabret came out well soon after to thwart another Caernarfon attack, and then on came Aber, pressing from the front, a tactic which paid dividends when Sam Phillips dispossessed Jakub Ojrzynski in the box and was hauled down for a penalty, which Jones swept into the corner of the net without a second thought. Three minutes later Jones had a goalbound attempt from midfield deflected for a corner, then incredibly the unfortunate Ojrzynki repeated his trick by felling Darlington to concede another penalty. The ever reliable Jones scored again and the game had swung within the blink of an eye. However it was apparent that Caernarfon do not like losing at home and back they came with aplomb. Hayes overlapped and sent an effort wide, and then a right wing cross picked out Gossett who found the net with a superb bullet volley from distance, and still a quarter of this stunning game remained! Franklin’s trickery was winning free kick after free kick for the visitors, and Davies had another shot cleared, Aber saw another attempt cleared off the line, while at the other end Davies and Rimmer again were needed for crucial challenges. Franklin fed Phillips who laid the ball off to Jones, whose low volley was saved and in an end to end game Gossett blasted over from distance. Sub Jonathan Evans was next to see a shot agonisingly cleared off the line, Davies glanced wide from a corner, Louis Bradford had a header saved and Evans nearly sneaked in at the death, but Caernarfon held on, and honour was satisfied at the final whistle with a 3-3 draw. Aber’s loyal travelling support saluted their players at the end which showed this was a job well done.
This was a crazy breath-taking game which swung this way and that. Having finished strongly Aber could feel slightly aggrieved not to have won but honestly on the balance of chances and play over the ninety minutes the draw was probably a fair result. Considering their absentees and poor start to the game Manager Antonio Corbisiero must be pleased with a creditable result away from home which sets the Black and Greens up nicely for the Christmas double header against Haverfordwest County. See you on Boxing Day!
Caernarfon Town vs Aberystwyth Town
JD Cymru Premier
Friday 17th December
The Black & Greens are back on the road again tomorrow and will be looking to continue this season’s solid away form.
Antonio Corbisiero’s side have only experienced one away defeat in all competitions since August, with that loss coming at runaway league leaders The New Saints, and have won four of the six matches played in that time.
The Oval is always a tough destination for any team, but it has been the scene for a couple of memorable matches in recent years for ATFC. Last season, Aber led 1-0 for much of the game before Caernarfon scored two late goals to take the lead going into stoppage time, but Jamie Veale hit a last gasp 25 yard free-kick to earn a share of the spoils. The previous year, a Marc Williams hat-trick had sealed a dominant 3-0 victory for Aber in what was the first match of the new decade.
Tomorrow’s hosts have not played since 4th December thanks to their fixture away at Flint Town United being postponed twice over the last week. Last time out they lost 2-1 at home to Penybont, and come into this match having won 2 and 3 of their last 5 league games. They currently sit in 7th place in the league, having accumulated 20 points from 15 games so far this season.
Darren Thomas sits top of Caernarfon’s goalscoring charts at the moment. The striker, who had a brief spell at Park Avenue under Ian Hughes in 2015, has hit 5 goals in 15 games so far this season. Cai Jones and Mike Hayes have notched 3 goals each also, from 13 and 12 games respectively.
The Oval can be found on Marcus Street, Caernarfon and the postcode for your sat-nav is LL55 2HT. Ticket prices have been reduced to £5 for Adults & Concessions, whilst it is only £1 for Under 18s. Green Army – assemble!
Friday 10th December
JD Cymru Premier
Aberystwyth Town 2 Newtown 4
Aberystwyth Town suffered a bad day at the office on a cold and blustery evening, as Newtown prevailed at Park Avenue by 4 goals to two. Nick Rushton’s hat trick (4, 18 and 67 mins) proved decisive and although the hosts threatened a comeback with Sam Phillips’ low strike on 50 minutes, Jamie Davies scored a fourth for the Robins with fourteen minutes to go, so that Rhys Davies’ 89th minute near post header was nothing more than a consolation.
Barely five minutes of the game had passed when Newtown’s James Davies intercepted the ball in midfield, rushed down the right wing and crossed for Rushton to claim his first from close range. In response Matty Jones hit the foot of the post from outside the area, but the visitors were adapting to the blustery conditions much better and only a heroic Jack Rimmer challenge prevented a second with a three on one breakaway. Jon Evans was played in by Jon Owen, but Dave Jones saved his near post effort, and then at the other end consternation at the back allowed Rushton to cheekily lob Gregor Zabret for Newtown’s second, and Aber were really up against it. Craig Williams fired a shot in at Zabret which the Slovenian Stopper dealt with comfortably, before the dangerous Fumpa Mwandwe hit the side netting with three unmarked colleagues howling for the ball across the middle. With the rain blowing in a scrappy period ensued, though Rimmer pulled out another super tackle to deny Rushton, and had to come off with an ankle injury. The hosts were struggling to create any meaningful opportunities, and just before the break Alex Darlington was next to make a crucial interception to keep the scoreline at two nil.
A response was needed and to be fair the home supporters got it, albeit temporary. Mwandwe again tested Zabret’s handywork but then Dave Jones rushed out of his goal, was dispossessed by Phillips, and Aber’s hardworking wingman joyously rolled the ball into an empty net to halve to deficit and give the Seasiders hope. Rhys Davies sent a left wing volley wide, and then a good cross from Raul Correia somehow evaded everyone in Black and Green. Then at the three quarter point, the game was decided when Aron Williams hit the post with a header and the ball fell perfectly for Rushton to blast home a third. Correia was injured in an unsuccessful penalty shout, but had to play on with three subs already on. Zabret saved from James Davies but then a long throw from the right allowed Davies to sneak in at the far post, and make the score 1-4. Lee Jenkins headed wide from a free kick for Aber, and after hard work by Phillips to earn a corner, Matty Jones’ ball in was headed home by Rhys Davies to at least reduce the deficit, however the outcome of the match had already been decided with time to spare. There was no disguising the fact the Newtown adapted better to the conditions and were worthy winners on the night.
In a crucial game this was a bitterly disappointing Aber performance, especially from a defensive point of view, and with three more points on offer Manager Antonio Corbisiero will be demanding much better at Caernarfon Town on Friday evening (ko 7.45pm).