JD Cymru Premier
Saturday 21st January
Aberystwyth Town 2 Caernarfon Town 1
Aber Town returned to top form last night at Park Avenue, earning a vital and fully deserved 2-1 win over Caernarfon Town, and three points which takes them two clear of the relegation zone, and only three points short of a UEFA Europa League Play Off spot, with ten games remaining of the 2022/23 season. Harry Arnison poked the Black and Greens in front after only eight minutes, and although Town went on to boss the game it wasn’t until thirteen minutes from time that Niall Flint made the result safe, scoring from a free kick after Joe Faux had been red carded for the Cofis. Rhys Alun Williams did score a spectacular consolation goal on 89 minutes but Anthony Williams’ men were good value for the win.
On a chilly evening a decent crowd of 344 turned out, despite the match’s live transmission on Sgorio, and a minute’s applause for Kevin “Bones” Jenkins was immaculately observed prior to kick off. Rob Hughes tested Mathew Turner’s handling with a near post free kick early on, but then back came Aber and Arnison was in the right place to deftly poke home the opener, after Jack Thorn’s long throw had been helped along. Dan Gossett blasted over for Caernarfon before hobbling off, and Turner again denied Hughes. Then Aber settled into the game and the effervescent Johnnie Evans sent over a cross which John Owen couldn’t quite convert, before going close again himself minutes later. Town were pressing well with Jake Canavan popping up everywhere, and had a solid period of pressure although Arnison and Billy Kirkman’s corners were repelled. Iwan Lewis had a shot blocked, then Hughes curled wide for the Cofis. Arnsion sent in a free kick which Sam Litchfield headed just wide, then Turner in Aber’s goal came out brilliantly to snuffle out a huge opportunity for Darren Thomas to equalise down the right. Thorn headed another opportunity wide for Aber, Evans saw a chip caught by Josh Tibbetts in Caernarfon’s goal and the half ended with the Black and Greens a goal to the good and looking confident.
Attacking the Dias Stand the Seasiders kept pressing in the second half and Lewis almost scored with a brilliant dipping volley which Tibbets just managed to push around the post. Kirkman’s subsequent corner flashed past a sea of legs, Arnison flashed a cross wide after a nice move and Evans was again denied by Tibbetts’ fingertip save from a left footed volley, with Aber inches from a second. John Owen was next to cross and Evans just missed the target, before Town’s livewire bus driver saw yet another shot saved by Tibbetts soon after: agonising! The impeccable Louis Bradford, commanding at the back all night, curled an effort just wide, and Owen headed wide next. Sub Rhys Williams sent a low free kick wide in a rare Caernarfon foray upfield, but then finally the breakthrough came. Arnison’s initial free kick out on the left was blocked by Faux’s hand, and he received a second yellow card and was sent off. Flint then stepped up to send the next free kick into the far corner to cause delight in the Dias, and Aber looked safe. The Seasiders' burly new striker from Chester Mark Cadwallader came on and headed wide soon after joining the fray, and Town were keeping the ball nicely until the Cofis broke down the left and Williams sent an audacious lob over Turner to halve the deficit. Turner then redeemed himself by gathering a late corner, and Aber saw four minutes of injury time out upfield in Caernarfon’s half, to complete a job well done.
Aber played well throughout and earned a vital win to revive the excellent home form which saw them surge up the table in the Autumn. The Black and Greens now move confidently into the Play Off Conference, and after a brief hiatus will resume competition with Matchday 23 on Saturday 11th February, with an away fixture at Flint Town United. We can’t wait!
Photo courtesy of Owain Evans