JD Cymru Premier
Tuesday 5th April
Haverfordwest County 0 Aberystwyth Town 1
Aberystwyth Town emerged victorious from a hugely significant tussle in Pembrokeshire as Louis Bradford’s low strike in the 81st minute was enough to beat Haverfordwest County. Yet another inspiring defensive display kept the clean sheet as a base for victory, which was essential to keep Aber in ninth place, three points shy of the Scottish League Cup Play Off berth in seventh.
To the backdrop of apocalyptic rave music a vocal and hardy troupe of Black and Green supporters welcomed Aber to the field at Ogi Bridge Meadow, with Jon Owen returning to the starting XI after a suspension, and he gave the fans what they wanted early on with a Cruyff turn – but sadly to no avail. On a blustery night Ben Wynne for Aber and Jack Wilson for County were on long throw duties, but the Aber defence was magnificent in the air, winning all their headers, with Rhys Davies in particular earning plaudits for a superbly determined display. Ben Fawcett had a shot blocked by Lee Jenkins, Jordan Davies shot over for the hosts, while Jamie Veale sent a snap shot past the post to excite the visiting fans. Gregor Zabret got down well to block a low shot, Corey Shepherd burst through and fired over and Wilson was again denied by the Slovenian stopper soon after – however Aber were always a threat with Harry Franklin curling a volley wide from Matty Jones’ inswinging free kick. More pressure from County saw Shepherd volleying wide again, and more resolute defending kept Aber in it. Lee Jenkins made a superb block on the line to prevent Wilson opening the score, and a solid half for Aber ended at 0-0.
The visitors did benefit from the wind advantage in the second half and Veale had a shot blocked, before Franklin headed over the bar. Zabret picked out Steff Davies with a superb ball but his lob drifted wide, while at the other end Wilson had a shot blocked and Shephard volleyed over for a third time. With results elsewhere going against Aber a goal was urgently needed, and sub Owain Jones swivelled and volleyed an effort with his first touch which Lee Idzi collected. Idzi denied Jones again minutes later with a simply superb save down to his right, and then just when it seemed like a goal would never come, Veale sent in a free kick from 30 yards out which fell perfectly for Bradford to touch into the bottom corner, cue pandemonium in the stands and wild celebrations! With nine minutes plus four of injury time to go, the visiting supporters sung louder, and the home defenders tackled harder to keep the advantage. Corners, long throws and crosses were somehow repelled and finally the full time whistle went, and the Seasiders had their vital, vital victory.
Not for the first time this season, a victory was earned off the back of a superb defensive display from Zabret, Matty Jones, Bradford, Jenkins and Rhys Davies, who will be savouring their clean sheet this morning, and it was great to see the players celebrating with the fans at the end of the game. Three positive performances in a row have taken Aber to ninth place in the JD Cymru Premier Play Off Conference with four matches remaining, on 32 points, three short of Cardiff Met in seventh, whom they visit on Saturday afternoon (ko 2.30pm). It’s time to reassemble the Green Army!