JD Cymru Premier
Friday 21 October
Caeranrfon Town 2 Aberystwyth Town 1
Aber Town fell to defeat at the Oval last night, as a stunning overhead kick for Liverpool loanee Fidel O’Rourke (20 minutes), and a first touch finish for sub Tom Marsh Hughes (73 mins) earned victory for Caernarfon. Sam Litchfield’s powerful 81st minute header got Aber back in it and the Seasiders pushed for a late equaliser, but the hosts held firm to take the spoils.
The Black and Greens made the long trip north in a positive frame of mind after a morale boosting win against Haverfordwest last time round, and the loyal away support was boosted by the Harry Arnison fan club, personified by his father, son and Auntie Savannah Marshall, who last week was selling out a world title fight at the O2 Arena. The visitors started extremely well with the Cofis unable to break out of their own half for the first ten minutes. Litchfield headed wide from a Sam Phillips free kick, and headed over from a Phillips corner soon afterwards with Aber seeing the best of the early action. Then however Dion Donohue burst forward from left back and cut inside to send a low shot just past the post, and the hosts, playing a longer game, showed why they finished in fourth place last season. A series of long throws from onetime Park Avenue favourite Ben Wynne were repelled but then as the ball ping ponged around the Aber box, O’Rourke pulled out a brilliant overhead kick to put the hosts into the lead – harsh on the Black and Greens who had started the game on top. Caernarfon went on to enjoy a purple patch, with Iwan Cartwright sending a low shot just past the post, Wynne also going close after a dancing run in the box; however Aber were also attacking. Arnison almost got on the end of a great ball in from Jack Thorn, and Litchfield had yet another attempt blocked, and Arnison just failed to convert Phillips’ cross. O’Rourke headed wide for Caernarfon, then at the other end Phillips sneaked in at the back post but shot wide, and Niall Flint volleyed wide from distance, and on the balance of play Caernarfon were probably a bit fortunate to go in ahead by a single goal at half time.
The hosts started the second half better with Danny Gossett sending a stinging volley inches wide, while Iwan Lewis volleyed over at the other end for Aber. There was a delay as referee Cheryl Foster had to be substituted by Fourth Official Aaron Wyn Jones, then Jon Owen pulled off a brilliant Cruyff turn at the near post to beat his man, but his low cross evaded everyone. Lewis had a penalty claim rejected as he surged into the box, and then played in Arnison, but his brilliant first time effort aimed just inside the far post was punched to safety by diving Josh Tibbetts. Phil Perry volleyed wide with Aber threatening an equaliser, but then a crucial defensive mix up at the back allowed Marsh Hughes in to score from a tight angle on the right flank, and Anthony Williams’ men were right up against it. Marsh Hughes went on another good run down the right, and crossed for Noah Edwards to volley over, but then Alex Darlington won a corner for the Black and Greens, Flint sent in the set piece and Litchfield scored with a bullet header, a deserved goal if there ever was one. O’Rourke volleyed over for Caernarfon, then in injury time Arnsion had a volley saved, and another shot blocked with the hosts defending solidly. Donohue sent a free kick wide and Sion Bradley sent a late attempt off target, and the final whistle went with Caernarfon taking all three points.
The Black and Greens left the Oval feeling they had done enough to deserve a point, however the hosts were a bit more clinical with their chances and Aber will live to fight another day. Their next round comes on Friday evening, at home to Flint Town United, with an 8pm kick off. We will meet again next weekend!