JD Cymru Premier
Friday 16th September
Aberystwyth Town 2 Connah’s Quay Nomads 1
Aber Town put in a huge shift to earn a huge win at home to Connah’s Quay Nomads last night, to rekindle hopes of a positive season after a run of defeats. Harry Arnison gave Town the lead on 53 minutes, Paulo Mendes equalised from a yard on 66 minutes after Lewis Webb had saved John Disney’s penalty, but then up popped Captain Jack Thorn seven minutes from time to knock in a winner from close range amid scenes of delight on Nark’s Corner.
Two weeks had passed since the last game and on a slightly chilly evening the visitors created the first chance as Aron Williams surged down the right to cross for Ben Nash to tap wide. Niall Flint then sent in a ball which just evaded the talismanic Steff Davies, and Flint himself then had an effort saved from Sam Phillips’ free kick. Quay were dominating possession but the hosts were defending resolutely, with the impeccable Lewis Webb at the back cleaning up any scraps of chances which made it past the Green Wall. Aeron Edwards and Mendes (twice) scooped efforts wide, then Phillips almost picked out Davies at the other end but Andy Firth was out well to deny him a sniff. Thorn had an effort deflected for a corner, which came back out to Harri Horwood, who picked out Louis Bradford at the back post, but his header again was gathered by Firth. Webb punched clear an free kick by Ryan Stratulis, who then found the side netting from a corner, but for their defensive discipline and resilience, not to mention a few chances of their own, the Black and Greens were good value for a goalless score at half time.
The Seasiders started the second half on fire and Thorn rasped an effort over the bar after a nice move. At the other end Edwards crossed for Ryan Harrington to blast over from the left flank. Then eight minutes into the half came a crucial breakthrough, as Steff Davies flicked on Thorn’s throw, and a deft flick from Bradford fell beautifully for Arnison to slot home his first goal in Black and Green from close range. Game on! Connah’s Quay now went on to dominate possession, but Aber were creating chances, as Phil Perry’s long range lob was saved by Firth, Flint sent another lob wide, and Davies causing all sorts of problems for the visiting defence. At the three quarter point of the game Webb punched clear a free kick from Stratulis, but Quay were awarded a penalty for a foul on the effervescent Stratulis in the box. Webb did brilliantly to save Disney’s effort and the rebound down to his right, but the ball squirmed out fortuitously for Mendes to snaffle home an equaliser on the goalline. At this point given their territorial domination the visitors looked favourites to win. Ben Nash blasted a chance wide, Edwards saw a lob land on the roof of the net and Mendes headed wide from close range. Lively left back Perry retorted with another long range lob which also landed above the net to show that Aber were not out of things yet. Disney sent a volley wide from Stratulis’ corner, but then with just seven minutes left Horwood’s free kick into the box rebounded off the unfortunate Harrington’s head and Thorn was in the right place at the right time to snaffle home a huge goal, right in front of Nark’s Corner! Aber nearly sneaked a cheeky third as Phillips sent up Davies to lob wide, but the hosts were destined to spent most of the last six minutes (plus four additional) defending, with every tackle and clearance being cheered to the rafters by the vocal home support. Park Avenue favourite Harry Franklin almost notched an equaliser for Quay on his return but was denied by another astounding save from Webb, and then at the other end Davies flicked on for the lung bursting Phillips to almost grab a third, only for Firth top deny him low down. Mike Wilde had a header saved by Webb, and then at the death Firth came up for a corner and had an effort on goal deflected for a corner, Nash headed wide, and the heroic hosts had held on for a huge, and hopefully season defining result.
Whilst the visitors dominated possession at Park Avenue last night there can be no denying the fact that Aber created plenty of chances themselves, and kept their shape brilliantly out of possession. After their recent run this result provides Anthony Williams’ men with a huge confidence booster ahead of a busy period of four games in two weeks, starting on Tuesday evening as Town travel to Cardiff Met for a Nathaniel Cup third round tie. Capital!