MG Nathaniel Cup Third Round
Tuesday 24th September
Cardiff Met 0 Aberystwyth Town 1
Aberystwyth Town kick started their season with a huge win at a rainswept Cardiff Met this evening, Mathew Jones’ 38th minute strike from distance inflicting Met's first home defeat since November 2018, and earning Town a place in the MG Nathaniel Cup Quarter Finals, to be played on October 29th.
Manager Mathew Bishop made some changes to Friday’s side, with Edmilson Vaz, Lee Jenkins, Mathew Jones, Paulo Mendes and Richie Ricketts all making the starting eleven. The new look team showed an excellent defensive shape and discipline from the start, restricting Met to half chances. Dion Phillips’ early shot was easy for Town keeper Connor Roberts, and Dan Spencer had a shot deflected over from a promising position. Mathew Jones sent an early free kick just over the bar with Aber’s first shot on goal. The impressive Mael Davies tested Roberts again, before Tom Price forced Alex Lang into a save with a dangerous cross. Dion Phillips brought a great save from Roberts from close range, and the visiting keeper also parried Spencer’s header: but it would be wrong to say it was all Met with Aber’s forward four forcing the Cup holders into mistakes with their high press. Joe Phillips showed some trickery before testing Lang again with a cross, but then came a huge moment in the game when Captain Fantastic Marc Williams showed some great play to set up Jones, and his low 30 yard volley nestled into the bottom corner for a priceless lead which vindicated Aber’s tactics on the evening. Alex Boss’ angled shot was saved by Lang, and then just before the break Spencer missed out on Mael Davies’ right wing cross, and Aber’s half time lead was intact.
Town continued their excellent defensive display after the break with Ryan Wollacott a rock at the back, and Richie Ricketts doing excellently well to snuff out Phillips on Met’s right wing, and showing the odd attacking flourish to boot. Jones and Paulo Mendes were huge in front of the back four as Aber restricted the Studenst to half chances. At the other end Joe Phillips cut inside but his shot was blocked, Jones’ free kick just evaded Wollacott and Jenkins at the back post, and Phillips picked out Tom Price with a dinky ball into the box, but the talented Swansea based midfielder just failed to connect. With Met relying increasingly on long throws Aber were nearly there, but Roberts did have to make one final save to deny Kyle McCarthy from Phillips’ cross, and as in the last round, the Black and Greens held out in the driving rain, with the choruses of their super singing supporters ringing in their ears.
Knocking out both of last season’s MG Nathaniel Cup Finalists away from home is a big coup for the Seasiders but the bigger picture is that a first clean sheet and a really positive defensive performance is a huge boost to Aber’s season. Town will now face either Carmarthen Town, Newtown or STM Sports/Haverfordwest County in the regionalised Quarter Finals, but before then visit Bala Town on Friday evening for a JD Cymru Premier match (ko 7.45pm). Things are looking up!
Photos courtesy of Colin Ewart