Aber ended a run of games against last year’s top 3 with defeat against Bala Town.
Despite taking the lead from Rhys Davies’ towering header in the 9th minute, a penalty from Gary Roberts in addition to Lassana Mendes’ header on the half hour mark ensured the three points would go to the men from Gwynedd.
There was only one change to the eleven that started the game five days ago at Aberystwyth University Park Avenue. Into the starting line up came Matthew Jones in place of the suspended Owain Jones
Bala had a golden opportunity to take lead with the game just four minutes old. Mendes found himself unmarked in the host’s penalty area. However, he found Connor Roberts in his way as the TNS loanee denied him not once, but twice to keep the score at 0-0.
Aber suffered an early snag as centre back Jon Foligno limped off and was replaced by Louis Gerrard. Despite the setback, Aber had cause for celebration just seconds later. In the 9th minute, Rhys Davies leapt the highest from a freekick on the left-hand side to give Aber the lead.
But the advantage was to last mere minutes. Heartbreak followed when referee Ben Williams adjudged substitute Gerrard to have felled Will Evans inside the area. Roberts made no mistake from the spot despite his namesake going the right way and very nearly getting a paw to it.
Gavin Allen’s men felt aggrieved with the decision and were even more incensed when their own penalty appeals were waved away for what they claimed to be a handball inside the area.
Aber had to readjust again when this time, Gerrard, who’d only been on the field for 15 minutes, was unable to continue and was replaced by Louis Bradford.
The two changes, in addition to the goal, enabled the Lakesiders to grow into the game and they spent more time in the Aberystwyth half of the field as the clock trundled towards the half hour mark. Roberts was again the man to thwart Colin Caton’s men. He brilliantly stopped a Will Evans header that looked for all the world to be nestling into the bottom corner.
But Bala took the lead from the resulting corner. Sean Smith delivered a teasing ball in from the left hand side which found Mendes unmarked in the centre of the goal. The former Colwyn Bay man had the simple task of guiding the header goal wards via a kiss off the post.
After an electric half hour, the tempo slowed until the interval with both sides looking to utilise the long ball but to no avail.
As the rain settled in for the night, the second stanza started in the same manner as the opening period expired. Both sides were bypassing the midfield and looking to get forward at every opportunity but with little in the way of goal mouth action to report on.
It took until the hour mark for the first notable chance since the re-emergence of the teams to materialise and it was to the visitors the chance fell. Henry Jones whipped a cross into the box which was met by the head of the ever dangerous Evans but the former Cardiff Met man was denied by a wonderful point blank save from Roberts. At the other end, Jack Thorn was unlucky not to test Alex Ramsey in the Bala goal as Ollie Shannon bravely blocked his goal bound effort.
George Harry was introduced for his Aberystwyth Town debut in place of Matthew Jones with fifteen minutes to go and just 120 seconds later, Aber were nearly on level terms. Marc Williams beat the offside trap and fired the ball towards the goal. Unfortunately, a strong hand from Ramsey denied the skipper from adding to his tally for the season and former Town defender, Jonny Spittle, was able to clear before anyone in green could get a telling touch.
As the game neared its conclusion, the men from Ceredigion did have the ball in the back of the net but the referee had seen a handball in the build up to the ball’s final destination so he ruled it out with Williams picking up a yellow card for his role in the drama.
Aber pressed for a late equaliser but the men in 3rd place in the league hung on to make it ten games unbeaten.