Jordan Evans’ 93rd minute winner dented Aber’s hopes of earning the coveted 7th spot in the Playoff Conference as the Robins left Mid Wales with the bragging rights and the share of the spoils.
The first game in Phase Two looked to be heading towards a 1-1 draw following goals from Marc Williams and Tyrone Ofori apiece until substitute Evans intercepted the ball in midfield and rifled the ball past Alex Pennock in the home goal.
The game was preceded with a minute silence in honour of the Duke of Edinburgh who’d died earlier that afternoon. When the game got going, there were two changes in the starting XI from last week and both were forced from suspension. Pennock started between the sticks in place of Connor Roberts who was red carded late on during last week's victory against Druids whilst there was a return for skipper Marc Williams in place of Jamie Veale who missed out as a result of yellow cards accumulation.
With a famous Aberystwyth sunset forming a sumptuous spring backdrop for the evening’s entertainment, both teams started the contest well and the game. The first chance of the night fell to Aber winger Owain Jones, who cut inside his man but could only drag his shot wide whilst at the other end, Callum Roberts forced a smart stop from Pennock, making his first appearance since late November.
The visitors enjoyed the majority of the ball whilst Aber’s midfield of Jack Thorn, Harry Franklin and Marc Williams were industrious with their work rate in the middle. They disrupted the flow of the visitors game and helped Aber look dangerous on the counter attack but they couldn't quite muster that final ball in the attacking third.
After half an hour, the visitors had the best opportunity of the half. Former Seasider Craig Williams’ cross from the right hand side was met by a glancing header from Nick Rushton but thankfully, the experienced JD Cymru Premier talisman was unable to get his effort low enough as the ball landed narrowly over the bar.
With just seconds left to play in the first period, Aber took the lead. Matthew Jones’ corner from the left hand side was met superbly by Williams who powered his header into the far corner of the goal.
If Chris Hughes’ side were feeling sorry for themselves at going in behind at the interval, it didn’t show as they came out after half time in a calm and composed manner. The visitors were comfortable with the ball which they enjoyed for huge sums of the second stanza and pressured the Aber goal throughout the half.
Ofori, Roberts and Alex Fletcher all went close for the visitors but could not get the goal they were so desperately seeking thanks to staunch defensive work from the home side, marshalled impressively by Louis Bradford and Lee Jenkins.
Aber’s main attacking threat was coming through long balls and with the experience of Shane Sutton and Kieran Mills-Evans to contend with, Jonathan Evans did well to continue to ensure Gavin Allen’s men still had some sort of chance at doubling the lead. In fact, the Seasiders’ best chance of the second half fell to the former Penrhyncoch man but he could only curl his shot wide.
With the game progressing into the final quarter of an hour, the Robins’ pressure finally relented when Ofori, who’d been busy throughout, beat Pennock with a close finish to level the contest.
A draw suited neither side and both sides were desperate for three points to keep the pressure on Haverfordwest County in 7th and both sides had chances to get the victory. Pennock tipped a Jamie Breeze header superbly onto his crossbar, Thorn heroically blocked an Evans shot to keep the scores level. For Aber, a freekick was pumped into the box but the visitors were able to deal with the set piece well.
But with seconds to go, the Robins earned the three points and the bragging rights. A slack pass inside the Aber half was pounced upon by Evans. He drove at the Black and Greens defence before unleashing a powerful drive into the back of the net; sparking jubilant scenes from the men in red around Park Avenue.
A first home defeat since mid-December will be tough to stomach for the Seasiders but with a trip on Tuesday to 7th place County to come on Tuesday and a home tie against Flint Town United next Friday, there are plenty of opportunities to build another run in the relentless pursuit of a 7th place finish.