Aberystwyth Town's 2021/22 preseason came to an enthralling close on Saturday afternoon as Antonio Corbisiero's Seasiders welcomed JD Cymru Premier rivals Haverfordwest County to Park Avenue. A brace from Harry Franklin and a composed finish from new father John Owen gave the returning spectators their money's worth on a warm and sunny Aberystwyth day.
Lining up with one trialist at centre-back, Town fielded a team of familiar and not-so-familiar faces as new signings Owen Orford and Sam Phillips were given starts at right-back and attacking-midfield respectively. An equal start to the game gave way to some control for the home team as Jonathan Evans, John Owen, Mathew Jones, and Harry Franklin linked well to create a pair of crossing opportunities that narrowly evaded an attacking foot. The lone trialist impressed early in the game looking composed on the ball and effective in his defensive duties, ushering the dangerous Ben Fawcett away from goal on two occasions.
On the half-hour mark, the visitors created their best chance of the game to that point as a loose ball in the Town box was fired powerful to the far corner from Pennock's left side, narrowly skimming wide. Another chance for Town followed as new boys Orford and Phillips linked well from a long-range free-kick for the latter to strike at goal, well-saved by veteran Lee Idzi. Despite the home chances, it was Wayne Jones' County who found the net on 42 mins as Ben Fawcett's well-timed run saw him convert a low cross to the bottom corner. With that, it was half-time at Park Avenue.
The second half came to life at 60 minutes following a triple sub from Town, as Owain Jones, Joe Saunders and Richie Ricketts were introduced. Aber drew level on 63 minutes as a Lee Idzi misstep gifted Sam Phillips the ball who pulled back to a grateful Harry Franklin. However, County were ahead once more within minutes as Kurtis Rees finished smartly from the edge of the box with a one-touch side-footed effort past Pennock. The visitors almost made it three as a chipped effort skimmed Pennock's post before Town pulled level again thanks to an errand backpass that John Owen collected and slotted home on 74 minutes.
The ever-dangerous Fawcett was reintroduced on 79 minutes and proved his worth immediately with another go-ahead goal on 81 minutes, his initial shot saved by Pennock but the attacker netted the loose ball. Before County's third was able to be tweeted, however, Town pulled level for a third time as the tricky Owain Jones got past him man on the left flank to cross to the clinic Franklin for his second of the game. A final opportunity for a County winner was well-thwarted by Pennock 1-on-1 and thus the game ended a six goal thriller.
Corbisiero's men now look forward to their first competitive fixture of the season as we welcome Penybont to Park Avenue on Friday night (6th) in the Nathaniel MG Cup before the season opener at Park Avenue on the 14th against Barry Town. Keep an eye out for further additions to the squad as preparations for this JD Cymru Premier season ramp up!