Caernarfon Town 2-2 Aberystwyth Town
Saturday 6th March 2021
Aber Town were back in Cymru Premier action in Gwynedd this afternoon and it turned out to be an eventful return for the Black & Greens, with three late goals ensuring the points were shared after Aber had led for much of the game.
Pre-match preparations were disrupted as the team coach was delayed on its journey to The Oval, with some of the team only arriving 40 minutes before kick-off. It is to their credit, and the credit of the management team, that this did not seem to affect their start in the game, or the overall performance.
The Aber coaching team, boosted by the arrival of club legend Gari Lewis, gave a debut to Harry Franklin in midfield whilst in attack Jon Owen and Jamie Reed were also making their first appearances since returning to the club. Connor Roberts and Louis Bradford also started, having had their loan spells extended from parent club The New Saints during the enforced break.
Chances were few and far between for both sides in the opening half hour; Jamie Reed and Harry Franklin coming closest for Aber whilst former Seasider Darren Thomas was a threat from set-pieces for the hosts.
The game really sprang into life on the 38th minute, as Marc Williams did well to hold off a defender on the right flank before bursting into the box. His cross was cleared, but only to Jamie Veale, who took a touch to set himself before delivering a delicious ball into the box which was met by Jon Owen with a superb volley to make it 1-0 to Aber!
The visitors had to withstand some heavy pressure as Caernarfon looked to get back on level terms before the break, but the defence coped well with the physical presence of Jack Kenny and the experienced Mike Hayes, and Owen’s goal proved to the difference at the interval.
The hosts continued to push for the equaliser early in the second half, but Harry Franklin looked to hit them on the break and after carrying the ball almost the length of the pitch, he found Matty Jones who crossed to Jamie Reed, but Caernarfon goalkeeper Tibbetts did well to claim the ball.
Franklin was impressing in the midfield, as part of a hard-working midfield three alongside Jack Thorn and Jamie Veale, whilst the front three of Reed, Williams and Owen ran themselves into the ground in order to not only provide a threat going forward, but also to offer additional support in their own half.
It was the defence who were really starting to shine in the second half however, as Caernarfon continued to up the pressure on the young Aber back line of Rimmer, Jenkins, Bradford and Mathew Jones. The combination of Jenkins and Bradford in particular coming in for special praise from Assistant Manager Antonio Corbisiero after the match, as they continued to deal with all Caernarfon had to throw at them.
Connor Roberts was his usual reliable self in goal, denying former Seasiders Mendes and Thomas with a couple of good saves as the half progressed.
It was not all one-way traffic however, and Jon Owen did well to win a corner for Aber, from which Williams had a shot saved before Lee Jenkins follow up was cleared. Jamie Veale also hit a free-kick just wide of Tibbetts right hand post, firing a warning of his capabilities from set-pieces!
As the game entered its final five minutes, Aber’s strong rear-guard was finally breached, as a long ball found Wrexham loanee Jake Bickerstaff who got inbetween Bradford and Jenkins before firing under Connor Roberts to get the hosts back on level terms.
Two minutes later, a throw in was flicked on by Telor Williams to Sion Bradley, who struck the ball past Roberts from a tight angle to put Caernarfon 2-1 ahead. The home side could have been forgiven for thinking they had done enough to win the game, with little time remaining, but Aber rallied and looked to push for an equaliser, as Owain Jones replaced Jack Rimmer in an attacking substitution.
With four minutes of the five added played, Marc Williams drove towards the Caernarfon box and was fouled. Jamie Veale set the ball around 25 yards from goal, and then stepped up and struck a sublime free kick past Tibbets to make it 2-2! It was a real quality strike which nestled right in the bottom corner of the goal, and was every bit deserving of the jubilant celebrations that followed.
There was just enough time for Lee Jenkins to head a Caernarfon attack clear from his own goal-line before the final whistle sounded. A point was the least that the men in Black & Green deserved for their efforts and this performance will surely give both the management team and supporters reasons to be optimistic moving forward.
Assistant Manager Antonio Corbisiero spoke to the club’s media team after the game and commented “I was more than happy with the performance. The performance was spot on to be fair. The players executed everything that we asked of them. The reaction from the boys, to go and get a draw having just been kicked in the teeth conceding those two quick goals, to finish with a goal like that is incredible”.
Aber stay in twelfth position, but a point closer to leaving the bottom two. Next up for the Black & Greens is a home tie against Haverfordwest County on Tuesday night, as the games start to come thick and fast again!
Cymru Premier football is back!