Aberystwyth Town 2-1 Haverfordwest County
JD Cymru Premier
Aberystwyth University Stadium Park Avenue
Aberystwyth Town collected a vital three points on Tuesday evening against Haverfordwest County thanks to goals from Jamie Reed and Lee Jenkins. The win lifts Town out of the relegation zone for the time being and ends a long win drought for the Seasiders.
Despite the continued absence of fans at Cymru Premier games, the excitement was palpable pre-match for the home side’s return to Park Avenue after three long months away. An unchanged side was named from Aber’s last-gasp draw at The Oval, testament to the Black & Green performance in North Wales.
From the first whistle, Aber looked the stronger team with confident spells of possession and chances created, but it was the visitors who threatened the nets first as Danny Williams’ effort from a pull back was finely blocked by Lee Jenkins on 11 minutes. Aber quickly responded with two chances of their, namely for Jamie Reed whose driven shot was fired marginally wide of the County goal.
It wasn’t until 30 minutes that the game’s next chance arose, again to Jamie Reed who was set free through the middle by a perfect pass from skipper Marc Williams, but County’s last man did well to stick with the veteran and give his keeper a chance to save well.
On the stroke of half-time, Jamie Veale lofted a precise ball to the backpost where Lee Jenkins was able to half-volley across goal, but the ball wouldn’t drop in time for two on-rushing Town attackers to convert before the break. With that, the interval was called with the score 0-0 but it was the home side who had shown the initiative to get in front most often.
Town picked up where they left off in the 2nd half, firstly with another 1-on-1 opportunity well defended before the deadlock was broken on 55 minutes. A long throw by the energetic Jack Thorn was bravely flicked on by Lee Jenkins to the swinging left foot of Jamie Reed who volleyed it to the top corner. This being Jamie’s 3rd home debut in Black & Green, how fitting it was for him to be the one to finally find the net, making it a hattrick, a brace, and a lone goal in three consecutive debuts over a 14-year span!
Town made two changes before the 80th minute, with the impressive duo of Franklin and Owen replaced by Owain Jones and Jonathan Evans. This period saw Haverfordwest find their feet in attack and some sustained pressure on the Aber half but little of great concern to Connor Roberts, until the 82nd minute. A cross from County was poorly cleared by a defender across his own box to the feet of a Bluebird who was presented the goal in front of him. Having almost thrown away a lead late on vs Caernarfon mere days previously, it looked a painful case of déjà vu for Town where a deserved three points became one and risked being zero.
However, different to previous games of the ilk, Town rallied late on and looked the stronger side once more heading into the game’s close. On 85 minutes, loud penalty shouts from factions of the Green Army perched on vans, sat in buses, or stood on ladders where waved away by the referee after what looked to be a compelling case for handball in the area.
A final change was made as Steven Hewitt replaced the impressive Veale before heading into four minutes of added time, two of which passed uneventfully. With 90+3 on the clock, a cross from the right was lofted towards the head of Jonny Evans who looped a top corner-bound header, only for the County shot stopper to tip over the bar, giving Aber a corner with mere moments of the game to go. Under the shadow of the Emyr James Lounge, Mathew Jones stepped up and floated a delightful ball towards the six-yard area where TNS loanee Louis Bradford was flying towards goal, connecting with a powerful header that keeper and post-guarder managed to deflect, only for Lee Jenkins to head home unimpeded from 3 yards. A collective joyous roar rang around Park Avenue from players, staff, and on-lookers as Town had snatched victory from the jaws of a draw with the final action of the game, and who better to claim it than the Cymru Premier’s James Collins!
The victory puts an end to a torrid winless streak and lifts Aber to 10th thanks to losses to both Flint and Cefn Druids, but the work has only just begun. Next up is a notoriously difficult away trip to Barry Town on Saturday afternoon, but this win against a strong opposition in Haverfordwest County can only boost the Seasiders’ confidence to travel to Jenner Park with hopes of getting another result in the books. As always, we will be there to provide updates over at @AberystwythTown on Twitter!
Diolch enfawr i’r Dorf Werdd! / Thank you, Green Army!