Aberystwyth Town suffered another blow to their top six hopes as they fell to a narrow defeat at the hands of Newtown at Latham Park on Sunday afternoon. A first half goal from Neil Mitchell (2) had put the hosts in front, before Nick Rushton (60) doubled their lead on the hour mark and despite Rio Ahmadi's (90) late strike, Aber were unable to salvage a draw as they fell to their fourth consecutive defeat.
Manager Nev Powell made three changes to the side defeated by the Robins on Boxing Day, with Alan Goodall, Geoff Kellaway and Rio Ahmadi entering the starting line up. In similar fashion to the Boxing Day clash, it was Newtown who started the game faster, and they took the lead with their first meaningful attack of the game as Callum Roberts crossed for Neil Mitchell to head home within the opening 90 seconds to make it 1-0. Despite the early setback, Aber fought their way back into the game and tested home keeper Dave Jones with long range efforts from Wes Baynes and Rio Ahmadi. On 13 minutes, the Seasiders carved out their best opening yet as Geoff Kellaway forced jones into a fine save after breaking free on the left side of the penalty area. But as the first half wore on, the game became a closely contested affair with neither side able to carve out any clear opportunities and the hosts would enter the break with the advantage.
The Black and Greens started the second half in much brighter fashion, and very nearly equalised on 50 minutes when Paulo Mendes saw his header smartly saved by Jones in goal. Then, on 56 minutes the visitors went closer still, as Rio Ahmadi cut inside and fired a low effort from outside the area against the base of the post. It seemed a matter of time before Aber were back on level terms, but on 60 minutes came the sucker punch that all but sealed three points for the Robins. Sam Phillips broke free on the edge of the area before playing in Nick Rushton, who rifled a shot into the bottom corner of the net to make it 2-0 very much against the run of play. Soon after, they almost well and truly buried the Seasiders as Luke Boundford went through one-on-one with Terry McCormick, but the Aber keeper stood strong and produced an excellent save to smother the shot. Substitutes Ash Ruane and Joe Phillips were introduced in place of Kellaway and Ryan Edwards, and soon after Aber went close once more as Ryan Wollacott met Mathew Jones' corner, only to see his header cleared off the line. As stoppage time approached, Aber did find a way back into the game as Declan Walker flicked the ball through for Ahmadi, who produced a neat chip into the corner of the net to make it 1-2 with five minutes of additional time remaining. And in the very last minute of stoppage time, Paulo Mendes appeared to be fouled in the penalty area, only for his appeals to be waved away by referee Cheryl Foster, and the Seasiders would leave Latham Park empty handed.
It was an improved performance from the Seasiders' previous defeats, but manager Nev Powell will be disappointed his side were unable to convert the chances they carved out at Latham Park on Sunday afternoon. Town now face a real uphill battle to finish in the league's top six as they welcome Conah's Quay Nomads to Park Avenue next Friday evening in the JD Welsh Premier League.
Newtown: Jones, Roberts, Denny, Mills-Evans, Kenton, Fletcher, Phillips (60), Mitchell, Boundford, Leslie, Rushton. Subs: Cadwallader, Williams (60), Jones, Perry, Evans
Aberystwyth Town: McCormick, Baynes, Wollacott, Goodall, S Edwards, R Edwards (71), Walker, Jones, Mendes, Kellaway (82), Ahmadi. Subs: Rimmer, Blake, Phillips (82), Ruane (71), Rowe.