JD Welsh Premier League
Friday 20th October
Aberystwyth Town 1 The New Saints 2
Aberystwyth Town fell to a narrow defeat at the hands of JD Welsh Premier League Champions The New Saints on a wet and windy Friday night at Park Avenue. In what was another spirited performance, Aber deservedly took the lead on 16 minutes after Declan Walker converted Ryan Wade’s cross-come-shot, however the visitors equalised on 41 minutes thanks to Greg Draper. The Saints secured all three points in the second half as John McKenna deflected Jamie Mullan’s cross into his own goal on 48 minutes.
Town started the game in a similar fashion to the way they ended last weekend's victory at Llandudno, imposing their high-pressing game on the current league champions and passing the bla superbly. Ashley Young delivered a couple of early set pieces which came to no avail, as Aber battled against the fierce wind throughout the opening stages. The first shot on target came after 11 minutes, when Ryan Brobbel tested Chris Mullock in goal for Aber, but soon after came the opening goal that Town’s play deserved. A brilliant flowing move started with Ryan Wollacott and Matthew Jones at the back before Ryan Wade picked up the ball in midfield and ran at the Saints defence. Wade played a neat one-two with Luke Borrelli before firing a cross-come-shot across the penalty area where Declan Walker was on hand to prod home the opening goal for Nev Powell’s men to make it 1-0. Town continued to press high up the field, with duo Ashley Young and Malcolm Melvin marshalling the midfield excellently. The Saints struggled to find their usual passing rhythm, but did have a golden opportunity on 29 minutes when Greg Draper dragged his shot wide of the post after being played clean through on goal. Aber survived another scare on 37 minutes as Matthew Jones cleared off the line from a corner, but the visitors found the equaliser on 41 minutes. Greg Draper pounced on a loose ball in Aber’s penalty area and after a fine save by Mullock, managed to convert the rebound to make it 1-1 on the stroke of half time.
Aber came out for the second half with the wind at their backs looking to build on an encouraging first half performance, but their confidence took an early blow as The New Saints made it 2-1 on 48 minutes. Winger Jamie Mullan went on a weaving run down Aber’s right flank before fizzing a low cross across the six-yard box where John McKenna was placed to unfortunately deflect the ball into his own net. The visitors almost added a third goal soon after, as Chris Seargeant sent a free kick towards the top corner only to be denied by a great save by Chris Mullock. Aber battled their way back into the game and continued to cause problems, with Ryan Wade shooting straight at ‘keeper Paul Harrison and standout youngster Matthew Jones providing excellent width down the left flank. Striker Craig Hobson was introduced in place of Borrelli on 74 minutes as Town pushed for an equaliser, and on 82 minutes they almost found one as Declan Walker stormed in at the far post only to head John Owen’s cross agonisingly over the crossbar. Ashley Young again tried his best to create an opening for Town in the dying seconds, as he launched a couple of long throws towards the penalty area, but the visitors stood strong and held out for victory as champions often do.
A slightly cruel result for Nev Powell’s men after what was another encouraging Aber performance in front of the Park Avenue crowd. Town will be able to take many positives from their performance against the current JD Welsh Premier League champions and only full-time side in the league, and must now carry those positives forwards into next Saturday’s clash away to Prestatyn Town.