Aberystwyth Town suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of full-time outfit and JD Welsh Premier League champions The New Saints at Park Hall on Tuesday evening. A hat-trick from Aeron Edwards (15, 37, 85) plus goals from Simon Spender (33), Jamie Mullan (43) and Adrian Cieslewicz (64) were enough to see the hosts to a comfortable victory on a difficult evening for the black and greens in Oswestry.
Aber started the game in bright fashion, with Rio Ahmadi back in the side in place of Geoff Kellaway to partner Ash Ruane up front, Steff Edwards back in at left back and goalkeeper Leigh Jenkins returning between the posts in place of the injured Terry McCormick. It was indeed the visitors who registered the first effort towards goal as Wes Baynes rifled a long range shot wide of the post, before the hosts responded as Adrian Cieslerwicz tested goalkeeper Leigh Jenkins with a low drive. The Saints gradually began to dominate possession, and opened the scoring on 15 minutes as Dean Ebbe slid the ball in behind for Aeron Edwards to slot beyond Jenkins and make it 1-0. Despite the early setback, Aber responded well and on 19 minutes notched their first effort on target with Declan Walker's grass-cutter, before Wes Baynes went even closer on 25 minutes as he strode on to Steff Edwards' cross but fired narrowly over the crossbar. Aber were managing to stay in the game despite seeing little of the ball, but on 33 minutes the Saints doubled their lead as Simon Spender snuck in at the back post to side foot the ball home and make it 2-0. Soon after, it was three as Aeron Edwards broke from midfield once more and calmly lobbed the ball over Jenkins in goal, and Aber were suddenly shell-shocked. On 39 minutes things seemed to go from bad to worse, as Dean Ebbe was tripped in the box, but Leigh Jenkins stood tall and saved Edwards' penalty with a brilliant dive to his right. That small victory was short lived however, as on 43 minutes the Saints made it four when Jamie Mullan scampered into the six yard area to tap home Cieslewicz' cross.
The second half followed a similar pattern, with the hosts dominating possession and creating goal scoring opportunities. Jack Rimmer was introduced in place of Alan Goodall as Aber switched to a 4-5-1 formation, and they did well to deny the Saints a fifth as centre back Lee Jenkins produced a last ditch tackle to deny Spender. On 64 minutes the hosts did grab their fifth of the evening as Cieslewicz converted Spender's low cross, before Aber made two more substitutions with Joe Phillips and Geoff Kellaway replacing Ryan Edwards and Rio Ahmadi. In fairness, Phillips and Kellaway both produced some of Aber's best moments in the closing stages - Phillips playing Rimmer in on goal in the 73rd minute only for the ball to clip the post on it's way wide, before he struck a low effort inches wide of the post in the 83rd minute. On 85 minutes, Aeron Edwards finally grabbed his hat trick as he tapped home from close range to compound a miserable night in Oswestry for the seasiders.
Aber must now turn their attentions to Saturday's live televised game at home against Bala Town, where they will seek a much improved performance and result at Park Avenue.
The New Saints: Harrison, Spender (65), Hudson, Nembhard, Marriott, Holland (71), Edwards, Routledge, Mullan, Ebbe, Cieslewicz (74). Subs: Roberts, Byrne (74), Clark, Draper, Hmani (65), Lewis (71), Redmond
Aberystwyth Town: Leigh Jenkins, Baynes, Wollacott, Lee Jenkins, Goodall (45), Steff Edwards, Ryan Edwards (67), Walker, M Jones, Ruane, Ahmadi (67). Subs: Rimmer (45), Kellaway (67), Mendes, Blake, Phillips (67), Berner, Rowe