Few if any could have foreseen what would happen in the next dream like sequence of games in November. A Friday night visit of TNS which coincided with a celebration of Aberystwyth’s Junior League saw injury depleted Aber losing Jack Rimmer to injury on the quarter hour, and young Lee Jenkins, now seventeen, coming on in his place. Brilliant Aber defending saw them going in even at the break, with Joe Phillips even seeing a super strike disallowed for offside, and then Jenkins tapped home a corner after the break to give Aber something to hang on to. This they did, brilliantly, to create a huge shock and a 1-0 victory. Three wins in a row saw one home supporter whispering “We’re doing a Leicester,” and the joyous celebrations and singing in the John Charles Lounge after the game were a sight to behold. Two very hard away games followed, and a Sunday afternoon rendez vous with Cardiff Met began badly, with the off colour Black and Greens again two down at the break. Crucial goals from Declan Walker and Ryan Wollacott got Aber back into it, and then an injury time winner from Ash Ruane caused more wild celebrations, and the players and supporters singing and dancing together. Surely Aber could not do it again at Bala? In fact they could! Kellaway opened the scoring for Powell’s men, but two goals put the Lakesiders back in control. Late strikes from Ruane and a soaring header at the back post from Declan Walker earned a fifth win in a row, and with tongue in cheek Aber fans sang “we’re going to win the League!”
After such a run a 1-1 home draw with Carmarthen at the end of November, thanks to Declan Walker’s goal, was nothing to worry about and with Aber on 27 points with six matches remaining, and Nev Powell winning the Manager of the Month award the Top Six seemed there for the taking. A 4-3 Welsh Cup win at Cwmamman United, inspired by Ahmadi and a 15 minute hat trick for Ash Ruane, was watched by another great away following thanks to a supporters coach and all in the garden seemed rosy with Christmas just two weeks away.
What followed was a heartbreaking and disastrous run of six defeats which killed off Town’s hopes of a Top Half finish. Town were already a goal down at Caernarfon when Walker was sent off before the break, and a second half collapse brought a 4-0 defeat which brought the Cofis right back into the Top Six mix. Another deluge on Black Friday saw Druids quick out of the traps and they strolled to a two goal win in a game Aber really had to get something from. Newtown came to Aber on Boxing Day and also win by 2-0, and to end a dismal December, a late consolation from Ahmadi was the only bright spot of a 2-1 defeat in the return game four days later, despite late claims for an away penalty at Latham Park. Town were not out of the race yet, but in their first match of 2019 a crushing 6-1 defeat at home to Connah’s Quay which was broadcast live on Facebook, despite another cool Ahmadi finish, put paid to Aber’s dreams. A 2-1 defeat at Barry, again softened by a sublime free kick from the in form Ahamdi saw Aber ending the first phase of fixtures in eighth place on 27 points, dogged by the desperate feeling that a super opportunity of a magnificent achievement had slipped through their fingers. Fortunately, the run was soon to end.
Matches 23-32 to follow on Friday
Match highlights available on Sgorio's website here.