Thursday 26th December
Newtown 0 Aberystwyth Town 0
Aber Town continued their excellent away form since October with a clean sheet and a hard fought draw this afternoon away to Newtown, who had won their previous three games in a row. Alex Fletcher hit the crossbar with a free kick for the hosts, while Paulo Mendes went closest for the Black and Greens on a day when defences were on top.
On a rainy Boxing Day afternoon the hosts went close early on through George Harry, who was denied by the impeccable CR1 Connor Roberts, and Lifumpwa Mwandwe headed Joe Kenton’s cross over minutes later. Aber settled and Mathew Jones’ testing cross was palmed away by Dave Jones, and his subsequent beautifully flighted free kick was deflected back to Jones off a home defender. The hosts benefitted from another kind deflection to take the sting out of Tom Price’s dangerous right wing cross, then Joe Phillips played a nice trick on Kenton before surging goalbound and bringing another save out of Jones with a low volley. Jones then denied Luke Boundford with Aber well in the game. At the other end Harry brought an acrobatic save from Roberts, before Mwandwe’s effort was brilliantly blocked on the line, and Kenton’s shot was saved. Back came the visitors with Marc Williams controlling Boundford’s ball in only for Mattie Jones to fire wide. Jones then delivered for Boundford to head wide and with chances coming thick and fast. The otherwise excellent Edmilson Vaz fired wide twice in quick succession for Aber, as did Niall Flint for Newtown, but with Stuart Jones and Lee Jenkins strong in the air for the Black and Greens, a goalless score at the break was no surprise.
Home captain Kieran Mills-Evans fired over for Newtown early on in the second half, Phillips got a shot in for Aber, then Matthew Jones’ corner was punched clear to Mendes, whose ball back in was volleyed over by Jenkins. The home side however went on to dominate possession and chances for long periods of the last half hour, with Town defending heroically. Mwandwe was denied by Roberts again from close range, and the very impressive Fletcher sent in a dangerous free kick which evaded everyone, and at the other end Mathew Jones’ cross was met by Mendes, but his goalbound header was cleared for a corner. With the rain now coming down things were getting nervy for visiting fans as Fletcher hit the crossbar with an excellent free kick 30 yards out, Flint and Kenton had shots blocked and Fletcher fired over. Sub Alex Boss set up Williams on the break for Aber, but his flick was saved and then down the other end Harry blasted wide from a good position. Mathew Jones’ cross was cleared off Newtown’s line with Aber threatening to steal the points, but Jack Kelly’s injury time effort for Newtown was deflected wide, and Aber held on for a very commendable result.
The draw means that Aber’s mathematical chances of making the Top Six are finally extinguished, but on a positive note Mathew Bishop’s side have now lost only one of their last six away Cymru Premier matches, and are seven points clear of the bottom two in ninth place. The Black and Greens will now be looking to improve on their home form in the return match as Newtown visit Park Avenue this coming Monday, 30th December (ko 7.45pm).
Photo courtesy of Colin Ewart