Saturday 5th November
Aberystwyth Town 1 Gap Connah's Quay 3
Aber were dealt their first loss since the re-opening of Park Avenue today, with Gap Connah's Quay coming out on top by three goals to one on a bitterly cold Aberystwyth day. Aber went into the game unbeaten in 3 but second-placed Nomads were able to end this run with goals by substitutes Shelton Payne and Nick Rushton, and Matthew Williams adding a third to secure the 3 points.
Aber started the game much the brightest and were rewarded in the 3rd minute when the swashbuckling Kurtis March broke through the middle of the park before passing to Chris Jones on the left flank. The tricky Jones cut inside of Gap's Wes Baynes to strike brilliantly from 25 yards, finding the bottom right corner of John Danby's net to give Aber a dream start. The stunned Nomads went about finding their rhythm by keeping possession in defence and midfield, but Aber's defence held firm with Sam Rodon deserving praise for his strength in the air against the ever-threatening Mike Wilde. It was against Rodon that Gap were awarded a penalty however, the referee adjudging him to have used a hand in the box. Matthew Williams stepped up to take but skewed his shot wide to Mullock's right to the delight of the Aber faithful. March and Jones combined again in the 17th minute but Jones' shot didn't threaten Danby at the Dias end. The 28th minute saw the first substitution of the game, with Ricky Watts having to leave the field with Will Bell coming on, having to play at left-back. Despite this forced change Aber's defence was resolute throughout, with Watts (later Bell), Rodon, Wollacott and Alfei restricting the Nomads' attack to only one shot on target all half. The first 45 ended 1-0 with fans flooding to the John Charles Lounge to get out of the cold and assess the half's events.
The second half started almost a polar opposite to the first, with Gap looking much sharper after what was sure to be a passionate half-time speech by Andy Morrison. The introduction of Shelton Payne paid off almost immediately when the pacey winger found himself free at the back post to equalize for the Nomads on 47 minutes. Pressure continued as Aber were having to defend wave after wave of attack but were able to hold out for 20 minutes. A painful looking injury for substitute and goal-scorer Shelton Payne saw Nomads use their second sub of the game, Neil Rushton coming on for Payne who left the field on a stretcher. It was again a substitute who scored for Gap when Rushton put Connah's Quay ahead on 68 minutes, again finding himself free at the back post. The introduction of recently recalled Cledan Davies gave Aber a lift, with Chris Jones shooting over on 76 mins and captain Luke Sherbon's left-footed volley also over on 77 mins. Just as Aber found their feet and looked to equalize, Gap scored a third when Matthew Williams was first to pounce on a loose ball after a corner at the Dias end on 80 minutes. The introduction of Blake Davies for Geoff Kellaway gave Aber a fresh outlet in attack, but the remaining 10 + 5 minutes of added time, due to the stoppage for Payne's injury, was not enough for Aber to get back in the game.
Aber will look to put this defeat behind them when they travel to Maes Tegid for a rearranged game against Bala Town next Friday, a 7.45pm kick-off against The Lakesiders (see our earlier post for information on the two rearrangements against Bala Town). The club would like to thank the fans once again for their support, even when the weather leaves much to be desired! See you all next Friday!