Saturday 15th September
Aberystwyth Town 3-2 Bala Town
Aberystwyth Town secured a massive victory over JD Welsh Premier League contenders Bala Town in a thrilling game in front of the Sgorio cameras at Park Avenue on Saturday evening. Geoff Kellaway (23) had given Aber the lead only for Mike Hayes (68) to equalise midway through the second half, before Aber landed a late double blow as substitute Rio Ahmadi (76) and Ashley Ruane (87) secured all three points despite Henry Jones' (90) last minute penalty kick.
Aber made two changes to the side defeated by The New Saints on Tuesday evening, with Geoff Kellaway and Joe Phillips replacing Alan Goodall and Rio Ahmadi. The hosts made the brighter start to the game, with Ashley Ruane threatening early on, before Wes Baynes fired an effort well wide of the post. On 12 minutes, Aber missed their first clear opportunity of the game as Steff Edwards strode forward before putting a low cross into the six yard area where Ruane was inches away from converting. Visitors Bala struggled to get into the game, but did create an opening on 16 minutes when Steven Tames crossed for Ian Sheridan who was unable to convert, before Aber were forced to defend a succession of corners from the lakesiders. On 23 minutes came the game's opening goal, as Geoff Kellaway controlled Wes Baynes' throw in on his chest before swivelling and delivering a teasing left footed cross into the penalty area, where Ash Ruane did enough to fool goalkeeper Morris, which allowed the ball to bounce into the far corner of the net for 1-0. It was a lead that Aber's early play just about deserved, as goalscorer Kellaway continued to cause bedlam in the visitors defence with his pacey runs and inviting crosses. Bala continued to struggle to find any rhythm, often bypassing the midfield and opting for the more direct route to goal with aerial balls towards lone striker Tames. Meanwhile, Aber did their best to get the ball down and play, and on 36 minutes very nearly doubled their lead as the energetic Joe Phillips cut inside before sending a right footed effort inches wide of the post. On 43 minutes, the visitors registered their first effort on goal as Henry Jones unleashed a powerful strike that was excellently tipped over by Leigh Jenkins, before Joe Phillips again went close at the other end with a long range effort, but Aber would take a slender one goal advantage in to the break.
The second half began at a more frantic pace than the first, with Bala evidently having had some harsh words said to them by manager Colin Caton at the break. On 49 minutes, Steven Tames got his head on the end of Andrew Burns' cross only to be denied by an outstanding reaction save by Leigh Jenkins. Aber's keeper was called into action once more just seconds later as he got a strong palm on Henry Jones' curling free kick, as the hosts were forced to weather the Bala storm. The visitors went close once more on 53 minutes as Stuart J Jones missed a guilt-edged chance from 3 yards out when it appeared easier to score, but as the second half wore on Aber began to get a grip of the game once more. On 67 minutes, Alan Goodall replaced Joe Phillips in midfield, but just seconds later the visitors equalised as Mike Hayes latched on to Sean Smith's header before finishing brilliantly over Leigh Jenkins to make it 1-1. Despite that setback, Aber appeared to grow in confidence and began to play some of their best football all evening. Wing man Ryan Edwards continued to threaten down the left flank, and very nearly contributed to Aber re-taking the lead on 72 minutes as he played in Goodall, who flicked the ball through for Kellaway only for goalkeeper Morris to smother the ball at his feet. Soon after, Kellaway was replaced by Rio Ahmadi, and within minutes of his entrance into the game, the Aber number 9 put the hosts back in front; Ryan Edwards provided a deft back-heel for Mathew Jones on the left flank, who then delivered an inch-perfect cross with his weaker right foot for Ahmadi to chest the ball down and drill the ball into the bottom corner to make it 2-1. It was evident how much the goal meant to Rio himself, as well as Director of Football Nev Powell who jumped for joy into the arms of Aber assistant Gavin Allen! But the hosts weren't done there, as on 87 minutes Ahmadi turned provider when he cut in from the right flank and delivered a sublime cross for Ashley Ruane to control, swivel and slam the ball into the roof of the net and make it 3-1 with his first goal for the black and greens. It was a goal Ruane had thoroughly deserved after an industrious and energetic performance up front. Visitors Bala continued to search for a way back into the game, with Henry Jones seeing plenty of the ball, but he was afforded little space to try a mind-blowing rabona, as Sgorio's Man of the Match - 19 year old Aber native Mathew Jones, bossed the midfield. As the game entered stoppage time, Henry was adjudged to have thrown himself to the ground too easily by the referee, before the linesman's intervention resulted in the awarding of a penalty kick for the visitors. Jones stepped up and converted to make it 2-3, but it proved insignificant as Aber saw out the final minutes for what was a massive victory at Park Avenue.
It was a fantastic night for Aber under the Park Avenue lights, and an especially emotional evening for many associated with Aberystwyth Town and the Welsh Premier League, as the club unveiled the opening of Lolfa Emyr James before kick off. It was a touching moment as Emyr's family and close friends were on hand to officially unveil the opening in Emyr's name, and it was fitting that Aber produced such a spirited and determined performance in honour of a great man who did so much for the club.
Aber climb to 7th place in the JD Welsh Premier League table, and will be keen to continue their push for a top six position as they face Carmarthen Town at Richmond Park in the JD Welsh Premier League next Saturday afternoon.
Aberystwyth Town: Leigh Jenkins, Baynes, Wollacott, Lee Jenkins, Steff Edwards, Ryan Edwards, M Jones, Walker, Kellaway (73), Phillips (67), Ruane. Subs: Rimmer, Blake, Goodall (67), Berner, Rowe, Ahmadi (73)
Bala Town: Morris, Burns, Stuart J Jones, Miley, S Smith, Burke, Pearson, Gossett (64), Sheridan, Tames, H Jones. Subs: Hayes (64), Stuart Jones, Valentine, K Smith, Charles, J Jones, Edwards.