Play Off Final
Sunday 17th May (ko 1pm)
Aberystwyth Town 1 v 2 Newtown
Aberystwyth were left disappointed in the UEFA Europa League Play Off Final as Newtown came out on top in an exciting encounter at Park Avenue.
The hosts had Newtown on the back foot from the start as The Robins struggled to deal with Aber's fast, pressing play. The match's first chance came from a free kick right on the edge of the box but Chris Venables was unable to get it past the wall. Speedy winger, Geoff Kellaway was a constant threat on the break but was kept out by Newtown keeper David Jones. Despite all this early pressure it was Newtown who took the lead in the 10th minute, a Tom Goodwin header finding its way into the top corner. Taking the lead sparked the visitors into life and chance after chance fell their way, Luke Boundford and Neil Mitchell both volleying wide from distance. Ross Stephens and Stuart Jones came close to equalizing for Aber as the home side began to build momentum. Pressure soon payed off as Aberystwyth were awarded a penalty for a foul on Kellaway, Chris Venables dispatching it confidently to level the score. The game remained evenly matched but a Matthew Hearsey goal late on in the first half was a cruel blow at the end of a strong half for the Black and Greens.
Aberystwyth, cheered on by the 1012 strong crowd, came out of the blocks quickly at the beginning of the second half, going close from a corner. Chances were at a premium for both sides as both defences came out on top. On the hour mark, Aberystwyth started to gain a strong foothold in the match. Geoff Kellaway yet again broke from his marker to latch on to a clever Mark Jones pass but was unable to finish at the near post. It was then Jones with the effort minutes later, drawing a tremendous save from the goalkeeper. Newtown continued to resist the relentless pressure from the home side and soon frustrations began to boil over, Kellaway seeing red late on to leave Aber with 10 men for the final quarter of an hour. Mark Jones shot just wide as Aber threw everything but the kitchen sink at the Newtown defence in a frantic final 5 minutes.
Newtown held out to claim a 2-1 victory, qualifying them for the Europa League Qualifying Rounds. Aberystwyth Town would like to congratulate The Robins and wish them the best of luck in Europe next season.
Report by Tomos Ings