Saturday 7th January
Aberystwyth Town 0 Cefn Druids 1
Druids sub Adam Eden's 85th minute breakaway winner condemned the Black and Greens to a costly home defeat which confirms Town's place in the bottom six, or "Play Off Conference" for 2016/7. Two new signings started the game for Aber with two more coming off the bench, but although Luke Borrelli had a goal disallowed and later hit the crossbar with a header, Cefn's defence stayed firm to earn a win which if truth be told they probably deserved.
With new signings Elliott Scotcher starting in midfielder and Jon Owen up front Aber started the game well. Ricky Watts set up Luke Borrelli, but the hosts’ Top Scorer skewed just wide, before Owen saw a shot blocked. Druids however had come to play their part and they were soon creating chances of their own. Tricky Naim Arsam had a shot deflected before home keeper Chris Mullock punched a corner to safety. Cledan Davies curled wide with a shot from midfield, then Mullock parried Stuart Cook’s powerful effort to Steve Blenkinsop, who failed to connect with the rebound to widespread relief amongst the home supporters. Michael Pritchard was next to fire wide with the visitors playing a full part in proceedings. Back came Aber and Borrelli had a shot blocked for a corner, then once again Arsan went just wide before setting up Blenkinsop with a great cross he just couldn’t reach. Kostya Georgievsky almost fashioned an opening down the left only to be blocked, then a sweet move involving Borrelli and Georgievsky created a chance which Owen put away beautifully: sadly though the linesman’s whistle had already gone for offside. Davies again brought a save from Filippo Casatotto and Luke Sherbon flashed an exciting volley just over, but the half ended goalless with the visitors ahead on points.
Only one goal was needed however and although Kyle Parle shot over Kurtis March released Ricky Watts whose first time cross was headed against the bar by the frustrated Borrelli. Chris Jones, then new signings Lee Healey and Jamie Crawford were all sent on to try and change the game, though Blenkinsop was again out of luck when his headed bounced back off the far post into Mullock’s hands. Aber needed a lift and Owen almost provided it by surging down the left channel and sending a shot narrowly wide of the far post; he then crossed from the opposite side for Jones to head wide at the back post. Arsan again shot wide for Druids as did Jones for Aber. Then visiting sub Adam Eden made his mark, firing wide before breaking free down the left with five to go and slotting the ball under Mullock’s near post for a devastating blow. Try as Aber might there was no coming back from the mortal blow and Druids held on for a win which proved the strength in depth in the Dafabet Welsh Premier League, and ultimately cost Aber a place in the Elite.
In truth a place in the Top Six would have been a monumental achievement for Matthew Bishop, Wayne Jones and their squad in what was always assumed to be a transitional season, and credit is due to them for coming close to that improbable target. Nevertheless the Play Off Conference beckons now and a seventh place finish bringing with it a UEFA Europa League Play Off is the main aim. The race for Europe starts next Saturday at home to Cardiff Met (ko 5.15pm), preceded by a Free Family Fun Day from 1.45pm.