Friday 18th August
Aberystwyth Town 0 Llandudno 2
Despite dominating the opening hour of the match, Aber Town fell to defeat at the hands of clinical Llandudno, for whom strikes by Danny Shaw (55 minutes) and, inevitably, Danny Hughes (88) earned the three points, with the Black and Greens left to rue a series of missed chances.
A healthy crowd, boosted by the attendance of 30 of the Club's valued Sponsors, defied the unseasonable pre match downpour to watch Neville Powell's first competitive home game in charge of Aber Town, and the early signs were promising. John Owen burst through the middle to fire over, and then Declan Walker's viciously inswinging corner was punched away by Dave Roberts. Declan Carroll had a shot deflected, and then Craig Hobson just failed to connect with Cledan Davies' dangerous set piece delivery. With a strong wind in their favour Aber kept creating chances. Walker returned Roberts' goal kick by smashing the ball back to the visiting keeper, then Davies' corner was headed off the line by Danny Taylor before Owen tapped wide. Walker again brought a save from Roberts and then the visitors threatened for the first time when James Joyce's excellent left wing cross was sent wide by Ryan Edwards. John McKenna headed over the bar from an Ashley Young throw in, and roared on by a vociferous following Llandudno had survived the first half onslaught to keep the scores goalless at the break.
Aber continued to press towards the Dias Stand after the break. Luke Borrelli's low cross was cleared to safety, then Owen dribbled into a promising position but saw his shot saved. A goal seemed inevitable, but sadly for the Black and Greens it came at the wrong end, as Llandudno lofted a ball into Aber's box which Shaw back headed over home keeper Chris Mullock to gain a scarcely merited lead. The strike saw the visitors visibly grow in confidence and they did enough in the last 35 minutes to earn a win. Mullock was called on to punch clear Edwards' free kick, and Marc Williams drew another save from the home netminder soon after. Sub Geoff Kellaway flashed a shot just wide minutes after coming on but with Aber committing more and more players forward in search of an equaliser, Llandudno were threatening on the break and James Joyce was next to go close for Alan Morgan's men, on two occasions. Joe Phillips saw a shot deflected for a corner and then the home side were denied when Kellaway, through on goal and about to equalise, was blocked by a superb last gasp tackle from Danny Shaw (photo top left). Shaun Cavanaugh went close for Tudno and then with two minutes left yet another superb strike from Hughes into the far corner, who scored Sgorio's Goal of the Season at Park Avenue last season, gave the scoreline a flattering appearance for the visitors with Aber feeling hard done by.
Resolute defending and clinical finishing won this game for Llandudno and deservedly so, but that should not obscure the fact that the hosts were thoroughly dominant for the first 55 minutes of this game, and if Neville Powell's men can start converting the chances they create, success will be just around the corner. Town's next test in this regard comes next Friday evening at Cefn Druids (ko 7.45pm). Keep the faith!
Photo courtesy of Chris Howells