Friday 2nd November
Aberystwyth Town 1-0 The New Saints
Aberystwyth Town secured a famous JD Welsh Premier League victory as they downed league champions and full-time outfit The New Saints 1-0 on a brilliant Friday night at Park Avenue. 17-year old local Lee Jenkins' 52nd minute goal was enough to see the seasiders to victory as Aber picked up their third successive JD Welsh Premier League win to climb back into the top six in the table.
Aber made three changes to the starting eleven which beat Llanelli last weekend, with Jack Rimmer, Geoff Kellaway and Rio Ahmadi replacing Alan Goodall, Paulo Mendes and Ashley Ruane. It was the hosts who started the brightest, as Ryan Edwards surged into the penalty area after just 5 minutes where his looping cross was met by Rio Ahmadi, who saw his header cannon off the crossbar and into the arms of the fortunate Paul Harrison in goal. After just 15 minutes, Aber were forced into an early substitution as Jack Rimmer appeared to injure his hamstring, resulting in 17-year old Lee Jenkins coming on in his place at centre half. Visitors TNS gradually began to see more of the ball, and on 22 minutes showed their first glimpse of threatening play as Jamie Mullan's low cross was brilliantly cleared by Ryan Wollacott in the six yard area. Soon after, Mullan combined with Aeron Edwards on the edge of the box but Aber 'keeper Terry McCormick was there to mop up the danger. As the first half wore on, Aber began to edge their way back into the game, and on 34 minutes had another good opportunity as Mathew Jones forced a fine stop from Harrison with a curling free kick, before Declan Walker curled a right footed effort just over the crossbar. Then, on 42 minutes, the hosts had another opportunity as the effervescent Jones burst through from midfield only to see his left footed strike go inches over the crossbar. As half time approached, so did a moment of controversy, as Geoff Kellaway scampered down the right flank in the 45th minute and produced an inch-perfect cross for Joe Phillips who's first time volley landed in the top corner of the net - only to be denied by the assistant referee's offside flag. Aber's vocal supporters voiced their displeasure at the decision as the referee blew for half time, with the seasiders going in unfortunate not to be ahead.
The black and greens started the second half much the same way as they ended the first, pressing the visitors with great intensity and not allowing them a moment's time or space on the ball. On 52 minutes came the moment the home fans had been sensing, as local starlet Mathew Jones whipped in a fantastic corner kick, where Lee Jenkins was on hand at the back post to tap the ball over the line and make it 1-0. It was a truly memorable moment for the seasiders with two home grown teenagers combining to put them ahead against the league champions, as Aber suddenly had a lead to hold on to! Just four minutes later, the Saints almost found an equaliser as Ryan Brobbel's goal bound effort was heroically blocked on the line by Wes Baynes, before Geoff Kellaway surged through on goal on the counter attack only to be denied by a last ditch Simon Spender challenge. As the hour mark passed, Aber not only defended their lead superbly, but attacked with a pace and dynamism that caused the league leaders no end of problems. On 64 minutes, Joe Phillips almost doubled Town's lead as he cut inside and curled an effort inches wide of Paul Harrison's post, before Mathew Jones fired an effort straight at the Saints 'keeper from the edge of the penalty area. On 70 minutes came the Saints best opportunity to equalise, as Spender crossed for Brobbel who looked sure to slot the ball home, but instead fired wide of McCormcick's post and Aber could breathe a sigh of relief. As the game entered the final 15 minutes, one would have assumed the hosts would tire against their full-time opponents, but instead the seasiders seemed to find another level of energy - summed up by the tireless efforts of midfielder Ryan Edwards, tasked with the job of marking playmaker Aeron Edwards who was positioned in the pocket behind strikers Ebbe and Byrne. The hosts went close to doubling their lead once more on 77 minutes as Baynes rifled a free kick into the side netting, before the visitors began to throw the kitchen sink at Aber's phenomenal back line. Geoff Kellaway was replaced by Ash Ruane as the game entered the final minutes, but still Aber stood strong and defended their lead admirably. Then, in the fourth minute of additional time, Aeron Edwards earned his side a free kick on the edge of the penalty area where substitute Chris Seargeant stepped up...only to see his strike superbly saved by McCormick - a save that was greeted with the loudest roar of the night from the home supporters. It turned out to be one of the final acts of the night as referee Huw Jones blew for full time to mark a magnificent victory for the seasiders on a great night at Park Avenue.
It was a truly memorable night for the black and greens, and fitting that on an evening celebrating 50 years of the Aberystwyth Junior League, that local teenagers Mathew Jones and Lee Jenkins combined for the winning goal. The victory means Aber have taken maximum points from their last three league games, and climb into the league's top six once more as they now turn their attentions to next Sunday's trip to the capital to face Cardiff Met.
Aberystwyth Town: McCormick, Baynes, Wollacott, Rimmer (15), S Edwards, Jones, Walker (C), R Edwards, Kellaway (90), Phillips, Ahmadi. Subs: Goodall, L Jenkins (15), Blake, Ruane (90), Coleridge, Rowe, Morgan.
The New Saints: Harrison, Spender, Cabango, Nembhard, Marriott, Holland (55), Routledge, Edwards, Mullan, Brobbel (80), Draper (55). Subs: Dutton, Hmami, Sergeant (55), Byrne (80), Ebbe (55), Lewis, Hudson.
*Congratulations to Aberystwyth Junior League Award Winners Brendan-Lee Kelly (u12's Player of the Season), Dylan Owen (u14's Player of the Season) and Ben Stevens (u16's Player of the Season), who were presented with their awards by club chairman Donald Kane at half time during the game.