Friday 20th April
Aberystwyth Town 1-1 Carmarthen Town
Aberystwyth Town extended their unbeaten run to three games in all competitions, as they battled to a hard-fought 1-1 draw with Carmarthen Town at Park Avenue on Friday evening – relegating the visitors from the JD Welsh Premier League in the process. The point mathematically secured Aber’s place in the league for next season, although the black and greens will still have one eye on an eighth placed finish in the table as they enter the final weekend of the campaign next Friday at home to Newtown.
Visitors Carmarthen travelled to Aber knowing that anything other than 3 points on a misty evening at Park Avenue would see them relegated from the JD Welsh Premier League. Aber’s starting line-up included one change from last Friday’s victory at Prestatyn, with Joe Phillips coming into the side for Ryan Wade. Prior to kick off, Bari Morgan’s under 19’s squad were awarded with their Welsh Premier Development Legaue South Winners trophy in front of the bumper crowd of 526 spectators at Park Avenue.
It was the hosts who started the game on the front foot, as Craig Hobson saw his 9th minute header sail wide of the post from Declan Walker’s pinpoint cross with Aber’s first real effort towards goal. As the thick layer of mist descended all around, the black and greens found it difficult to break down their resolute opponents, with clear-cut chances few and far between. But on 20 minutes, Aber found the early breakthrough they had been hoping for, as the ball fell to Malcolm Melvin on the edge of the box, who rolled a pass across for Tom Owens to rattle a laser-beam of a right-footed half volley into the top corner of the net and make it 1-0. Carmarthen suddenly faced an uphill battle to maintain their league status, and immediately pushed for an equaliser as Ceri Morgan struck the outside of the post on 28 minutes. But Aber looked in reasonable control of the game, and managed to restrict the visitors to very few goal-scoring opportunities. As half time approached, Declan Walker ventured forwards towards Carmarthen’s penalty area, and saw his deflected effort drop inches above the crossbar, almost catching Lee Idzi off guard in the visitors’ goal. But it remained 1-0 as the sides went in at the break, with Aber knowing that another 45 minutes of similar performance levels could see them climb the welsh premier league table by the end of the evening.
As they so often have in recent weeks, Aber started the second half in bright fashion and could very nearly have doubled their lead within seven minutes of the restart. Malcolm Melvin once again found himself in space outside the penalty area, and he dribbled into the box only to see his chipped effort bounce back agonisingly off the foot of the post. Soon after, the visitors failed to clear a corner kick and Joe Phillips saw his curling effort saved by Idzi in goal. Aber were applying the pressure and pushing for that crucial second goal, but on 57 minutes the game was turned on its head. Mark Jones flicked the ball on for strike partner Luke Bowen, who’s shot deflected twice inside the penalty area, wrong footing Chris Mullock before falling at the feet of Ceri Morgan who was presented with an open-goal tap in to make it 1-1. The visitors sensed this was their chance to throw all they had at Aber, and went in search of a second goal. On 65 minutes, the hosts had a lucky escape as Clayton Green headed against the crossbar before Lee Surman scuffed his effort over the crossbar when it seemed easier to score. But after weathering the brief storm, Aber regained control of the game, with Craig Hobson providing some brilliant hold up play as the lone striker. As the game entered the final 10 minutes, Aber had another chance to win the game, as John Owen cut inside before seeing his curling shot headed off the line by Kieran Lewis. Soon after, Malcolm Melvin fired his long-range effort just over the bar before substitute Kurt Sherlock saw his powerful effort palmed away by Idzi as Aber went for the kill.
As the evening mist gradually disappeared, so too did Carmarthen’s survival hopes, with 3 minutes of additional time being added on to the 90 minutes at the end of the game. Substitute Ryan Wade almost set up the game winner for Hobson in the dying seconds as the target man fell inches from connecting with the wing man’s cross, but the seasiders would have to settle for a draw as the full time whistle blew to sentence Carmarthen Town to the drop from the Welsh Premier League.
It was another strong performance from the black and greens and another game without defeat at Park Avenue. Aber will be somewhat relieved to mathematically secure their JD Welsh Premier League status for next season, and will now set their sights on 3 points in their final league game of the season next Friday evening at home to Newtown.