Saturday 16th January
Aberystwyth Town 1 Newtown 2
Early goals from Neil Mitchell in the third minute, and Sean Evans in the 18th minute earned visitors Newtown a win and a Top Six place at Park Avenue this evening. Aber mounted a second half comeback and Chris Venables got a goal back on 55 minutes but the visitors held out, with Luke Sherbon and Venables both seeing red for second yellow cards in injury time.
Town Interim Manager Wyn Thomas wan't helped by the absence through injury of Geoff Kellaway, though Luke Sherbon did return to the starting eleven. Aber however suffered a nightmare start as Mitchell burst down the left flank to beat the offside trap and slide the ball home for an early opener. Jason Oswell lobbed over for the visitors before Luke Boundford sent in a right wing cross which Sean Evans converted for a second with the game barely twenty minutes old. From this point on Newtown slowed the game down as much as possible, allowing Aber possession, but the chances were slow in coming. Jonathan Evans had the hosts' first attempt, straight at Dave Jones, and later on he was picked out by Cledan Davies only to see his rasping shot fizz past the post. In injury time Craig Williams' deep free kick was met by Rhys Griffiths, but his header was straight at Jones, and the two goal margin stood at the break.
Luke Boundford went close for the Robins just after the break, but then Evans fired over from another Davies ball in. Then on 55 minutes hope was reignited when another deep Williams free kick was headed back across the box and the predatory Venables snaffled up his twelfth goal of the season. Once again Newtown exhibited the dark arts to strangle any life out of the game, and they succeeded in frustrating an Aber side desperate to get going. Evans fired over in a rare chance for Aber, Antonio Corbisiero had a shot blocked, and Sherbon shot wide from another Williams corner, but Newtown defended stoutly and did not look like giving up their Top Six place easily. Sherbon, then Venables both saw red in the 90th and 91st minutes, and Rhys Griffiths sent a last ditch attempt wide, but in truth the game was long won and the visitors deserved their victory for the clinical finishing they displayed early on.
The defeat ensures that the Black and Greens will see the season out in the Bottom Six, with a seventh place finish the aim. The Second Phase will begin with a home game against Port Talbot Town the weekend after next, with the date and kick off time to be confirmed shortly.