Saturday 18th January
Aberystwyth Town 1 Penybont 0
Aber Town ended their Phase I with two consecutive wins and clean sheets as Paulo Mendes' dangerous cross tempted the unfortunate Billy Borge of Penybont to score an own goal past his own keeper in the fourth minute, gifting the Black and Greens a vital home win. On a cold evening defences were on top and the Seasiders retained their lead stoutly in a game of few chances to claim the spoils and continue their great start to 2020.
Manager Mathew Bishop gave home debuts to David Thompson, Pavel Vieira and Ilan Hughes, and a full debut up front to new signing Alhagi Touray Sisay, whose international clearance had arrived overnight. A hectic start saw Aber starting well, with Matthew Jones sending in some excellent crosses from the left: however the hosts’ goal came from the opposite side. Magnificent Paulo Mendes pulled out a great trick down the right wing to beat his marker, and sent in such a dangerous cross that Borge deflected it past his own keeper Ashley Morris to give the Black and Greens a crucial lead: Mendes’ fourth assist in the last two matches! Back came the visitors with the lightning fast Nathan Wood winning the ball in midfield before shooting wide, only for Touray to turn his defender at the other end and send in a shot which Morris parried to safety. A nice move from Penybont ended with Ashley Evans sending in a low shot for Connor Roberts to save, then Michael George surged down the right and crossed for Dan Griffiths to curl a shot just past the post. After a promising start for the hosts, the visitors were now taking the initiative, with Aber showing good defensive discipline through Thompson and Lee Jenkins in particular. Another searching cross from Jones just evaded Touray at the far post, and the same pair combined minutes later as Touray flicked past the post. Kane Owen’s free kick was headed wide by Kostya Georgievsky, with Penybont threatening again, then Jenkins pulled out a superb goal saving challenge to deny Wood a strike on goal. James Sadler saw a shot deflected safely to Roberts in Aber’s goal, and in injury time Mendes and Wes Baynes were denied by strong blocks, and the Black and Greens went into half time a goal to the good.
Another hectic start characterised the second half, although clear cut chances were limited. Touray beat his man and curled a left footed volley goalbound only for Morris to save, and then Jenkins surged upfield from centre back, and his effort aimed at the far corner also threatened Morris, only to be deflected back to Geoff Kellaway who fired over. Mendes sent in a ball which Captain Marc Williams headed at the visiting goalkeeper. Penybont were dominating possession but their final ball was frustrating their attempts to score, for example when Wood’s cross was aimed straight at Connor Roberts: and the disciplined Seasiders were working very hard to deny the visitors any clear cut opportunities. Georgievsky headed wide again, then Jones sent in yet another quality cross for Williams to glance wide. Jones’ corner was then deflected and cleared off the line by a visiting defender, and Penybont went close with a header at the death, but Aber held on for a crucial clean sheet and three points.
Saturday’s win was a very different type of game to last week, and Penybont certainly deserve credit for the progressive style of football they displayed, but once again Aber defended excellently, created plenty of chances and showed the know how to win a game of football. With a three week break ahead in the JD Cymru Premier the Black and Greens are solid in ninth place at the split with 23 points, and have eight points to make up on Cardiff Met in seventh if they are to challenge for a UEFA Europa League Play Off spot at the end of the season. Well done Aber!
Photo courtesy of Colin Ewart