Saturday 1st October
Aberystwyth Town 1 The New Saints 5
Aberystwyth Town became the latest victims of the TNS juggernaught as the Champions Elect strolled to a 5-1 win at Latham Park this afternoon, thanks to a hat trick from Greg Draper and further goals from Steve Saunders and Aeron Edwards, although Chris Jones’ late penalty brought a little light relief to Town Supporters on a difficult afternoon.
New signing Dan Alfei went straight into the side, with keeper Dom Richards, Lewis Coyle and Luke Borrelli also coming in. Early signs were encouraging as the Black and Greens concentrated hard on their shape and tactics, denying the visitors any attempts on goal. Town even created the first chance when Chris Jones’ corner was smashed back across goal by Borrelli, and past the post. At the other end Richards saved TNS’s first shot on target by Edwards, and then made a great save to deny Alex Darlington, but in the 22nd minute the deadlock was broken. Draper looked suspiciously offside as he tapped in the opener from a right wing cross, and then two minutes later Simon Spender sent in a peach of a ball from the right side which Draper headed home easily. This two goal salvo was a body blow for the hosts, and although Borrelli burst through to force a save from Paul Harrison in TNS’ goal, Draper, Edwards and Steve Saunders went close for the Saints and they were good value for a 2-0 half time lead.
An open second half saw chances at both ends. First Coyle sent in a low shot for Aber which tested Harrison’s handiwork, then hosts’ Man of the Match Richards thwarted Darlington again with an astounding stop. Sam Rodon’s header was arrowing towards the top corner before Harrison intervened, and then the rampaging Coyle necessitated three visiting defenders to deny a chance. In the 62 minute Jamie Mullan found space down the left and knocked the ball back for Edwards to fire home a stunning 30 yarder to kill off the game as a contest. Edwards, Ryan Brobbel and Draper all went close while Borrelli’s 35 yarder was a riposte which flew past the target. TNS Sub Phil Baker’s first touch was deflected onto the post by an Aber defender, and then Richards saved from Edwards low down and Robbie Parry. In the 82nd minute Steve Saunders somehow managed to get his head to a corner at the back post for four, before Spender fouled Jones in the box and the ex TNS Man stepped up to smash home the 85th minute pen, much to the delight of home fans, not to mention Owen Williams’ stag do in the Executive Box. Sadly for Aber Draper headed home a right wing cross in the 94th minute which re-established the four goal margin.
The Black and Greens therefore end a run of ten Dafabet WPL away games in the bottom two, and yet a point off the Top Six as things stand this evening. Six home matches beckon, starting with the Big Official Opening of the 3G on Friday 14th October at home to Rhyl, and Aber’s home form will decide their destiny in this season’s WPL. First up though is one final away game, a Nathaniel MG Cup Second Round game at Haverfordwest County on Tuesday night (ko 7.45pm).