Friday 20th September
Aberystwyth Town 2 Caernarfon Town 3
Aberystwyth Town finished off on the wrong end of a five goal thriller at Park Avenue last night, coming within inches of earning a valuable point before losing 3-2 to Caernarfon Town. The Cofis took the lead through Noah Edwards on 20 minutes, but back came Aber with an immediate response with a Goal of the Month contender from in form Joe Phillips on 25. Ten minutes later Nathan Craig converted a penalty for the visitors, and when Leo Smith made it 3-1 on 54 minutes the game seemed won. However Paulo Mendes headed Aber back into contention in the 90th minute and Mathew Jones’ fantastic free kick rebounded off the crossbar in injury time to ensure the 3-2 scoreline.
With the sun from another beautiful day on the Ceredigion Coast setting majestically behind the Dias Stand, the match kicked off and a high paced start entertained the large crowd of 452. Wes Baynes sent a shot wide, then set up Luke Boundford who just failed to control the ball in a promising position. Aber were disappointed not to be awarded a penalty for handball, and Tom Price scooped the resultant free kick just over the top, with Aber looking good. Boundford chased down keeper Alex Ramsey for another half chance, however Caernarfon’s strong and combative play ensured they were always a threat too, and the Cofis drew first blood. Noah Edwards picked the ball up on the edge of the area and danced into space before reversing the ball into the bottom corner for 1-0. Joe Phillips had a shot deflected for a corner, and then came a wonder goal. Phillips picked up the ball on the left touchline, drifted inside and unleashed a super dipping volley which zoomed into the far top corner, with the help of a slight deflection, and Aber were level. Gareth Edwards headed wide for Caernarfon before Price crossed in for Marc Williams to see a shot deflected wide, but then disaster struck for Aber as a penalty was controversially awarded for a block after the ball had been played by Jamie Breese, and Craig did what Craig does, and buried the penalty. Phillips almost equalised with a deep cross which Alex Ramsey almost carried into his own net, and saw another shot blocked, but Caernarfon were also dangerous and Connor Roberts kept Aber in it with a superb stop in a one on one with Sion Bradley, and the Canaries ended the half 2-1 up.
Sub Matthew Jones sent in an early tester for Craig with a free kick just after the break, and then Stuart Jones pulled off a superb sliding tackle to deny Breese a clear shot on goal. Then however a fortunate deflection saw the effervescent Smith run right through the back line to hammer home a third, and Aber were really up against it. Smith saw another shot deflected wide but Aber kept at it: a Marc Williams shot dipped just wide after a lovely move, and he then curled another shot agonisingly wide of Ramsey’s left hand post. Danny Brookwell sent a snap shot over the bar, as did Noah Edwards not long afterwards. The influential Williams set up sub Richie Ricketts down the left channel, but his effort went wide, and Brookwell and Darren Thomas both missed the target with chances coming thick and fast. Then Mathew Jones’ corner was glanced home in the box by Mendes, and Aber went for it in injury time. Williams earned a 93rd minute free kick, and Jones curled in a beauty which cannoned off the crossbar, to agonised cries from the Black and Greens – and the Cofis hung on for victory.
This was an exciting match in which Aber played their full part, and the hosts may point to two crucial penalty decisions which went against them in a close game. In truth however Caernarfon probably deserved the win for their combative and competitive approach to the game, and some clinical finishing. Aber now move on to a Nathaniel MG Cup Third Round match away to Cardiff Met on Tuesday evening (ko 7.45pm).