The New Zealand international, introduced in the second half, broke the hearts of the hardworking Seasiders who had gone into the break level after Stephen Hewitt had cancelled out Dean Ebbe’s opening header.
Gavin Allen made six changes to his starting charges from a fortnight ago in the capital. Jamie Veale, celebrating his 24th birthday, skippered the side which also featured a first start for ex-Wrexham man Jack Thorn. Elsewhere in the match day squad, there were places for Louis Gerrard and Shama Bako following their deadline day arrival on the Ceredigion coast.
The Saints got off to the best start possible when they broke the deadlock after just four minutes. A good cross from the left-hand side found Ebbe who powerfully headed the ball home despite Alex Pennock getting a hand to his effort.
Following the goal, the hosts were in a buoyant mood and created more chances to increase their advantage. Lee Jenkins put in a great challenge to stop Adrian Cieslewicz, Louis Robles saw a glancing header fall narrowly wide of the post and Jon Routledge’s audacious lob had the Seasiders’ defence scrambling with the ball thankfully dropping over the bar.
At the other end, the tireless Adam Davies was Aber’s main goalscoring threat. First seeing a powerful drive was just over before then pouncing on a defensive error in the final third but his shot was easily stopped by Paul Harrison in the Saints’ goal.
After half an hour, Aber were forced into an early change with Owain Jones replacing Matias Ethegoyen and within minutes of the former Merthyr man coming on, Aber were level. Davies beat the offside trap down the left-hand side and his deflected cross met the head of the onrushing Stephen Hewitt to equalise.
The goal lifted Aber as they went in search of a go-ahead goal. They enjoyed more possession and Veale’s free kick from the edge of the area came within a whisker of meeting to head of the onrushing Jenkins in the box.
But it was the hosts that ended the opening stanza the stronger as they enjoyed a succession of corners and a golden opportunity to regain the lead. The dangerous Ebbe saw his shot well stopped before the sound of Thomas Owen’s whistle signalled half time.
The second half started with the league leaders enjoying the possession and the territorial advantage but with little in goal mouth action to report as the visiting defence repelled everything thrown their way.
Both sides looked to their reinforcements to force the initiative with the former champions introducing Jamie Mullan instead of Louis Robles and the men in yellow replacing Davies with Shama Bako and the Saints interchange nearly instantly paid dividends for them. Aber defended the penalty area well but the ball fell to Mullan whose wicked strike powered narrowly wide of Pennock’s far post.
Just after the hour, Scott Ruscoe turned to his bench again with the introduction of Tom Holland and Draper and the latter, so often a thorn in Aber’s defence, was again the man who gave the Saints the lead. After Pennock blocked Blaine Hudson’s header superbly, a cross back into the box was faintly touched by the New Zealander to give the home side the lead.
With the fog drowning the pitch at Park Hall, the only side in the JD Cymru Premier with an unbeaten record smelled blood. A smart block on the line from Jenkins stopped Aber going further behind whilst the linesman’s flag prevented Draper claiming his second. Aber did create their own opportunity but Owain Jones’ header landed over the bar.
With fifteen minutes left to play, captain Marc Williams was introduced to the action but ten minutes later, the hosts sealed the points. Again, it was Draper who increased the advantage as he coolly turned in the box and slotted home into the far corner of the net.
And the experienced marksman put a gloss on the final score as he grabbed his third. He rose well in the penalty area and his header looped over the head of Pennock in the goal to give the final score line a lopsided look.
Whilst the end result looked disappointing, there were many positives to take from the game including many individuals putting their hands up for selection during this busy schedule. Aber will look to bounce back when they take on Haverfordwest County this Tuesday (1st December) which you can watch live on Sgorio.