Friday 10th April
The New Saints 3 Aberystwyth Town 3
After falling three goals behind in the first 27 minutes away to WPL Champions TNS last night, Aber Town last night gave an astonishingly dominant performance for the last hour of the game, and Mark Jones' dramatic 92nd minute equaliser was the least they deserved for the most unlikely of comebacks.
Missing Stephen Wright and Ross Stephens through injury, Town nevertheless started the game very well, pressing TNS high up the pitch and disrupting the Saints' normal patient build up play. Mark Jones and Luke Sherbon were working hard up front and Craig Williams had the first shot of the game, bursting through to bring a save from Paul Harrison. However TNS then found their feet. Michael Wilde brought a cracking left handed save from Mike Lewis in the Aber goal, and then in the 14th minute Chris Marriott's corner was played back across goal and ex Black and Green Hero Jamie Reed nodded home the opener. The Champions then showed their credentials with Lewis denying Scott Quigley and Reed whose stunning volley needed an expert tip onto the post. Michael Wilde also went close twice, and then in the 27th minute Quigley dance through the home defence to double the lead. Sixty seconds later a ball across the box picked out Wilde at the far post who volleyed home from an acute angle for three and the the game was surely won. The match however turned dramatically and for the last hour TNS had a total of two shots on target, while Aber bossed proceedings. Chris Venables played in Williams who brought another save from Harrison from out on the left, Luke Sherbon almost latched onto a great pass from Jones, and then in injury time the hosts had to clear the ball off the line to keep a three goal advantage at the break.
The Black and Greens remained purposeful after the break, and eleven minutes in Williams picked out Sherbon in the left channel, and the WPL Player of the Month for March turned before laying the ball through to Mark Jones, and the Port Talbot Poacher buried the chance to give the visitors belief. A ball in from Cledan Davies was chested down by Sherbon for Venables, and he fired just wide from inside the area; a Wyn Thomas header at the back post set up a huge chance but the ball bounced off Sherbon's head over the bar; Craig Williams had a shot blocked and then went inches wide with a flighted free kick. Finally the pressure told in the 73rd minute as Stuart Jones leapt to head home Antonio Corbisiero's corner, and the comeback was most definitely on. Chris Davies was next to go close finding the side netting from the right flank, and under incessant pressure the home defence were restricted to smashing the ball up the field. Stuart Jones conceded a free kick on the edge of Aber's area in a rare TNS breakaway, but Chris Seargeant's free kick came to nothing. Lewis tipped over a long range effort and Quigley fired wide then normal service was resumed as Corbisiero fired over after a great move; Venables lobbed a half chance just over the bar and Cledan Davies' piledriver from out on the left drew a brilliant stop from Marriott. Finally, with five seconds of the two minutes injury time remaining the irrepressible Mark Jones won the ball and ran straight for the heart of the home defence before picking out the near corner with a deft finish to equalise superbly, and bring an amazing game to a finish.
Whilst Manager Ian Hughes will certainly be annoyed with the concession of three more goals, the performance and fightback was that of a Top Three side last night, and if Town continue to play like that their supporters will not want to miss the few remaining games of the season. Aber will still need a couple of big favours to make it into the Top Three, but this draw is a huge boost going into Friday night's home clash with Second Place Bala Town. Kick off is 7.45pm and, after last night's heroics, you definitely need to be there!