Saturday 27th January
Cardiff Met 0-1 Aberystwyth Town
Aberystwyth Town booked their place in the JD Welsh Cup quarter-finals after a hard-fought 1-0 victory away at Cardiff Met on a wed and windy afternoon at Cyncoed Campus. Malcolm Melvin scored the game’s only goal in the 37th minute, as Nev Powell’s side defended their lead admirably and battled their way into the quarter-final stage of the competition for the first time in 4 years.
Aber made two changes to the starting line-up from their victory against Connah’s Quay Nomads a fortnight ago, with Ryan Wollacott and new signing Damien Allen replacing the recently departed Jonny Spittle and John McKenna. With the winds at their backs in the first half, Cardiff Met started the game on the front foot, without being able to create any meaningful chances on goal. Aber’s defence looked solid from the first whistle, with Ashley Young slotting into the centre-back position seamlessly. The game’s first real opportunity came on 20 minutes, as Joe Phillips failed to keep his header down after Ryan Wade’s cross into the box. Soon after, the hosts found themselves in on goal, but former seasider Dylan Rees fired over the crossbar as it remained goalless. Met continued to dominate possession as the half went on, and began to threaten Aber’s goal, as Eliot Evans’ cross-come-shot was almost converted at the back post, before Chris Mullock produced a fine save from Will Evans’ deflected effort. However, it was the visitors who took the lead against the run of play on 37 minutes. Town striker John Owen was able to flick on Wade’s cross into the box and midfield maestro Malcolm Melvin nodded the ball over the head of Met goalkeeper Will Fuller into the net, to send the travelling supporters into raptures. With their tails up, Aber defended their lead superbly up until half time, despite the hosts’ best efforts to find an equaliser, and Nev Powell’s side entered the break with a slender advantage.
Town started the second half in much brighter fashion, with Allen and Tom Owens gaining some control in midfield and Joe Phillips and John Owen providing a pacey threat in behind. Nevertheless, it was Met who came closest with the first chance of the second half as Gwion Howell was denied by Chris Mullock, who produced an outstanding fingertip save to divert the ball on to the crossbar. Aber’s goal was living somewhat of a charmed life, but Nev Powell’s side were standing strong against everything that was thrown at them. The visitors continued to look threatening on the break, as John Owen dragged his shot wide after being played through on goal. On 70 minutes, with the game still in the balance, Allen was replaced by Luke Borrelli and soon after Geoff Kellaway was introduced in place of Joe Phillips. Cardiff Met continued to see plenty of the ball without creating any clear cut opportunities, as Ryan Wollacott and Ashley Young handled Gwion Howell and substitute Dan Spencer superbly. On 80 minutes, Aber made their third and final change as Craig Hobson replaced Ryan Wade, and soon after they very nearly wrapped up victory as Hobson played in Borrelli who sent his attempted lob just inches over the crossbar. Town’s vocal supporters lifted their voices a notch with the game entering it’s final stages, as the hosts huffed and puffed without being able to blow Aber’s house down. Hobson demonstrated some fantastic hold up play as Town saw out the four minutes of stoppage time in admirable fashion, and as the referee’s full-time whistle blew, it was evident how much the victory meant to the green army of players and supporters.
This was undoubtedly one of Aber’s finest away results of the season, defeating a Cardiff Met team who’d lost just one game in all competitions at Cyncoed Campus this season prior to the game. Nev Powell’s side now March on to the next round of the JD Welsh Cup, and will now await Monday night’s quarter-final draw with great anticipation.