Saturday 6th January
Cardiff Met 1-1 Aberystwyth Town
Aberystwyth Town gained a thoroughly deserved point as they battled to a 1-1 draw against Cardiff Met in front of the TV cameras on a chilly Saturday evening at Cyncoed Campus. In what was one of Aber’s finest away performances of the season, John Mckenna flicked in Ashley Young’s free kick in the 59th minute to cancel out Eliot Evans 45th minute opener for the hosts. The point keeps Aber in 10th place in the JD Welsh Premier League table, but moves the seasiders to within two points of Newtown and eight points adrift of seventh placed Llandudno.
Aber manager Nev Powell made two changes to the starting line-up from Town’s New Year’s Day defeat to Carmarthen, with midfielders Malcolm Melvin and Tom Owens replacing Craig Hobson and John McKenna. Town started the game brightly and dominated the early stages of possession whilst maintaining an excellent defensive shape. On 7 minutes, Aber new boy Tom Owens flew into a tackle with Met full back Kyle McCarthy; a challenge that emphasised the aggression and intensity that the visitors had perhaps been lacking in their past three matches. The first chance of the game came in the 19th minute, as Ryan Wade sent a long-range effort just over the crossbar. Soon after, Malcolm Melvin went even closer as his shot sailed inches over, after an excellent cut back from the right flank by Declan Walker. Aber were playing with a confidence and verve that had been missing in recent weeks, and they created another good opportunity on 36 minutes when Melvin was again in the thick of the action, producing a wonderful pivot turn and volley inside the penalty area that narrowly missed the crossbar. However, on 45 minutes the hosts took the lead with their first meaningful chance of the game. Met were awarded a contentious free kick on the edge of Aber’s penalty area, after a nasty clash of heads between Ryan Wollacott and Met striker Dan Spencer, which resulted in both players having to leave the field (with Wollacott being replaced in defence by John McKenna). Eliot Evans stepped up and curled an inch perfect strike into the top corner, leaving Aber goalie Chris Mullock with no chance, to make it 1-0 to the hosts. The goal meant Town went in behind at the break, despite their first half dominance, and left Nev Powell’s side with work to do in the second half.
Aber came out for the second half with a similar tempo and intensity to their play that they had shown in the first half, as Malcolm Melvin and Ashley Young bossed the midfield with some slick passing. On 56 minutes, the equaliser somehow evaded Nev Powell’s side as Tom Owens latched on to John Owen’s back-heel to rattle the crossbar before the rebound struck the knee of Luke Borrelli and ricocheted wide of the post. The rub of the green seemed to be with the hosts as they survived another scare on 57 minutes when Melvin again sent an effort wide of the post. But on 59 minutes, Aber finally found the equaliser they so thoroughly deserved; Ashley Young delivered a wicked ball into the penalty area from a free kick on the left flank, and John McKenna was left unmarked to glance the ball into the bottom corner to make it 1-1, and send Aber’s vocal supporters into raptures. The goal seemed to give Town yet another boost in confidence as they continued to dominate possession and create opportunities in attack. On 63 minutes, the visitors very nearly took the lead as Luke Borrelli rose at the far post to head the ball inches wide from Declan Walker’s deep cross. Geoff Kellaway and Craig Hobson were introduced from the substitutes bench to try and find the winning goal the seasiders deserved, but to their credit Cardiff Met dug in their heels and stood firm. Aber’s final attacks of the game came from a succession of corner kicks that were dangerously whipped into the penalty area by Ashley Young, but it wasn’t to be for Nev Powell’s side as they settled for a valuable point away from home.
A much-improved performance from the visitors, whose confidence will no doubt have been restored after a tricky few weeks over the festive period. Great credit must be given to all of Town’s players, most notably captain Jonny Spittle who was awarded the Man Of The Match award by Sgorio. A special mention must also be given to the fantastic and vociferous away supporters, who once more highlighted the fantastic following that Aber are fortunate to receive whenever they play away from home. Town now have seven days to recover before their next JD Welsh Premier League match at home to Connah’s Quay Nomads at Park Avenue next Saturday.