Sunday 25th February
Carmarthen Town 3-3 Aberystwyth Town
Aberystwyth Town battled to a valuable away point against Carmarthen Town at Richmond Park on Sunday afternoon, in a thrilling finale that saw the hosts score two stoppage time goals to keep their slim survival hopes alive. Declan Walker appeared to have stolen the show with a brilliant hat-trick (12, 48. 66) for Nev Powell’s side, but late goals from Dwayne Coultress and Lee Surman saw the Old Gold snatch a point deep into stoppage time.
Aber manager Nev Powell named an unchanged side after last weekend’s draw with Prestatyn Town, and his team started brightly on a freezing afternoon at Richmond Park. Aber’s first half-chance of the game came after just seven minutes as John Owen played in Declan Walker down the right flank, but the full back’s whipped cross landed safely in the arms of home goalie Lewis Thomas. Soon after though, Aber did find the breakthrough as Walker stepped up and drilled a low free kick through Carmarthen’s wall and into the back of the net to make it 1-0. The visitors grew into the game, and on 19 minutes almost extended their lead as Joe Phillips saw his effort blocked inside the penalty area before Damien Allen headed over with the follow up. However, as the half wore on, Carmarthen began to find their feet and on 26 minutes, Chris Mullock had to be alert to save Luke Bowen’s goal bound effort. But on 28 minutes, the hosts were level, as Luke Bowen rose highest inside the penalty area to head home Keiran Lewis’ in-swinging free kick to make it 1-1. Aber did not let that setback knock their confidence, and continued to create chances as first John Owen and then Malcolm Melvin saw their efforts sail narrowly wide of the post. The first half came to a close with the teams still at level pegging, but with both attacks looking threatening at either end.
The second half started with Aber playing on the front foot, and just three minutes into the second half they were awarded a golden opportunity to go back in front as Declan Walker was tripped inside the penalty area. Aber’s full back duly stepped up and hammered home the spot kick to regain the seasiders’ lead and make it 2-1. Town suddenly looked to be in the driving seat again, with the hosts struggling to adapt to the increase in tempo shown by Nev Powell’s side. Whilst Aber looked a threat in possession, the hosts looked dangerous themselves on the counter attack, and on 62 minutes they very nearly found an equaliser as Mullock produced a fantastic instinctive save to deny Keiran Lewis. Soon after, Aber were back on the attack as Damien Allen stole possession in midfield before playing in John Owen, who squared the ball for Declan Walker to finish superbly into the bottom corner and grab his hat-trick to make it 3-1. Aber were in dreamland, and were being roared on to what looked like a sure-fire three points by their loyal supporters. The hosts, to their credit, continued to battle for their Welsh Premier League lives, and forced another outstanding save from Mullock on 79 minutes as he tipped Mark Jones’ effort on to the crossbar. Substitutes Geoff Kellaway and Luke Borrelli were introduced for Aber in place of Malcolm Melvin and Ryan Wade as they looked to see out the victory. However, as the game entered stoppage time, Carmarthen began to pile bodies forwards in search of a late consolation goal. In the third of four additional minutes, they found their late goal as Dwayne Coultress pounced on some loose Aber defending to tap the ball into the net and make it 3-2. Then, as the game entered the final minute of additional time, Keiran Lewis hooked a looping ball into the Aber penalty area, where the ball ricocheted to Lee Surman who half-volleyed into the bottom corner to make it 3-3. The action wasn’t finished there, as the hosts launched one final ball into the Aber penalty area in the sixth minute of what was scheduled to be four additional minutes; and the ball fell to Luke Bowen, who’s shot was somehow saved by Mullock on the goal line before bouncing off Mark Jones and over the crossbar, and Aber escaped with a point.
A frantic finale to a game that Aber had controlled for long periods, and manager Nev Powell will be extremely frustrated at the way his side conceded two stoppage time goals to surrender two points. However, Aber’s manager will also have many positives to take into next Saturday’s JD Welsh Cup Quarter Final tie against this afternoon’s opponents Carmarthen Town, back at Richmond Park.