Friday 25th August
Cefn Druids 2 Aberystwyth Town 0
Two first half goals from Mike Pritchard (22 minutes) and Matthew Eckersley (45+2 minutes) were enough to earn all three points for Cefn Druids in Aber's first North Wales foray of the season, and in truth the Black and Greens could have few complaints about the outcome after an unconvincing display.
Manager Neville Powell's plans were dealt two early blows when Luke Borrelli was unable to play through injury, and John Owen pulled up in the warm up. With striker Craig Hobson also nursing an injury Town started with a new look front three of Cledan Davies, Geoff Kellaway and Joe Phillips, and early signs were encouraging as the visitors enjoyed plenty of pressure. Kellaway worked hard to earn himself a chance down the left but his shot was saved by Michael Jones, Declan Carroll again showed some super tricks on the edge of the area but was tackled and Davies sent a shot just wide. In an engrossing game the Druids looked very dangerous breaking with pace, and Town Centre Back John McKenna denied Ash Ruane with a superb tackle to keep the scores level. Phillips was showing plenty of attacking guile down the right but some excellent crosses came to naught, and then the visitors were hit by a sucker punch when Aaron Simpson's right wing cross found an unmarked Pritchard at the back stick, and his low volley gave Druids the lead. The hosts grew in confidence with Pritchard having a shot blocked, Ruane sending an effort wide of the mark, before the same two players fired over the bar soon afterwards. At the other end Kellaway burst down the left but was again denied by Jones and Davies headed Phillips' excellent cross wide, and once Chris Mullock had saved Jordan Barrow's grass tickler the half seemed done. Alas, in the depths of injury time Neil Ashton's corner landed straight on the head of the unmarked Eckersley and his headed goal meant that Aber had a real mountain to climb at the break.
The second half was a tamer affair with Town looking for inspiration. Davies' ball in drew an acrobatic effort from Phillips which went over the bar, Declan Walker sent a free kick over the bar and a series of free kicks came to nothing thanks to some resolute home defending. At the other end Pritchard twice went close down the left side, Ruane saw a shot blocked and Fisnik Hajdari's free kick was glanced wide for a corner. Davies for Aber had one free kick blocked, before sending in an excellent cross from the right which just eluded sub Hobson, and it was clear that it just wasn't going to be Aber's night, and with the scoreline ending at 2-0 the referee's final whistle confirmed Druids' first win of the season.
The Black and Greens will be keen to start turning pressure into goals so as to give the new season a boost, and they have a chance to do so on Tuesday evening in the Nathaniel MG League Cup when they visit Cymru Alliance neighbours Caersws for a First Round tie at the Recreation Ground with an 8pm kick off. Better luck next time.