Saturday 21st March
Newtown 3 Aberystwyth Town 3
Two late goals from Chris Venables and Ross Stephens, allied to an earlier strike from Luke Sherbon, earned the Black and Greens a potentially crucial point at Newtown yesterday, which all but guarantees them a Top Four finish for 2014/5. For the third successive League game Aber showed terrific character to come from behind to earn a point, and that never say die attitude will serve them well in the final four League games of the season.
With striker Mark Jones ruled out by a virus and Venables returning to midfield, Sherbon moved up top and he made an excellent start in the Number 9 position, holding the ball up well and bringing others into play. An open game ensued, with Newtown's main chances coming from Sean Evans, who had one attempt blocked and another cleared off the line. The visitors were creating chances too, with Geoff Kellaway and Craig Williams testing Dave Jones' handiwork, and then on 26 minutes Sherbon pounced on a hesitation at the back, did superbly to win the ball, created an opening and slotted home confidently to give Aber the lead. Kellaway again, and the Venables from 40 yards nearly scored, and then Venables appeared to be hauled back in the area - but characteristic of this game was the fact that chances were still coming at both ends. It appeared that Jason Oswell had to score from 10 yards but he dragged his shot wide, then on 34 minutes Craig Williams equalised for Newtown with a deft free kick from the edge of the area. There was still time for Sherbon to come within an inch of scoring with a wonder volley which bounced back off the post, and a breathtaking half ended 1-1.
If nervy supporters were hoping for a quieter second half they were to be disappointed! Venables had one shot deflected wide, then headed over from a Craig Williams free kick, but Newtown were fully in the game and it was no surprise when Oswell pounced on some uncertainty at the back to score from a yard on the hour, after a lofted free kick from out on the right. For Aber Stephens headed wide from a right wing cross, and at the other end Matty Owen drew a good save from Mike Lewis who parried the ball to safety with a big left hand. Stuart Jones went close, seeing a header and a volley blocked but then disaster struck for the visitors with sixteen minutes left, as Matthew Hearsey finished a breakaway down the right flank by finding the net to surely kill off the game. However, Black and Greens are never beaten, and back came Aber. With ten minutes left a Sherbon ball in from the right wing was controlled and volleyed home contemptuously by Venables, and after seven more minutes of non stop pressure, Craig Williams' pinpoint right wing cross was deftly touched home by Stephens at the near post for a brilliant equaliser. It was all Aber now but Kellaway's lob was gathered by Dave Jones, and then his cross shot fell inches wide, and an amazingly entertaining game ended 3-3.
Aber's six games in the Championship Conference to date have produced 30 goals, and given unforgettable entertainment. Exciting as stirring comebacks can be, Ian Hughes and his players will be desperate to get back to winning ways next Sunday as they welcome nearest rivals Airbus UK Broughton, who lost 3-0 at Bala this afternoon, to Park Avenue for a titanic tussle. Kick off is at 1pm and after yesterday's thrills and spills the anticipation is building already.