Friday 1st April
Connah’s Quay Nomads 1 Aberystwyth Town 0
Aberystwyth Town were left cursing their luck last night at the Deeside Stadium when an extremely controversial penalty award gifted Connah’s Quay a win, with the Black and Greens’ gutsy performance deserving a point at least. On a night of few chances Callum Morris’ 71st minute penalty proved crucial, with Cameron Allen going within inches of snatching a draw at the death.
The visitors made a really positive start, having a lot of possession in and around Connah’s Quay’s area. Long throws from Ben Wynne and free kicks from Matty Jones and Jamie Veale threatened the hosts’ resolute back line, then Veale won the ball, found space and smashed a shot against the crossbar - a huge let off for Quay. Ben Wynne joyfully nutmegged Kris Owens down the right wing before finding Harry Franklin, whose effort was blocked, and Alex Darlington was inches away from picking out Franklin, but once again the defence held firm. Lee Jenkins then ghosted into a great position and his goalbound effort was desperately cleared off the line and Franklin appeared to be brought down in a great position in the box but alas no penalty came. Aber’s defence repelled some corners and long throws and Morris volleyed over the bar in injury time, but at the break Aber felt a little bit hard done by to be level, with keeper Gregor Zabret yet to make a save in goal.
The hosts finally made a game of it into the second half as the direct long balls, free kick and corner count notably increased. Declan Poole had a free kick blocked and Darlington cleared off the line to keep Aber in it. A dangerous cross from Paulo Mendes evaded everyone in the box, and super Louis Bradford headed a last gasp clearance over his own bar, then in a rare attack down the other end Ben Wynne went wide. Bradford then flicked on Veale’s free kick to bring keeper Oli Byrne back into action, but then disaster struck as Lee Jenkins’ challenge outside the area was astonishingly given as a penalty to Connah’s Quay, and Morris gave the hosts the lead. Aber responded well with Veale’s set piece delivery dangerous on a number of occasions, Mendes hit the side netting from the right wing and Franklin volleying an attempt at the back post over the bar. With injury time approaching Lee Jenkins surged down the right wing and sent in a cheeky cross to sub Cameron Allen, whose cheeky header flicked just over the bar – agonising! Quay saw out injury time by running the ball into the corners, and Antonio Corbisiero’s men were infuriated as the final whistle indicated a desperately underserved defeat on Deeside.
Aberystwyth Town fully played a part in this match, creating enough chances to feel they merited a point at least, but this was one of those nights when the stars seemed to be aligned against the Black and Greens, and they are certainly owed a bit of luck going into Tuesday evening’s match at Haverfordwest County (ko 7.45pm). Don’t go walking under any ladders!