Saturday 8th December
Cwmamman United 3 Aberystwyth Town 4
Aberystwyth Town secured their place in Monday's Fourth Round JD Welsh Cup draw as they battled to victory against a spirited Cwmmaman United side at Grenig Park on Saturday afternoon. Rio Ahmadi's (20) first half volley was cancelled out by James Bryan (37) as the sides went in level at the break, but a 13 minute second half hat-trick (47, 55, 61) from Ash Ruane put Aber in a commanding position, before the hosts pulled two goals (64, 90) back late on to give the Seasiders a scare in the final minutes.
Manager Nev Powell named an unchanged side from the one which drew 1-1 with Carmarthen last weekend, as Aber started the game on the front foot against their Welsh League opponents on a difficult playing surface. The first chance of the game fell to the visitors on 12 minutes as Ash Ruane rounded home 'keeper Chris Curtis before firing his shot wide from a narrow angle. Soon after, Declan Walker found space in the penalty area but was denied by a fantastic save from Curtis, as the Black and Greens upped the pressure. Then on 20 minutes, Town found the breakthrough as Mathew Jones whipped in a great cross for Rio Ahmadi who volleyed the ball into the roof of the net with a composed finish to make it 0-1. As the first half wore on, the visitors continued to stamp their authority on the game as Ryan Edwards went close after a neat one-two with Walker, before Ruane rounded 'keeper Curtis once more, only for his effort to be cleared off the goal line. Then, on 37 minutes the hosts equalised against the run of play after Terry McCormick produced a fine save from a corner kick, only for Cwmamman defender James Bryan to head the ball into the bottom corner on the rebound and make it 1-1. Aber very nearly went into half time with an advantage after Ryan Edwards curled an effort inches over the crossbar, but it was to remain level at the break.
Aber started the second half attacking their loyal supporters who'd positioned themselves on the grass bank above the goal at the far end of the ground, and were back in front just two minutes after the restart when Mathew Jones delivered another inch perfect cross towards Ruane whose flicked header beat Curtis and made it 1-2. Soon after, the Seasiders extended their lead as they began to really put their foot on the gas; Ruane found himself in behind the home defence and cut inside, before unleashing a powerful strike that Curtis was unable to keep out, as the ball trickled over the line for 1-3. The Aber target man wasn't done there though, as just six minutes later he completed a perfect hat-trick (header, right foot, left foot) when he pounced on a loose ball in the penalty area and struck a left footed effort into the top corner of the net to make it 1-4. To their credit, Cwmamman continued to battle and fight, and pulled a goal back on 64 minutes when Christian Allen found space in the penalty area and directed a powerful header beyond McCormick to make it 2-4. As playing conditions worsened, Aber continued to play in sensible fashion, turning the home defence with balls in behind for strike pair Ruane and Ahmadi to chase down. On 70 minutes, Jack Rimmer and Joe Phillips replaced Ryan Wollacott and Ahmadi, before Declan Walker almost added to his recent goal tally with a long range effort. The hosts continued to attack when they could, and Allen forced a fine save from McCormick on 85 minutes with a powerful strike inside the area, before right back Bryan ghosted in behind the Aber defence in the final minute of normal time and struck the ball beyond Aber's 'keeper to make it 3-4. Despite the scoreline, the Seasiders never panicked, and saw the four minutes of added time out without much difficulty, as they secured their sixth win in eight games and ensured their name will be in the hat for Monday's Fourth Round draw at 7p.m on S4C's Heno programme.
It was a professional performance from Neville Powell's side to secure victory, but credit must also go to hosts Cwmamman United, who never gave in and provided a tough battle right to the final minutes. Town's attentions now return to JD Welsh Premier League action, as they travel to face Caernarfon Town next Friday evening at The Oval hoping to take one step closer towards securing their place in the league's top six.
Photos courtesy of Colin Ewart