Friday 24th August
Connah's Quay Nomads 2 Aberystwyth Town 1
Depleted Aber Town came within a whisker of a surprise point at Connah’s Quay last night, but John Danby’s 88th minute penalty save safeguarded the Deesiders’ 100% record. Goals from Michael Bakare (38 mins) and Michael Wilde (44 mins) appear to have won the game but then Danby saved Declan Walker’s penalty, and Wes Baynes smashed in another incredible right wing volley in the 90th minute to ensure a nervy finish for the hosts.
A daunting task awaited the Black and Greens, facing a side who had already swept aside Llanelli 7-0 and Champions TNS 1-0, and the task grew greater with the enforced absence of Centre Back Lee Jenkins, who was replaced by Jack Rimmer. Aber made a great start however and Rio Ahmadi had a goal disallowed for offside within the first minute. Wilde responded by sending a shot narrowly wide but then back at the other end Baynes saw a free kick cleared, and from the resulting corner Aber saw a scrambled effort squirt inches wide. The loyal visiting fans were in great song, and although George Horan headed over for Nomads, back came Aber again with Baynes again inches wide from a free kick. At the other end Matthew Jones and Jack Rimmer both pulled off great blocks to deny Bakare, and Terry McCormick denied Rob Hughes with a flying save, before Bakare opened the scoring with a sumptuous free kick. Six minutes of pressure later Hughes played in Wilde to double the lead under McCormick and the hosts had a two goal lead they barely deserved from a half in which Aber had played a full and commendable part.
The psychological blow of goal number two hit Aber in a second half which was a quieter affair. For Aber Ahmadi stumbled in a great position, then McCormick denied Wilde, and sub Andy Owens in turn. The Black and Greens were further depleted by the enforced substitution of poor Ryan Wollacott who had suffered a gash to the head, and lost a tooth for his troubles, but Town stayed in the game, and then suddenly with all three subs made for Connah’s Quay, Disney was carried off injured, and Aber sensed a fairytale ending against ten men. Walker saw a great shot parried, and then Ahmadi was felled in the box and Town were offered a lifeline from the spot. Danby however denied Walker, but there was still time for Baynes to crash home another astonishing Goal of the Month contender to put the game right back in the balance. Baynes earned a corner with an injury time free kick and Walker curled wide in a frantic ending, but Quay clung on to their three points and having run the ball into the corners at every opportunity were mightily relieved to hear the final whistle.
Despite losing this match Aber must be afforded great credit for running the League leaders closer than anyone else this season, and a good start and finish to the game will give them heart looking ahead to a busy week, as they visit Welshpool Town on Tuesday night in the League Cup before hosting Llanelli at Park Avenue on Friday. Both games kick off at 7.45pm – don’t miss the drama!