Friday 15th November
The New Saints 2 Aberystwyth Town 0
A disciplined defensive performance from the Black and Greens restricted the JD Cymru Premier Champions to remarkably few chances at Park Hall last night, but the clinical Saints struck twice to gain the three points through Keston Davies, who opened the scoring on three minutes, and Ryan Brobbell who completed the goalscoring three minutes before the break.
Aber looked up against it from the start last night, after their ten goal mauling at Park Avenue earlier in the season. Bereft of Conor Roberts and Adam Hughes (both on loan from TNS), Alex Pennock and Stuart Jones came in to fill the gap, but Town were behind early on when a deep right wing cross rebounded kindly for Davies to tap home from a narrow angle. On a cold clear evening TNS dominated possession but Aber were taking an intelligent defensive shape which restricted the danger, and making attempts to break on occasions with some pleasing passing moves. Wes Baynes and Paulo Mendes sent in dangerous balls from the right but they were cleared. Dan Redmond had a shot blocked for the hosts but then back came Aber as Mathew Jones’ free kick dropped inches wide of the post. Redmond again failed to finish from a good position, and another free kick from Jones somehow evaded everyone in TNS’ box and flew behind to safety. Jon Routledge had a shot deflected over, then Josh Nembhard fired over but Pennock had barely had a save to make and Town were growing in confidence. Edmilson Vaz dispossessed his right back before bearing in on goal and firing into the side netting, and Lee Jenkins set up Ryan Edwards, but his shot was blocked in turn. Then just before the break Aber lost possession high up the pitch and the hosts broke down the middle, allowing Brobbell to round Pennock to double the lead, which was harsh on the balance of chances if not possession. Greg Draper tried a cheeky attempt from the touchline in injury time but Pennock reacted well to snaffle the ball and the half ended at 2-0.
The second half began following a similar pattern to the first, with Aber’s defensive shape and discipline demonstrating pride in their performance. Mendes headed wide from a Baynes corner, Joe Phillips bore down the left wing but his shot was saved. Brobell saw his brilliant 30 yard free kick crash off the crossbar, and Aber had a let off, but then sub Geoff Kellaway slid into the area and skidded a shot wide with Aber threatening an unlikely comeback. Draper brought a rare save from Pennock with a right wing cross and then the ball dropped nicely 30 yards out for Alex Boss, but his volley flew over the crossbar. Phillips set up Tom Price for another blocked attempt on goal, and then Boss played in Mendes down the right, and his powerful shot went just wide to ensure that the visitors would not score on the evening, and the hosts would win 2-0.
Despite the scoreline this was an excellent performance from Aber who restricted the Champions to a handful of chances, and resisted the temptation to hoof the ball forward, trying instead to break progressively. Sadly they were unable to convert from a number of chances last night and the clinical Champions won the game, but honour was definitely restored to the Black and Green cause at Park Hall and Aber retain their ninth place in the JD Cymru Premier. Next weekend is Semi Final Saturday as the Seasiders travel to Llanrumney, Cardiff to face STM Sports in the MG Nathaniel Cup Semi Final (ko 2.30pm). Unmissable!