Friday 25th March
Abeystwyth Town 3 Rhyl 1
Goals from Craig Williams (18 minutes), Ross Stephens (48 minutes) and Chris Venables (55 minutes) earned Aber a priceless victory over relegation haunted Rhyl at Park Avenue this evening, for whom Zac Corbett opened the scoring on 13 minutes. The win takes Town back up to the all important seventh spot at the top of the Play Off Conference, and with rivals Carmarthen losing at home to Port Talbot the Black and Greens know that wins in their final three games will guarantee them a UEFA Europa League Play Off Spot.
Aber went into the game knowing that a win was a must to retain hopes of a Seventh placed finish, while Rhyl needed a victory to retain even a theoretical chance of saving their WPL Status. Craig Williams returned to the starting eleven after an impressive cameo last week and the hosts were soon on the attack. Rhys Griffiths flicked on a header for Geoff Kellaway to fire over early on, and then Williams sent in a trademark free kick from which Venables glanced a header just wide. Then from their second attack Rhyl scored. A soft free kick on the edge of the area was fired in low by Rob Hughes, and Mike Lewis’ save fell perfectly for Zac Corbett to nod the ball home from close range. The response came immediately and within 5 minutes Aber were level, when they were awarded a penalty for handball. Venables’ effort was saved by Terry McCormick but Williams was first to the rebound to snaffle up a deserved equaliser. The hosts continued to attack with Kellaway setting up a great chance from the left, crossing for Venables who placed an effort agonizingly past the post. Williams then drew another save from McCormick before at the other end a superb goal saving tackle by Stuart Jones denied Corbett as he closed in on goal. Griffiths headed wide for Aber, and then at the other end the hosts survived a difficult injury time which culminated in Greg Stones hitting the bar from close range, and parity at half time was probably just about right.
An extremely entertaining game therefore went Aber’s way and the importance of the win was underlined by Carmarthen’s defeat, which means Town return to the top of the Play Off Conference on 40 points. Equally encouraging however was a very positive performance at home, and if the Black and Green can replicate that level over the next three games they can be confident of a UEFA Europa League Play Off place. The next chapter in this intriguing season comes in thirteen days when Haverfordwest County visit Park Avenue on Friday 8th April (ko 7.45pm).