Friday 24th November
Aberystwyth Town 3-0 Newtown
Aberystwyth Town striker Craig Hobson netted a second half brace as Nev Powell's men ran out comfortable 3-0 victors against Newtown at Park Avenue on Friday evening. Aber opened the scoring on 30 minutes as John McKenna prodded home Matthew Jones' header back across goal, before Craig Hobson headed home Ryan Wade's cross on 52 minutes and then converted Joe Phillips' excellent pass to make it 3-0 on 72 minutes. The win lifts Town up to 10th place in the JD Welsh Premier League, and leaves them now just 5 points off a spot in the league's top 6.
Both sides struggled to get an early foothold in the game, as both defences looked solid with neither side able to create any clear-cut chances throughout the opening stages. Aber were dealt a blow on 13 minutes as captain Jonny Spittle was forced off with a groin injury, with young starlet Jack Rimmer coming on as his replacement. Twenty-five minutes passed without either goalkeeper having to make a notable save, but Aber began to up the tempo in search of the opening goal. On 30 minutes they were rewarded for their endeavour, as Ashley Young sent a corner kick towards the back post, where Matthew Jones rose highest to head back across goal for John McKenna to prod the ball into the net from five yards out and make it 1-0. Soon after, McKenna almost doubled his tally for the evening as he dragged Matthew Jones’ brilliant cross narrowly wide of the post. Newtown searched for a way back into the game, and on 38 minutes Nick Rushton saw his header comfortably saved by Chrs Mullock, before Kieran Mills-Evans headed over from a corner kick. As the half-time whistle approached and the hail came down, Aber had time for one more attack as midfield maestro Malcolm Melvin drove forward but saw his shot go narrowly over the crossbar, and it was to remain 1-0 at the break.
As the sleet and hail eased up, the second half started in much brighter fashion than the first, with Geoff Kellaway coming on as a substitute for the injured Jack Rimmer. Newtown upped the tempo as they searched for an equaliser, and Chris Mullock was called into action on 51 minutes after a dangerous low shot from Luke Boundford. However, on 52 minutes Aber doubled their lead with their first meaningful attack of the second half. Ryan Wade brought the ball down brilliantly on the right flank, before turning his marker inside-out and sending a delightful cross to the back post where Craig Hobson was on hand to hammer home a powerful header and make it 2-0. The Aber striker was evidently ecstatic as he sprinted towards the bench to celebrate with manager Nev Powell. The hosts suddenly had momentum as John McKenna again went close after Newtown goalie Dave Jones saved his downwards header. In a final throw of the dice, former Aber talisman Jamie Reed was introduced from the visitors’ bench to try and salvage a point, but Aber were defending resolutely and pressing Newtown players all over the park with speed and intensity.
On 72 minutes, Aber well and truly put the game to bed as Joe Phillips went on a weaving run down the left flank and put in a fantastic delivery for Hobson to convert at the front post and make it 3-0, much to the delight of the home supports who had braved the cold to come out and watch. Rather than sit back and defend their lead, Aber continued to attack with pace and played some wonderful passing football in the closing stages. On 77 minutes, Ryan Wade went close to getting the goal his performance deserved, as he fired a shot narrowly over the crossbar, before Hobson almost grabbed his hat-trick as he swivelled and shot into the side-netting. Newtown appeared to be well beaten, as the hosts continued to push forwards, with Wade again going close on 88 minutes as he pounced on an error by Ryan Sears and rounded the goalkeeper, only for the angle to become too tight for a shot. Rising star Harri Horwood replaced the excellent Joe Phillips on 89 minutes for his JD Welsh Premier League debut as Aber saw the game out to earn a vital three points.
Another excellent and balanced team performance from Nev Powell’s men, who climb to 10th place in the JD Welsh Premier League after last night’s victory. More importantly, Aber now lie just five points off a top 6 place as they enter their final run-in of seven league games before the league splits in January. Firstly, Town now turn their attention to next Saturday’s Welsh Cup clash with Bala Town at Park Avenue.