Saturday 14th August
Aberystwyth Town 2 Barry Town 1
Matty Jones’ superb 90th minute goal, scored direct from a free kick, earned the Black and Greens a hugely positive result on their JD Cymru debut for 2021/22. Visitors Barry Town had taken the lead through Marcus Day, but Sam Phillips got Town back in it just before the break and after a proactive performance Aber were good value for the three points by the end.
A Saturday afternoon match at the height of holiday season brought clouds, rain and sunshine, a large crowd of 401 and a terrific atmosphere, in large part thanks to a sizeable Barry travelling support who sung from first minute till last. A number of Town’s young Academy players and their parents also guested in the crowd, and were intrigued to see the home debut of newly signed keeper Gregor Zabret, who was soon into action, pulling off a great save to his left to deny Nat Jarvis’ header. Despite the big match atmosphere there were few big chances early on, though Jack Rimmer and Matthew Jones were both putting searching balls into the visitors’ box. Rimmer it was who set up Phillips for Aber’s first chance, but he was denied by onetime Seasider Mike Lewis in Barry’s goal. Lewis then gathered Matty Jones’ corner just before Rhys Davies could nod in an opener, then down the other end a ball into the box broke for Marcus Day to score for Barry in the 23rd minute. Barry went on to enjoy plenty of possession, and Aber battled well to stay in there, with captain Jack Thorn not giving an inch in central midfield. The impressive Lewis had to save Barry for a third time when Jamie Veale’s free kick was recycled to Phillips at the back post, with Aber playing well and creating all the chances. Lee Jenkins headed wide from Veale’s corner, then finally justice was done a minute before the break when Matty Jones’ superb deep cross found Phillips at the back post, and he tapped home an equaliser which Aber more than deserved.
An even start to the second half preceded a couple of chances. Zabret gathered Luke Cooper’s header from a corner, then for Aber Harry Franklin snuck inside his defender and shot just wide from a narrow angle. A swift and exciting Aber breakaway lead to Matty Jones feeding Rimmer, with his shot tipped over by Lewis, and Lewis yet again denied Rhys Davies’ header from the resulting corner. Zabret gathered a lofted effort from Theo Wharton, and at the other end that man Lewis was at it again to tip Owain Jones’ effort wide. Luke Cummings then went close for Barry with an effort which swept past the near post, and with Clayton Green heading over for Barry, and Kayne McLaggon also denied by Zabret, the visitors were threatening a winner. Back once again came resilient Aber though, and once again their fitness brought a strong finish. Jon Owen strode through down the right and touched the ball under Lewis only to agonizingly wide, but then with 60 seconds left on the clock the outstanding Rimmer went on one final swashbuckling run down the right, and touched inside for Veale who was dumped on the floor. A tense Park Avenue held its’ breath with a free kick awarded in a promising position … and then up stepped Matty Jones to curl a consummate left footer into the right corner of the net, bringing scenes of delirium to Ceredigion! With the sun coming out to celebrate Aber’s goal, the hosts survived one final almighty goalmouth scramble in injury time, and when sub Jordan Cotterill fired wide the game was up, and Antonio Corbisiero’s men had a perfect start to 2021/22.
Having created the lion’s share of the chances the young Black and Greens will feel they fully deserved this win which bodes well for the forthcoming campaign, and having thrilled the home crowd at Park Avenue Corbisiero’s men now hit the road next weekend, with another toughie away to League Champions Connah’s Quay Nomads on Friday evening with a 7.45pm kick off. Can the Seasiders continue their perfect start? Stick with us to find out!