Saturday 20th February
Haverfordwest County 1 Aberystwyth Town 3
A predatory opening goal from Chris Venables and Jonathan Evans’ first two WPL goals in Black and Green earned Aber a third consecutive win at a soggy Conygar Bridge Meadow, Haverfordwest this afternoon. The victory extends Town’s spectacular start to the WPL’s final phase and takes them to the top of the Play Off Conference.
Despite heavy rain in the morning Haverfordwest’s pitch held up admirably and an unchanged Aber side made the perfect start when Geoff Kellaway did brilliantly to outpace his marker and surge down the right wing before crossing low for Venables to net at the back stick in only the third minute. Declan Carroll fired wide almost immediately for the Bluebirds, and then Evans had a claim to have been blocked by the last man, but in vain. Nevertheless Aber were looking confident and enjoying their football, passing the ball around and probing dangerously. Keeper Mike Lewis was called on to tip an effort over the bar from a Luke Borelli free kick, but then back came Aber to double their lead in the 22nd minute. Craig Williams’ corner down the right created a half chance for Evans, but when the Penrhyn poacher saw a second opportunity he jumped at the chance to lash the ball into the top corner with a deft left footed half volley: the sweet finish a deserved reward for a series of hard working and promising performances since Evans rejoined Aber in January. The second goal gave Aber some security and prefaced a quieter period in the game when the visitors conceded a number of free kicks in dangerous areas which Haverfordwest failed to capitalise on. Nicky Palmer was already offside when he sent in a shot for Lewis to save, and new signing Jason Bertorelli hit the crossbar from a superb opening, and the ball fell to safety. Bertorelli sent another shot just wide before the break but Aber had defended stoutly and been clinical enough going forward to deserve a half time lead.
The visitors were unfortunately caught napping two minutes into the second half when the ball fell for Greg Waters to lash home from the edge of the area, and halve the deficit. The Seasiders responded well though and re-took the initiative. Evans and Venables both had shots blocked, and with Aber’s Dafabet WPL Player of the Season imperious and pulling the strings in midfield, the visitors were soon back in charge. Then on 59 minutes Sion James’ low piledriver was parried by home keeper Craig Morris straight to Evans, who flicked the ball over him from close range, and the game was won. Williams nearly connected with an excellent cross from Antonio Corbisiero, Venables had another shot blocked for a corner before trying an impudent 35 yard lob which fell just past the post. Subs Jordan Follows tapped wide for Haverfordwest, before Tomas Wellington blasted over, then the final goal attempt of the game fell for Aber sub Ross Stephens, inevitably set up again by Venables, but his effort skewed just wide. Liam Jaques and debutant Nashawn Blake both came on for late sub appearances, and the game ended with a very satisfying 3-1 away win for Aber Town.
On a heavy pitch the Black and Greens did well to control this afternoon’s game for long periods, and though it was a professional rather than a spectacular performance overall, the outcome of the match was rarely in doubt, and Interim Manager Wyn Thomas and his Players deserve praise for three wins in a row and a good response to the disappointments of January. Aber’s next match at home to Carmarthen Town on Saturday (ko 5.15pm) is already something to look forward to!
Photo courtesy of Chris Howells