JD Cymru Premier
Friday 1st October
Aberystwyth Town put in a brave performance in Shropshire on Friday night but ultimately could not stop league leaders The New Saints from claiming their 6th victory in 7 games this season.
Antonio Corbisiero made a couple of changes to the team that beat Cefn Druids in the Welsh Cup last weekend, with Harry Franklin making his return from injury and Steff Davies coming in for his first start of the season, in place of Alex Darlington & Louis Bradford – who was unable to play against his parent club.
The absence of both Bradford and Lee Jenkins, who continues to recover from injury, meant that Jonathan Evans was deployed in an unfamiliar right-back position, with Jack Rimmer switching to centre-half. The Black & Greens lined up in a 4-3-3- formation, with Owain Jones and Raul Correia either side of Steff Davies in a front three, which matched their hosts set up.
Gregor Zabret, nominated for Cyrmu Premier Player of the Month this week, had an opportunity to show his undoubted quality early on, as he tipped Declan McManus’ shot wide on 4 minutes.
Not long after, the hosts were awarded a penalty for a foul on Ryan Brobbel, although much of the travelling Black & Green Army thought this was a harsh decision. McManus, who had already netted four times this season, made no mistake from the spot to give The Saints an early lead.
A couple of minutes later, there were strong appeals from the Aber contingent for a penalty of their own, as what looked like an identical foul at the other end went unpunished by referee Bryn Markham Jones.
The hosts then had a number of opportunities to double their lead, but Aber’s defence stood firm with Rhys Davies, Jack Thorn & Jack Rimmer making a number of important blocks. Ryan Brobbel hit the post and Jordan Williams & Leo Smith went close for The Saints, who were dominating possession, although Aber did show some good combination play in spells with Mathew Jones providing a threat down the left.
Just before half time, Aber’s resistance broke, and The New Saints doubled their lead with McManus tapping home his second goal of the evening from close range.
Antonio Corbisiero made a change at half time, with Sam Phillips replacing Owain Jones and although the lively McManus struck the post early on, the Seasiders started the second half brightly with the majority of play in The Saints half.
On 56 minutes, Mathew Jones showed some individual brilliance to dance his way past a number of Saints’ defenders, but his run was thwarted just before he could find a shooting opportunity. A couple of minutes later, the hard-working Steff Davies provided an excellent cross into the box, where he found Jonathan Evans who had burst forward from right back, but Evans shot failed to trouble Harrison in the Saints goal.
Gregor Zabret was then called into action again on 64 minutes to deny Ben Clark, but from the resulting corner Ryan Astles headed the Saints into a 3-0 lead, despite the efforts of Rhys Davies to head off the line and sealed the victory for the Oswestry side.
Another Aber penalty appeal was turned down on 78 minutes and whilst there was a scuffle involving players from both sides which saw both Harry Franklin and Paul Harrison booked, the rest of the match passed without major incident.
The New Saints remain top of the table, with their lead remaining at 4 points following Bala Town’s last gasp win over Flint Town United, whilst the Seasiders stay 10th in the live table, two points off the top six before Saturday’s fixtures.
Next up for Antonio Corbisiero’s side is a home tie with Caernarfon Town next Saturday, followed by a trip to The Rock to face Cefn Druids the following Wednesday (13th).
Despite the scoreline, there were plenty of positives for the Black & Green Army to take from this game, particularly the team’s bravery, excellent work rate and battling spirit. With qualities like these being shown in abundance already this season, the next win will not be far away!