Saturday 22nd August
MBi Llandudno 3 Aberystwyth Town 2
Two goals from the irrepressible Chris Venables, a header and a penalty, were not enough to prevent the Black and Greens falling to defeat in this season's opener at Llandudno, who held on for a narrow 3-2 win in the face of a late onslaught from the visitors.
Ian Hughes’ side kicked off the game sporting their new orange away strip, and they started the game fairly well. After an even start with some strong defending evident from Aber, stand in striker Luke Sherbon stung home keeper Dave Roberts’ paws with a superb volleyed strike, and from Ross Stephens’ corner, Venables headed home a thirteenth minute opener to give Town the perfect start to 2015/6. With Sherbon battling well up front and Darren Thomas menacing down the right Aber looked a threat, but Llandudno had a few chances too, with Alan Bull volleying over from a corner. Then however on 20 minutes Llandudno broke, Gareth Evans found space down the left flank and slipped the ball under the advancing Mike Lewis to equalise. An open and entertaining game ensued which the neutrals watching would have enjoyed: Bull’s free kick was safely gathered by Lewis, then at the other end Craig Williams’ superb curling set piece was touched onto the post by the redoubtable Roberts. Tom Dix and the impressive Mark Williams both had chances for Llandudno, who then somehow survived the most astonishing goalmouth scramble – and how crucial that survival proved to be as seconds later Williams turned in the box and scored on 43 minutes to send the hosts in ahead at half time.
The visitors saw more of the ball after the break, without creating too many chances of note, and then on 59 minutes came the definitive moment of the game when Williams did well down the right and played the ball in for Danny Hughes, who scored with an astonishing first time volley for 3-1. Now 16 year old Jack Rimmer came on for a composed first team debut in centre mid, and Aber really went for it, creating chance after chance. Stuart Jones had a header saved from a corner, and then with eighteen minutes to go Chris Venables was held in the area, and he picked himself up to dispatch the resultant penalty confidently for 3-2. Hughes for the home side fired wide from a good position, but then back down the other end Venables lobbed Roberts from inside his own half and the Liverpudlian netminder only just managed to tip the ball over the post to safety. Lee Surman scraped the crossbar with a header from a corner and it was starting to look like the equaliser must come. Venables flashed a shot wide and then brought yet another save from Roberts with a header, before Darren Thomas sent a shot over from the edge of the area. With the home side reduced to aiming for the far corners with their clearances, more pressure saw Sherbon head a Cledan Davies free kick wide, and that was that.
The televised game was a gripping encounter and a superb occasion and Llandudno deserve plaudits off the field, for attracting a superb crowd of 796, and on it for making more of their chances than Aber did on the day. However after a narrow defeat Ian Hughes men will not be needing any motivation for their first home game of the season on Friday night against Rhyl (ko 7.45pm).