Saturday 10th March
Newtown 0-1 Aberystwyth Town
Aberystwyth Town produced a textbook away performance to take home all three points in the mid-Wales derby at Latham Park on Saturday afternoon. Joe Phillips’ 61st minute goal was enough to see Aber to victory on an excellent afternoon for Nev Powell’s side; who managed to restrict the hosts to few half-chances whilst creating several golden opportunities on the counter attack, in a victory that sees them climb to within three points of the Robins in the JD Welsh Premier League.
Aber manager Nev Powell made two changes to the starting eleven that beat Carmarthen in the JD Welsh Cup on Tuesday evening, as Luke Borrelli and Craig Hobson replaced Declan Walker and Ryan Wade. New signing Kurt Sherlock also made his first appearance for the Seasiders, as he started on the substitutes bench alongside fellow newcomer Sam Kersh. The game started at a rather lethargic tempo, with both sides evidently feeling the effects of their Tuesday night exertions in the Welsh Cup, and the first attempt registered was not until the 15th minute when Ryan Kershaw lashed his volley wide of the mark. Both sides continued to struggle offensively as the first half wore on, with Craig Hobson’s penalty appeal the only excitement Aber’s travelling supporters had to shout about. But at the other end, makeshift right-back Luke Borrelli, along with Ashley Young, Ryan Wollacott and Matthew Jones were marshalling the defence superbly, giving the Robins minimal time and space to manoeuvre an opportunity. Luke Boundford appeared to be the hosts’ biggest threat in the opening 30 minutes, as his long throws reached the six-yard box, only to be headed clear by Aber’s colossal defenders. On 36 minutes came the half’s clearest opportunity, as Tom Owens pounced on a loose ball in the penalty area before seeing his goal-bound shot deflected inches wide of the post. From the resulting corner kick, another goalmouth scramble ensued, and Hobson somehow saw his poked effort blocked on the goal line. As the first half ended, Aber continued to defend in a structured and organised manner, and it became evident that the Robins were growing increasingly frustrated.
The second half began in much brighter fashion, as Aber immediately went on the attack, earning a succession of corners – from one of which Hobson tested Dave Jones in the Newtown goal with a tame effort. Soon after, the hosts had their best chance of the game as Neil Mitchell played in Luke Boundford, who slid his side-footed shot narrowly wide of Chris Mullock’s far post. Despite that lucky escape, the visitors began to look more and more threatening with the pace of John Owen and Joe Phillips causing mayhem in the hosts’ defence. On 52 minutes, Phillips found himself in on goal after Malcolm Melvin’s inch perfect pass, but his attempted lob was excellently saved by Jones in goal. But soon after, the starman playing on Aber’s right proved that his feet are indeed dynamite, as he cut inside from the left flank and unleashed a superb curling effort into the bottom corner to give Aber a precious 1-0 lead. Town’s supporters suddenly found their voices, as they urged their team on to victory once more. On 70 minutes, Newtown introduced Jay Denny and Ethan Jones in search of an equalising goal, but captain fantastic Ashley Young was kicking and heading everything away in admirable fashion for Nev Powell’s side as they began to batten down the hatches for the final 15 minutes. As Newtown pushed further forwards, Aber looked increasingly threatening on the break and John Owen could have doubled Town’s lead on 76 minutes as he closed in on goal before seeing his chipped attempt saved by Jones once more. The hosts continued to huff and puff without blowing Aber’s house down, and their half-hearted penalty appeal was waved away on 87 minutes as Chris Mullock produced a perfectly timed tackle in the penalty area to deny Ethan Jones a certain goal-scoring chance. New signing Sherlock was introduced in the closing stages in place of Hobson, who yet again worked tirelessly to lead the front line for the visitors, and the substitute very nearly got his debut goal as he raced through on goal before seeing his half volley drift wide of the post. As the game entered stoppage time, Aber defended like beavers with every single player putting their bodies on the line to produce a number of vital blocks and interceptions, and in the dying seconds Sherlock very nearly made it the perfect afternoon as his long-range effort dipped inches wide of Dave Jones’ post. From the resulting goal kick, the referee’s full-time whistle blew much to the relief of the joyous Aber players and supporters, who celebrated together at the end of the game, knowing that it was three massive points gained on the road for Nev Powell’s side.
With that victory, Aber have now extended their unbeaten run to five games in all competitions and have lost just once in their last nine games; six of those games being away from home. Manager Powell will also be delighted with the clean sheet his defence were able to protect, as Town now turn their attentions to their JD Welsh Premier League clash with Barry Town United at Park Avenue on March 24th.