Saturday 31st December
Newtown 2 Aberystwyth Town 2
Joe Clarke's 93rd minute equaliser at Newtown yesterday gained the Black and Greens a crucial point which keeps their Dafabet WPL destiny in their own hands. Clarke had opened the scoring for Aber with a tremendously hit volley on 41 minutes, but back came Newtown after the break with Neil Mitchell and Luke Boundford both netting for the Robins. The points seemed set to stay with the hosts until Clarke unleashed another volley in injury time and gain a result which means that if Aber win their last two matches before the split, at home to Cefn Druids and Cardiff Met, they will make the elite of the Top Six.
A crucial afternoon for the Black and Greens started with a somewhat low key start if truth be told. Newtown looked the more threatening in the early stages with Steff Edwards overlapping well to create a headed chance for Boundford which Mullock saved comfortably. Aber responded as Luke Borrelli brought a save out of Dave Jones at his near post. Clear cut chances were few and far between with Kurtis March and Craig Williams both missing the target. Luke Sherbon then brought a save from Jones with a strong header from Chris Jones’ corner, then Mullock made a brilliant save low down to deny Neil Mitchell. Kostya Georgievsky was denied by a last minute challenge but then four minutes before the break the ball dropped perfectly for Clarke to score with a rasping volley and Aber ended the first half a goal to the good.
Newtown started the second half well and Ryan Wollacott had to head Williams’ free kick back to safety and his own keeper. Then on 52 minutes the Robins were level as Williams’ corner was headed home by the unchallenged Neil Mitchell. Ryan Kershaw his the crossbar and although Georgievsky almost scored after a great move involving surging sub Jack Rimmer and March, the hosts were on top. This was underlined on 61 minutes when Kershaw crossed from the right to Luke Boundford who smashed the ball high into the net for the lead. With Aber looking despondent their Top Six hopes were hanging by a thread but credit the Black and Greens for an onslaught on Newtown’s goal in the final quarter which finally paid dividend. Home defender Andy Jones headed March’s goalbound effort over, Borrelli’s shot was parried to safety and Dave Jones tipped over Wollacott’s headed – agonising! Defender Sam Rodon headed wide and was then sent forward to add some arial power to Aber’s attack. Wollacott fired wide from Georgievsky’s left wing cross and Cledan Davies sent a free kick just wide as the incessant pressure continued. When Borrelli’s shot was blocked deep into injury time all hope seemed lost but then Cledan Davies sent in a last gasp cross which Rodon knocked on for Clarke to smash home a decisive volley, with visiting fans rejoicing a draw which felt like a win.
The resilence and determination shown by Aber today bodes well for their final two games before the split at home to Cefn Druids this Saturday (ko 1.30pm) and Cardiff Met on January 14th (ko 5.15pm). Two wins would seal a truly remarkable achievement for Matthew Bishop and his squad.