Friday 14th April
Aberystwyth Town 4 Rhyl 0
On the most vital night of the season Aberystwyth Town delivered in spades with a superb 4-0 win over Rhyl to ensure their place in the WPL next season, in front of a huge crowd of 735 at Park Avenue. A smashing strike from Luke Borelli on 24 minutes put Aber on their way, and two more goals from sub John Owen (64 mins) and Borrelli (66 mins) put Town on easy street before Owen tapped in his second seven minutes from time to put the icing on the cake.
Despite a wet evening a superb crowd turned up to cheer on the Black and Greens and they settled well, with a series of dangerous crosses being dispatched from the right wing by Borrelli and Dan Alfei, and Mark Jones heading wide from one of them. Phil Baker headed inches wide from Cledan Davies' corner and Jones went close twice more from Malcolm Melvin and Davies' deliveries with the Dias Stand baying for a goal. Mike Walsh fired over and then flashed a free kick past the Aber goal in a rare foray for Rhyl before their loyal singing supporters who were braving the rain, but back came Aber again as Jones released Geoff Kellaway down the middle and having bared down on goal his effort flashed just wide. Undeterred, the hard working Borreli won a corner down the left and received the ball from Melvin before smashing home a low volley from the left flank to relieve the nerves and put Town on the road to safety. With Sam Rodon and Pip Baker excellent in the air the visitors were reduced to long range efforts such as Steve Lewis' hopeful punt, and in fact the Hosts seemed to have doubled their lead when a nice move saw Melvin feed Kellaway down the left before the winger volleyed home decisively - but the linesman's flag said no. With the rain ceasing Aber enjoyed a let off when the livewire Toby Jones turned on a sixpence inside the area before crashing a volley off the post, but Town were certainly good value for their half time lead after an assured first 45 minutes.
The Black and Greens maintained their standards after the break with Borrelli again causing havoc and Ryan Wollacott seeing an attempt blocked. Aber's high press continued to disrupt Rhyl's attempts with Mark Jones leading the line well - and he nearly slipped Kellaway in again only for the pass to be blocked. Baker came off after a strong hour to be replaced by Jon Owen and the Gwynedd Goalgetter was soon into the action. He surged down the middle before combining with Jack Rimmer to create a good opening and then a mere five minutes after coming on he beat Sharples on the half way line before bearing down on Dan Lavercombe's goal and slotting a second under the keeper to bring joy and relief to the massed ranks of home supporters. Two minutes later Borrelli sneaked into the left flank to bury a third under Lavercombe and the party could start with a quarter of the game still remaining. Borrelli and Jones went close with further efforts before Rhyl sub Zyaac Edwards had a shot deflected for a corner. Some visiting supporters in the Dias Stand then disgraced themselves by throwing three flares onto the field, but Town would not be distracted from their task and Borrelli was so close to a huge hat trick when his dipping, curling volley whizzed past the far post. Then with seven minutes to go Kellaway broke down the right with pace and sent in a perfect cross which Owen converted from 5 yards to put the icing on the cake, and seal Aber's most significant win of the season. A mighty roar greeted the salvation confirmed by ref David Morgan's final whistle at 9.36pm and the team were cheered off the field.
All fourteen of the players were excellent last night and they will rightly be credited for an end of season boost in form which has guaranteed Aber's Dafabet WPL status for 2017/8. Assistant Manager Tony Pennock and Team Coach Wayne Jones have done a fantastic job to galvanise the squad over the past three games and they now have the opportunity to match last season's eighth placed finish with a win at Newtown in next Saturday's final game of the season. We are all looking forward to it!