Friday 17th December
Caernarfon Town 3 Aberystwyth Town 3
Aber Town took a valuable point home from Gwynedd last night after a thriller of a game in which they were two nil down and three two up before being finally pegged back by the Cofis. Early goals for Steve Evans (11 mins) and Iwan Cartwright (25 minutes) put the hosts in the box seat but Harry Franklin sparked a spirited recovery with a brilliant solo effort (29 mins). Two second half penalties from Matty Jones (59 and 62 mins) turned the game on its head but then Dan Gossett squared things for the final time on 67 minutes.
The Black and Greens were depleted by the loss of Jamie Veale (suspension), Raul Correia and Owain Jones (injury) and the unavailability of Jon Owen and Lee Jenkins and early on looked vulnerable. Gregor Zabret tipped a free header over the bar for a corner, but from Rob Hughes’ ball in Evans smashed home from the edge of the area with aplomb to open the scoring. The visitors tried to respond and the returning Steff Davies up front had an effort blocked, but the Cofis were still coming and Jack Rimmer and Rhys Davies had to put in some important challenges to keep Town in it. Zabret tipped another headed attempt from Darren Thomas over the bar, then at the other end Davies sent two more efforts past the far post. When Cartwright nodded home another Hughes corner it looked like the game could be all over but credit to Aber who came back strongly in the latter stages of the half, and Man of the Match Franklin was the key. He was gifted the ball by Evans on the half way line, and ran at the defence, dinking past defenders until he found space to send a low shot into the far corner for a super solo strike which gave Aber huge hope of a recovery. Alex Darlington had an effort cleared off the line after a nice move, overlapping Owen Orford had a shot blocked at the near post and Franklin had another shot blocked before half time, with the travelling support cheered by a strong finish to the first half.
The hosts started the second half well and Hughes had an effort blocked early on, before Dion Donohue sent a superb free kick towards the top corner, only for Zabret to brilliantly touch the ball onto the post, and from the rebound Mike Hayes blasted over from close range for a real let off for the visitors. Zabret came out well soon after to thwart another Caernarfon attack, and then on came Aber, pressing from the front, a tactic which paid dividends when Sam Phillips dispossessed Jakub Ojrzynski in the box and was hauled down for a penalty, which Jones swept into the corner of the net without a second thought. Three minutes later Jones had a goalbound attempt from midfield deflected for a corner, then incredibly the unfortunate Ojrzynki repeated his trick by felling Darlington to concede another penalty. The ever reliable Jones scored again and the game had swung within the blink of an eye. However it was apparent that Caernarfon do not like losing at home and back they came with aplomb. Hayes overlapped and sent an effort wide, and then a right wing cross picked out Gossett who found the net with a superb bullet volley from distance, and still a quarter of this stunning game remained! Franklin’s trickery was winning free kick after free kick for the visitors, and Davies had another shot cleared, Aber saw another attempt cleared off the line, while at the other end Davies and Rimmer again were needed for crucial challenges. Franklin fed Phillips who laid the ball off to Jones, whose low volley was saved and in an end to end game Gossett blasted over from distance. Sub Jonathan Evans was next to see a shot agonisingly cleared off the line, Davies glanced wide from a corner, Louis Bradford had a header saved and Evans nearly sneaked in at the death, but Caernarfon held on, and honour was satisfied at the final whistle with a 3-3 draw. Aber’s loyal travelling support saluted their players at the end which showed this was a job well done.
This was a crazy breath-taking game which swung this way and that. Having finished strongly Aber could feel slightly aggrieved not to have won but honestly on the balance of chances and play over the ninety minutes the draw was probably a fair result. Considering their absentees and poor start to the game Manager Antonio Corbisiero must be pleased with a creditable result away from home which sets the Black and Greens up nicely for the Christmas double header against Haverfordwest County. See you on Boxing Day!