Saturday 16th January (ko 5.15pm)
Aberystwyth Town v Newtown
Aberystwyth Town must earn a two goal win at home to Newtown on Saturday to have any realistic chance of making the Top Six this season. The permutations are many but Ian Hughes' men have control over their own performances, and that is the bottom line for the Black and Greens this weekend.
A two goal victory would guarantee that Aber finish above Newtown. The sides would be level on points and goal difference, but Aber would have scored more goals than their Mid Wales rivals, which would secure supremacy for the Ceredigion side.
To make the Top Six, Aber would then also require two other results to go their way:
- Carmarthen to draw or lose at home to Rhyl
- Bangor not to improve on Aber's scoreline, or goals scored tally (so a 2-0 win for Aber and a 3-0 win for Bangor would see the Citizens finish above the Seasiders)
Given this scenario, Ian Hughes' men must start the afternoon as outsiders, and with Newtown realistically only needing a draw to progress they travel to Park Avenue as huge favourites to progress.
However the group of players currently wearing the Black and Green shirts have shown time and time again over the past two and a half years that they can win, and win well, when they really need to, and on Saturday evening, they do need that result.
Manager Ian Hughes will be hoping that Central Midfielder Luke Sherbon is fit enough to return to the squad, though Ross Stephens' hamstring problem may rule him out against his former club. New signing from Penrhyncoch Jonathan Evans made an encouraging debut on Sunday, creating chance after chance and hitting the post, so he staked a good claim for another start this Saturday.
Newtown have gone from strength to strength since beating Aberystwyth in the Play Off Final almost eight months ago to the day, but Aber can take heart from the fact that last year the Robins themselves only made the Top Six in the 94th minute of their last pre split game, with an injury time winner at Connah's Quay. It's not how you start, it's how you finish!
Aberystwyth Town's supporters have a crucial role to play as a positive, supportive and vocal crowd can have a huge influence on results at Park Avenue in tight games, especially under the floodlights, so a large and boisterous crowd is expected on Saturday evening.
Kick off is at 5.15pm, and admission costs £6 for Adults, £4 Concessions and £1 for Schoolchildren. The scene is set for an "I was there" Football Experience. Don't tell your friends you missed out on it!