Friday 18th March
Port Talbot Town 2 Aberystwyth Town 2
Two late, late goals from Black and Green Goal Machine Chris Venables rescued an unlikely point at Port Talbot this evening, which takes Aber back to the top of the Play Off Conference on goals scored.
This game which featured a remarkable ending was in truth unremarkable for most of the regulation 90 minutes. On a chilly night the hosts started stronger and looked more purposeful up front, with Luke Bowen a particularly lively presence for the Steelmen. Kostya Georgievsky drew a save from Mike Lewis from the right flank, though in response Aber's returning Rhys Griffiths sent a shot across the bows before Jonathan Evans tested Steve Cann in the home goal. Geoff Kellaway also saw a low left footer gathered by Cann, before at the other end Kurtis March burst through but blazed over from a good position. Talbot then took the lead from a free kick conceded, ironically by Aber's standout player on the night, Centre Back Lee Surman, when Bowen's 25th minute strike flew into the top right hand corner. Bowen then fired over and Martin Rose tapped wide from a good position, and although Venables flashed a free kick just past the post late on the visitors could have no complaints about Talbot's half time lead.
The hosts went on to dominate most of the second half too, creating enough chances to please their excellent signing supporters and put the game to bed. Rose and Bowen shot wide again, though in response Stuart Jones did go very close with a header from Ross Stephens' free kick. Chris Jones then turned and shot to bring another save from Mike Lewis in Aber's goal, before Rose spurned a gilt edged chance to win the game by missing the target after bearing in on goal. Jones forced Lewis into another save but then in the 90th minute when all hope seemed lost Aber sub Ryan Batley sent a long throw into the box which was nodded on by another sub, Craig Williams and Venables flicked home an equaliser with a cute header from close range. In the fifth minute of injury time Black and Green hearts were broken when Jones' free kick was punched clear by Lewis, but only as far as Port Talbot sub Paul Fowler, and he smashed home what looked certain to be the winner, but sixty seconds later Craig Williams lofted a free kick into the visitors box and up popped Venables again to touch home and get Aber out of jail again! The referee's whistle blew and the game ended at 2-2.
Fifteen goal Chris Venables is now only a single strike behind Tony Gray at the top of the WPL Goalscorers Chart, and despite what in all honesty has to be described as a disappointing overall performance, Aber's Players showed guts and determination to drag a result out of the fire not once but twice. With three of their remaining four games at home Aber should be confident that they can earn a seventh place finish, and the next instalment in their intriguing quest for a UEFA Europa League Play Off spot takes place next Friday evening, when Rhyl visit Park Avenue for a 7.45pm kick off.