Nathaniel MG Cup First Round
Penrhyncoch 1 Aberystwyth Town 2
A powerful header from left back Ryan Wollacott (below, left), allied to a superb 35 yard strike from Chris Jones earned the Black and Greens victory in an extremely tight game last night at Cae Baker, in front of a bumper crowd of 415.
The first competitive match between these two rivals since 1989 kicked off on a warm sunny evening with both sides depleted by injuries: nevertheless after a tentative start the first half developed into a tense and enthralling battle. Daf Carruthers was first to get a shot on target for the hosts, but then Aber’s Chris Jones, the stand out player on the night, unleashed a spectacular 35 yard goalbound effort which found the net with a slight deflection from Jon Foligno, and the visitors had a tenth minute lead. Despite the lead Aber struggled to find a rhythm in the game with the final ball often going astray, and Carruthers got another shot in which Dom Richards smothered comfortably. Penrhyn threatened from set pieces but Sam Rodon and Will Bell were standing firm at centre back. Gareth Mansell sent a quick free kick inches wide of the post, while at the other end Jones saw a flicked header sail wide. Then on 27 minutes the hosts gained a deserved equaliser when livewire Elian Evans went on a buccaneering foray into Aber’s box before being felled for a penalty, and Mark Gornall did the honours. Liam Doherty threatened a lead for the homesters but Richards was again in the right place, and then back came Aber with Kostya Georgievsky testing Lee Jenkins with a grass cutter, and Will Bell seeing a long range volley deflected for a corner, which was well defended by Penrhyn. So a close first half ended with the hosts possibly marginally ahead on points, but the scores at 1-1.
Playing up the slope in the second half Aber enjoyed more of the possession, with the Roosters sitting deep and looking to hit out on the break, yet inspiration was still lacking for Town. Georgievsky saw a shot blocked and then the dangerous Carruthers played in Aaron Lemon through the middle but Richards was out well to snaffle out the threat. Chances were few and far between and so Matthew Bishop brought on Blake Davies and Geoff Kellaway to make an impact – and they did. Kellaway’s pace gave Aber another threat down the right, although it was Kurtis March who unleashed another stinging 35 yarder from central midfield which Lee Jenkins had to dramatically tip over. Then on 71 minutes Chris Jones went on yet another thrilling weaving run before curling a peach of a cross into the box, and Ryan Wollacott headed home powerfully for an unassailable lead. Blake Davies held the ball up before turning and shooting just wide, and Jones sent another effort past the post as Aber looked to make things safe. Penrhyn were never likely to lie down however, and sub Dylan James tested Richards again with a free kick, before an injury time set piece saw the Aber goalie in the right place yet again to deny home keeper Lee Jenkins who had cantered forward for a last hurrah. Jonathan Evans set up Kellaway for a snap shot which fizzed over, and the game was done.
The appropriate adage for last night would be something along the lines of a derby being all about the result rather than the performance, and although Aber never reached the heights last night, after a difficult week two moments of quality were enough to gain a win which was sweet indeed. Penrhyn deserve great credit for playing their part in an engrossing Cup tie, while Aber look forward to this afternoon’s Nathaniel MG Cup Second Round draw, and Saturday’s home/away Dafabet WPL game at Newtown, against Carmarthen Town.