Plucky Aber pick up draw at Prestatyn

Matty Collins netted his second goal for the club with a first half free-kick

ABERYSTWYTH Town continued their improved form with their best performance of the season at Bastion Gardens in Prestatyn, and were unlucky not to win.

Wyn Thomas, who netted in the previous game against Afan Lido failed a late fitness test which saw Gavin Cadwallader drop into defence. Declan Carroll was also on the bench for fitness reasons.

Within eight minutes of kick-off, the poor defending that has become typical of this season for Aberystwyth Town had cost them yet another goal, and they were lucky not to be down to ten men. A ball was played over the top of the defence, which saw ex-Aberystwyth player Andy Parkinson race towards the ball with Cadwallader chasing after him. Cadwallader went to head the ball back towards James Wood, but instead clattered into the Aberystwyth goalkeeper, Parkinson, who picked up on the loose ball and looked to slot it away but was fouled by Sion James as he looked to do so, with the referee duly awarding the penalty.

Ross Stephens, another former Aberystwyth player took the penalty and beat Wood with ease giving the north Walian side the lead.

Only then did Aber have decent possession, and looked to test Jon Hill-Dunt in the Prestatyn goal, but the Seasiders then suffered a blow when Bari Morgan was substituted after picking up an injury, with Carroll replacing him. Carroll had an instant impact.

He was challenged for a high ball 25 yards from goal, but was fouled in the air and won the free-kick. Matty Collins (Pictured) stepped up and curled the ball over the wall and into the net, with Hill-Dunt getting a hand to the shot but not being able to keep it out.

Jordan Follows then went close after he was laid off by Glyndwr Hughes as he curled a shot in from roughly the same place as Collins’ free-kick, which hit the far post with Hill-Dunt left standing. Aberystwyth were left to rue the chance as Prestatyn took the lead again in first-half stoppage time.

The Prestatyn player-manager Neil Gibson hit a chipped ball toward towards Gareth Wilson, which wasn’t dealt with by James or Cadwallader, giving Wilson the opportunity to hammer past Wood and give Prestatyn a half-time lead.

The second half started in much the same way as the first with a massive chance for Prestatyn to seal the game. Collins sent a weak pass backwards towards Wood. Parkinson again was alert and pounced on the loose ball, with Wood blocking him off, but the ball fell to Jason Price who, presented with an open goal, sent a shot goalwards- but Aberystwyth captain Stuart Jones cleared the weak attempt. From then on, Aberystwyth were on top and were unlucky not to win.

 Josh MacAuley, who played his best game of the season, was a constant threat on the right with his erratic crossing. Carroll changed the game with his introduction and Follows showed plenty of endeavor and was unlucky not to get a goal. It was MacAuley who gave Aber their first major chance of the half as he drilled a low cross in towards Hughes who hit a firm shot at goal which was blocked by the outstretched leg of Hill-Dunt and kept Prestatyn’s lead intact.

Hughes was a constant thorn in the side of the Prestatyn defence, and his movement was exemplary and typical of a player with his experience. He should have won a penalty when the ball bounced in the area and he hit a volley that flew towards goal but was blocked by the arms of Greg Stones in full view of the linesman who didn’t give the penalty as he should have.

Local youth player, Rhydian Davies, introduced for Cledan Davies at half time was unlucky not to be able to divert a shot into the net as the ball flashed across the face of goal. Captain Stuart Jones also had a header from a Collins corner cleared off the line.

In this second half, Aber gave their best performance of the season as their pressure was constant and effective, Prestatyn were living dangerously and this was shown on the 75th minute.

Matty Collins had a free-kick on the right hand side of the Prestatyn half, and he floated it in towards the far post, Hughes rose above his marker, heading the ball back across goal. It flew past Hill-Dunt into the top-right corner of the goal, a dramatic and deserved equaliser for Aberystwyth Town.

The danger wasn’t over for the Seasiders though, as Aber threw men forward, Gibson broke with the ball for Prestatyn and a nasty tackle which earned Cadwallader a yellow-card saw tempers flare between the two sides. The free-kick from the edge of the area, bounced off Aber’s seven man wall and away to safety.

Cadwallader, another player who had a much improved performance in this game, had a volley go within a hairs-width of the goal late on to worry Prestatyn hearts. The draw sent Prestatyn to the top of the table as TNS, who Aberystwyth entertain on Friday night at Park Avenue, lost 1-0 to Newtown. The result also lifted Aberystwyth out of the relegation zone and into 9th position.

In University sport news, due to the torrential rain that Aberystwyth suffered on Saturday morning. Aberystwyth University F.C (Mens) game against Welshpool at Vicarage Fields was postponed.