Counter-Attacking Class Quay to Success

ABERYSTWYTH Town secured a vital victory over GAP Connah’s Quay and surged up the table in their quest to grab a place in the top-six of the Welsh Premier league, in front of a bumper crowd of 538.

Declan Carroll and Rhydian Davies were the two changes to the side that beat Port Talbot, in place of Josh MacAuley who missed the game due to injury and Adam Worton who dropped to the bench. Facing them were Ricky Evans, who played for Aberystwyth Town for three seasons in two spells. Also facing the Aberystwyth defence were Jamie Petrie and Rhys Healey, who have scored eighteen goals between them this season.

Wyn Thomas sets up another attack in a virtuoso performance for Aberystwyth Town. Photo by Joseph Landers.

The visitors dominated the first half, and should have taken the lead early on through Alan Hooley. The ball broke to the Connah’s Quay left back, Hooley, who, with only Mike Lewis to beat and only 12 yards from goal, hit a wild left foot strike which missed the goal by a considerable way. This was a chance that they were left rueing come the final whistle.

Aber then suffered a massive blow, with experienced hitman Glyndwr Hughes going off with a hamstring injury in the early stages of the game.

Healey, in his first season in the Welsh Premer league, was a constant thorn in the side of the defensive pairing of Sion James and Wyn Thomas, with his movement making a mockery of the high line coupled with a poor attempt at an offside trap played by both of the experienced defenders. Thankfully, Healey didn’t take advantage of it.

Wyn Thomas threatened John Rushton’s goal halfway through the first half with a hammer of a free kick that went wide of the left post.

Ricky Evans also caused trouble for Aber, with his physical presence often creating openings for the Nomads, but they couldn’t capitalise, especially with the ball starting to get stuck in the ground due to the torrents of rain that were falling throughout the game.

Aber then took the lead with mere seconds of the first half remaining. A 30 yard run by Cledan Davies took the ball forward and across the field from the left wing to the right, hitting a shot which was deflected for a corner. Matty Collins then stepped up, floating a cross which evaded the heads of those in the area. Cledan Davies then drilled the ball back towards goal from the edge of the area, taking a deflection and giving Aber a half-time lead.

The second half saw the tables turned with Aber’s counter-attack tactic used to a devastating effect upon Connah’s Quay. Carroll, Rhydian Davies and Jordan Follows all exploited the lack of defenders the Nomads were leaving behind, and this led to the second goal only five minutes into the second half. The ball was crossed in from Cledan Davies, skidding and spinning, although it looked sure that John Rushton would be the victor. The Connah’s Quay goalkeeper failed to claim the ball, with it bouncing out, Carroll getting a touch, and Rushton flapped at the ball again, before cool heads prevailed and Jordan Follows scored a simple finish.

Aber then attacked at will, with chances for Rhydian Davies after superb skill by Carroll saw a chance scuffed wide. Carroll did grab a deserved goal of his own after a fantastic game for the ex-Tenby winger. Follows received the ball on the left, beat the full back and squeezed the ball back across goal, with Carroll hitting a finish with the outside of the boot to seal Aber’s victory.

However, there was a late scare for the home team. Robert Jones’ run into the area was felled by Sion James and a penalty was awarded by the referee. Jones stepped up and Lewis produced a superb save to his left, punching the ball clear and preserving Aber’s third clean sheet of the season.

Aberystwyth are now only three points away from both 5th and 6th position, and face troubled Llanelli next in the league. A victory could put them in contention for the top-six and the prestigious European football that comes with it.