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Aber in seventh heaven

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ABERYSTWYTH Town put their supporters in seventh heaven on Saturday (Dec 16), delivering them a huge victory in their last home game before Christmas with a 7-1 triumph over Prestatyn Town.

First half goals from Ashley Young, John McKenna, Malcolm Melvin and Joe Phillips put Aber fully in charge, only for Noah Edwards to reduce the arrears with an obstinate strike seven minutes into the second half.

Stunning finishes from Ryan Wade and Declan Walker increased the margin, and after Chris Mullock had saved Jack Higgins’ late penalty, Craig Hobson made it seven with two minutes left to crown Aber’s best result of the season.

In what was a frantic first half, the visitors started the brightest as striker Jack Kenny saw his header well saved by Chris Mullock, before having a penalty appeal waved away by referee Lee Evans.

Aber were unable to find their usual rhythm and fluency in the early stages, as Prestatyn imposed their high-press game to great effect. On 15 minutes, Town created their first opportunity when Ashley Young’s corner kick was headed narrowly wide by Declan Walker.

Soon after, Walker again went close with a header from a set piece as Nev Powell’s men began to find their feet in the game.

On 31 minutes, Aber found the breakthrough when Ashley Young sent a rasping shot beyond the reach of Prestatyn goalkeeper Ryan Roberts and into the corner of the net, via the post, to make it 1-0.

The momentum of the game suddenly swung in Town’s favour, as Malcolm Melvin saw his effort sail narrowly over the crossbar before Craig Hobson was inches away from getting on the end of Ryan Wade’s inviting cross into the penalty area.

Aber began to boss the game, and on 41 minutes they doubled their lead when John Mckenna rose highest from a corner kick to head the ball low into the bottom corner and make it 2-0.

Aber weren’t finished there however; as on 43 minutes, Declan Walker surged down the right flank before lofting an inch perfect cross into the box where Malcolm Melvin was on hand to head the ball beyond Roberts and make it 3-0.

The visitors were evidently in shock after two sucker punches in quick succession, but no sooner had they caught their breath, Town were on the attack again. As the game entered first half stoppage time, Aber broke once more at breakneck speed as Ryan Wade played in Joe Phillips, who rounded the goalkeeper and produced an excellent left-footed finish to make it 4-0.

Soon after, the half time whistle went with Town in cruise control after what had been a difficult start to the game.

The second half started in similar fashion to the first; with the visitors dominating the opening stages and testing Aber’s resolute back line.

On 52 minutes, they were handed the smallest of lifelines as tricky midfielder Noah Edwards cut inside before unleashing a right-footed shot into the top corner to make it 4-1.

Soon after, Chris Mullock produced a smart save from Jack Kenny, before Damian Ketley went close as his shot was well blocked by Ryan Wollacott in the six-yard box. On 58 minutes, Luke Borrelli came on to replace Malcolm Melvin as Town looked to settle the game down again and stretch the visitors’ defence with some additional pace.

On 67 minutes, Aber well and truly put the game to bed with a fantastically worked goal. Declan Walker sent a 40-yard pass towards Ryan Wade, who brought the ball down with finesse, before lifting the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper with a magnificent chip to make it 5-1.

Geoff Kellaway was then introduced to the game in place of Joe Phillips, and he very nearly extended Town’s lead with his first touch as he sent a curling effort just over the crossbar.

But on 81 minutes, Town did indeed extend their lead as Ashley Young played a short free kick into the path of Declan Walker, who sent a thunderous shot beyond hapless goalkeeper Roberts to make it 6-1.

Despite the resounding score line, the visitors continued to press for a consolation goal, and they were awarded a golden opportunity late in the game as Jonny Spittle was adjudged to have fouled Alec Williams in the penalty area.

Substitute Jack Higgins stepped up to take the spot kick, but goalkeeper Chris Mullock dived low to his right and produced a fabulous save to preserve Aber’s lead.

As the game entered the closing minutes, the home side sent their supporters into seventh heaven as Geoff Kellaway crossed for Craig Hobson to nod home with a magnificent diving header; a goal that was thoroughly deserved for the striker after leading the line with another stellar performance.

One final positive note to come from the game was the JD Welsh Premier League debut of promising young defender Lee Jenkins, who came on to replace captain Jonny Spittle late on for Aber.

A fantastic victory for Nev Powell’s side, who move up to 10th place in the JD Welsh Premier League table.

More importantly, Aber now lie just five points behind sixth placed Cefn Druids as they maintain their hopes of grabbing a top 6 spot before the league split in January.

Town’s attentions now turn to Friday evening (Dec 22), when they travel to face current champions The New Saints in the JD Welsh Premier League.

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Sport

Swans still sweet on Premier League survival

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By Jonathan Twigg

SWANSEA’s clamber through the trials and tribulations of the Premier League can be compared to that of a child running amok in a sweet shop, so many tantalising favourites to devour, with the occasional reminder that not all sweets are sweet.

A retro walk down the Bridge Meadow Lane would have taken a child past the shop run by Connie Clarke, renowned for her welcome on the bell clanging. Supporters of Haverfordwest County and their opponents on match day, welcomed with few words but with the knowledge her confectionary delights never failed to deliver.

Following Saturday’s (Apr 14) 1-1 draw with Everton, who arrived without former Swans stars Ashley Williams and Gylfi Sigurdsson in their line-up, supporters left knowing the sweet taste of success held by the Premier League is still within their grasp.

With two of the bottom three to visit the Liberty in the final week of the season this point is one gained in search of extending their Premier League status to an eighth season, although manager Carlos Carvalhal nearly led his side to five consecutive home wins, something no other manager has done since the heady days of John Toshack in 1981.

Swansea welcomed Jordan Ayew back from a three game suspension to partner elder brother Andre as Bolton based referee Lee Mason began the game in front of 20,933, the returning brother setting the tone alongside Andy King at a sun drenched Liberty Stadium.

Carvalhal has worked some magic since his arrival on the cusp of Christmas, tactically leaving opposite number former England supremo Sam Allerdyce to venture to the touchline with his pocket ball side kick Sammy Lee to stem the tide; the blues were overrun in midfield, Jordan Ayew having a wonderful chance cleared off the line as was captain Frederico Fernadez header from the resultant corner, before Andre’s sight of goal was saved by England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

Alfie Mawson has grown to be imperial at the back for the Swans, attracting the interest of Manchester United, one of those mints that the longer you savour, the better it lingers. Luciano Narsingh however can be likened more to a quickly dissolving peppermint cream, releasing the taste with speed, rousing the Jack Army with an immediate hit, succulent whilst it lasts, inspiring the Swans to drive forward.

Former England captain Wayne Rooney had one of those games, like an aniseed ball, many unable to relish his taste as he left his mark, literally with some raking tackles; his class, undoubted, when it finally came to the fore.

An opening goal came with the aid of goal line technology, just before half time, Lucas Fabianski brilliantly making a double save from Bolasie, before a ricochet off Kyle Naughton and a half time lead, Fabianski thankfully however saving from Cenk Tosun a minute later.

Jordan became the first recipient of a yellow card in the second half, substitute Nathan Dyer creating a stir as the game went up by a level with a sugar surge, the vocal chords tingled with honey from a locket, in the form of striker Tammy Abraham’s arrival.

Full backs McNaughton and Martin Olsson created chances, Tom Carroll serving buckets of sweet balls, to no avail; Dyer driving forward over from twenty yards, Abraham and the Ayews creating half chances, Mawson’s header cleared off the line before the full quarter was served, Jordan levelling the game with a right foot half volley.

The final fifteen minutes rocked the stadium once more, after dinner mints were all Swansea’s, although Seamus Coleman thundered a shot against the woodwork, Abraham missed a gilt edged opportunity at the other end, whilst a tall and well positioned defensive wall directed Rooney’s set piece opportunity over the bar.

Extra strong mints were needed, alas unavailable as the toffees held firm, not fudging their lines with Beni Baningime taking a yellow card for the team, the games conclusion seeing a share of the spoils.

Carvalhal’s magic stars will have to be at their best to out fox and unwrap three points on Sunday (Apr 22) when opponents Manchester City will have champagne liquor chocolates on hand, having been crowned Premier League champions.

Swansea then have the opportunity to welcome Chelsea to ‘fortress’ Liberty the week after; wispa it quietly, as many have their eyes on the final weeks’ trio of games, starting with a trip to the South Coast in search of the bounty available at Dean Park, Bournemouth, before a starburst performance at home to Southampton on the Tuesday and Stoke City for a final day picnic. There can be no wine gums on show, just the everlasting gobstopper which is Premier League football.

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Sport

Street reserves reach cup semis

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BOW Street Reserves progressed to the semi-finals of The Len and Julia Newman Cup following a very competitive quarter final against a very good Bont team on Monday night (Apr 9).

A closely contested first half saw both sides create and miss chances but Ryan Evans and Shaun Jones converted two of the home side’s opportunities.

The second goal coming after a superb tackle by John James in his own area stopped a certain Bont equaliser.

Bont piled the pressure on at the beginning of the second half but were unable to convert any chances.

Then, the game’s outstanding player, Joe Williams scored a splendid individual goal to clinch the tie.

Osian Burrell then scored the fourth, before Bont responded with a consolation. Jac Williams with a header scored the final goal of an entertaining evening.

Manager Rhodri Jones was satisfied with the evening’s work adding: “I am delighted with the performance and the result and I feel that all the boys did extremely well against a good Bont side”.

Team: R Evans, Osian Rees Jones, J James, M Williams, S Dewdon, S Harrison, J Williams, R Evans, G ap Dafydd, S Jones, I Evans. Subs: O Burrell, J Quinn, Jac Williams, N Burrell.

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Sport

Borth well beaten

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WITH no sign of an improvement in the wet weather Borth entertained Llanrhaeadr at Park Avenue’s 3G pitch on Saturday (Mar 31), with the visitors arriving in second position in the league and well placed with five games in hand on Division 1 leaders Welshpool.

It took them only ten minutes to score the opening goal with Joe Vaughan netting through a crowded goalmouth and they nearly doubled the lead on twenty five minutes but Khyam Whytton’s bullet header bounced off the crossbar to safety.

To their credit Borth responded well and Ryan Edwards’s free kick wasn’t dealt with by the visitors hesitant defence and Dale Lloyd was on hand to score on his first team debut.

Slowly but surely Llanrhaeadr took control in the next few minutes with Mark Griffiths scoring twice plus an unlucky own goal by a Borth defender gave the visitors a handy 4-1 lead at the interval.

Borth resumed the second half with purpose and within five minutes reduced the lead as Dale Lloyds’s ferocious free kick was fumbled by visiting keeper Harri Matthews and the alert Ryan Edwards scored from the rebound.

However, in the next few minutes Llanrhaeadr took firm control of the match with Khyam Whytton scoring two headed goals.

As the match reached its conclusion Dan Graham scored a well-deserved hat trick for a comprehensive 9-2 win for Llanrhaeadr.

The score doesn’t complement Borth’s all-round team commitment against a well-organized Llanrhaeadr team, but the visitors run up play and clinical finishing proved to be the difference on the day.

Machynlleth picked up a victory on Saturday, Borth now slip to the bottom of the table on goal difference and they are ten points from safety.

With two home games coming up on Saturday (Apr 7) and the following Saturday (Apr 14) against the sides third and fourth from bottom respectively in Kerry and Churchstoke, Borth will be targeting two wins as they look to make up that gap.

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