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Aber keep up good home form

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ABERYSTWYTH Town maintained their excellent recent home form as they beat Llandudno 3-1 in an entertaining Friday night (Feb 9) JD Welsh Premier League clash at Park Avenue.

Goals from John Owen, Declan Walker and Craig Hobson secured Aber’s sixth win in eight home games in all competitions, despite Marc Williams’ second half strike threatening a comeback for the visitors. The victory sees Nev Powell’s side climb to within three points of ninth placed Llandudno, and to within just five points of seventh place in the JD Welsh Premier League Play Off Conference.

Aber manager Nev Powell made one change to the starting eleven that lost away at Barry Town last weekend, with Malcolm Melvin replacing Craig Rogers, resulting in Ashley Young dropping back to the centre back position.

On a freezing night at Park Avenue, Aber started like a team on fire. Within just five minutes, the hosts took a deserved lead as John Owen gathered a loose ball on the edge of the visitors’ penalty area, before making space for a low, right-footed shot that flew into the bottom corner of the net beyond the reach of goalkeeper Alex Lynch.

It was evident that the early goal had given Town a boost, as they pressed for a second goal with Malcolm Melvin seeing his tame effort easily collected by Lynch in goal. However, on 21 minutes the visitors were handed a golden opportunity to get back into the game as Tom Dix was fouled in the penalty area and awarded a penalty kick.

Sam Hart stepped up, but dragged his spot kick wide of Chris Mullock’s post – much to the relief of the home supporters. Soon after, drama ensued at the other end as Aber were awarded a penalty of their own, with Hart adjudged to have handled the ball in the penalty area. Declan Walker stepped up this time, and thumped home the spot kick into the top right hand corner to make it 2-0.

Declan Walker celebrates his goal

Aber began to take control of the game as they exerted continued pressure on the visitors back line, with Damien Allen and Melvin controlling the midfield expertly.

On 34 minutes, Ashley Young whipped a dangerous cross into the penalty area that was cleared in the nick of time by Llandudno defender Danny Shaw, as Aber saw out the first half comfortably to go into the break with a two goal lead.

Visitors Llandudno started the second half in much brighter fashion, evidently buoyed by the half time team talk of assistant manager Matty Williams.

On 48 minutes, with their first attack of the second half, they found a way back into the game as Danny Hughes played in Wes Baynes, who crossed for Marc Williams to convert at the near post and make it 2-1.

Suddenly the momentum of the game swung in favour of the visitors, as they began to commit more players forwards in search of an equaliser.

On 50 minutes, they very nearly found a second goal as Danny Shaw’s header clipped the crossbar, before Danny Hughes saw his brilliant half-volley sail inches wide of Chris Mullock’s far post.

Aber were hanging on to their slender advantage, as Ashley Young and Ryan Wollacott battled for every ball in the heart of the defence.

On 63 minutes, Craig Hobson was introduced for the hosts in place of Damien Allen, and Town almost immediately regained some control of the game thanks to a tactical switch from Aber’s management team.

Four minutes later, Hobson latched on to a brilliant pass by Melvin to race through on goal before being denied by an outstanding fingertip save from Alex Lynch.

Soon after, Aber’s number 9 was again in the thick of the action as he came close to converting after a goalmouth scramble, before seeing his back post header cannon off the base of the post and out for a goal kick. The visitors refused to go down without a fight, and on 84 minutes they again went close as Chris Mullock produced a brilliant save to deny Sam Hart.

As the game entered the final minutes, Town used all their game management nous to see out the win.

In stoppage time, the victory was duly sealed as John Owen scampered down the left wing before cutting into the penalty area and putting the ball on a silver platter for Hobson to bury his fourth goal of the season and make it 3-1.

Another fine victory at Park Avenue for Nev Powell’s side, who will be glad to get back to winning ways after last weekend’s away defeat at Jenner Park. With their eyes now firmly set on 7th place in the league table, Town will prepare for another tough home game against Prestatyn Town on Friday evening (Feb 16) 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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