ABERYSTWYTH Town battled to a valuable away point against Carmarthen Town at Richmond Park on Sunday afternoon, in a thrilling finale that saw the hosts score two stoppage time goals to keep their slim survival hopes alive.
Declan Walker appeared to have stolen the show with a brilliant hat-trick for Nev Powell’s side, but late goals from Dwayne Coultress and Lee Surman saw the Old Gold snatch a point deep into stoppage time.
Aber manager Nev Powell named an unchanged side after last weekend’s draw with Prestatyn Town, and his team started brightly on a freezing afternoon at Richmond Park.
Aber’s first half-chance of the game came after just seven minutes as John Owen played in Declan Walker down the right flank, but the full back’s whipped cross landed safely in the arms of home goalie Lewis Thomas.
Soon after though, Aber did find the breakthrough as Walker stepped up and drilled a low free kick through Carmarthen’s wall and into the back of the net to make it 1-0.
The visitors grew into the game, and on 19 minutes almost extended their lead as Joe Phillips saw his effort blocked inside the penalty area before Damien Allen headed over with the follow up.
However, as the half wore on, Carmarthen began to find their feet and on 26 minutes, Chris Mullock had to be alert to save Luke Bowen’s goal bound effort.
But on 28 minutes, the hosts were level, as Luke Bowen rose highest inside the penalty area to head home Keiran Lewis’ in-swinging free kick to make it 1-1.
Aber did not let that setback knock their confidence, and continued to create chances as first John Owen and then Malcolm Melvin saw their efforts sail narrowly wide of the post.
The first half came to a close with the teams still at level pegging, but with both attacks looking threatening at either end.
The second half started with Aber playing on the front foot, and just three minutes into the second half they were awarded a golden opportunity to go back in front as Declan Walker was tripped inside the penalty area.
Aber’s full back duly stepped up and hammered home the spot kick to regain the seasiders’ lead and make it 2-1.
Town suddenly looked to be in the driving seat again, with the hosts struggling to adapt to the increase in tempo shown by Nev Powell’s side.
Whilst Aber looked a threat in possession, the hosts looked dangerous themselves on the counter attack, and on 62 minutes they very nearly found an equaliser as Mullock produced a fantastic instinctive save to deny Keiran Lewis.
Soon after, Aber were back on the attack as Damien Allen stole possession in midfield before playing in John Owen, who squared the ball for Declan Walker to finish superbly into the bottom corner and grab his hat-trick to make it 3-1.
Aber were in dreamland, and were being roared on to what looked like a sure-fire three points by their loyal supporters.
The hosts, to their credit, continued to battle for their Welsh Premier League lives, and forced another outstanding save from Mullock on 79 minutes as he tipped Mark Jones’ effort on to the crossbar.
Substitutes Geoff Kellaway and Luke Borrelli were introduced for Aber in place of Malcolm Melvin and Ryan Wade as they looked to see out the victory. However, as the game entered stoppage time, Carmarthen began to pile bodies forwards in search of a late consolation goal.
In the third of four additional minutes, they found their late goal as Dwayne Coultress pounced on some loose Aber defending to tap the ball into the net and make it 3-2.
Then, as the game entered the final minute of additional time, Keiran Lewis hooked a looping ball into the Aber penalty area, where the ball ricocheted to Lee Surman who half-volleyed into the bottom corner to make it 3-3.
The action wasn’t finished there, as the hosts launched one final ball into the Aber penalty area in the sixth minute of what was scheduled to be four additional minutes; and the ball fell to Luke Bowen, whose shot was somehow saved by Mullock on the goal line before bouncing off Mark Jones and over the crossbar, and Aber escaped with a point.
A frantic finale to a game that Aber had controlled for long periods, and manager Nev Powell will be extremely frustrated at the way his side conceded two stoppage time goals to surrender two points.
However, Aber’s manager will also have many positives to take into next Saturday’s JD Welsh Cup Quarter Final tie against this afternoon’s opponents Carmarthen Town, back at Richmond Park.
Swans grab last gasp play-off spot
WAYNE ROUTLEDGE’s last-gasp header saw Swansea City secure a play-off spot with a handsome away victory over 10-man Reading on a dramatic Wednesday night (July 22).
Steve Cooper’s side knew they had to win at the Madejski Stadium to have any hope of a top-six finish, and Rhian Brewster’s 10th goal of the season gave them an ideal start.
The sending off of Yakou Meite then gave the Swans a man advantage, but the Royals equalised before the half through a George Puscas penalty.
The Swans restored their lead through a classy finish from substitute Routledge, before Liam Cullen showed great composure to steer in his first goal for the club.
And when Routledge popped up at the death to complete his brace it put the Swans into the top six as Forest suffered a 4-1 defeat at home to Stoke, meaning Swansea got into the play-offs on goal difference.
The Swans started on the front foot, with centurion Connor Roberts having particular joy down the right-hand flank.
Brewster then nearly threaded Conor Gallagher in on goal after fine work by Andre Ayew, before Roberts hit a strike into the ground and over the bar after Jake Bidwell had made the overlap on the opposite flank.
The hosts responded by having a good spell of possession, probing and asking a few questions of their own.
But the visitors hit the lead in the 16th minute through Brewster. The striker picked the ball up some 30 yards out and got the ball out of his feet before smashing a long-range drive that completely deceived Rafael in the Reading goal.
John Swift curled a free-kick over at the other end, while more good work by Roberts could not quite end with Bidwell getting on the end of a deep cross before Rafael made a hash of dealing with a Gallagher cross.
Swift headed straight at Erwin Mulder from a good counter on the half-hour mark, with Ayew quickly advancing up the field to work Rafael again.
Opportunities were coming at both ends, with Mulder called into action again as Meite took aim from the left side of the area.
Swansea were riding their luck a little and had a let-off when a sliced clearance landed on top of the bar.
Matt Grimes had a free-kick pushed away by Rafael before the home side were reduced to 10 men after Meite had pushed Mike van der Hoorn in the face after a tussle for the ball.
But the hosts made light of the numerical disadvantage by levelling after Bidwell was adjudged to have fouled Andy Rinomhota, with Puscas beating Mulder – who got a hand to the strike – from the spot.
However, the Swans should have led at the break. Ben Cabango’s shot was blocked and fell to Jay Fulton, but the Scot pulled his shot wide of the target.
Rafael pushed away an Ayew drive right on half-time, with Swansea frustrated that referee Stephen Martin did not award them a penalty of their own as Fulton went down under a challenge from Omar Richards.
With Cardiff winning and Nottingham Forest losing, Cooper knew goals were needed and he made two changes at the break.
Yan Dhanda came on for Fulton, while Routledge replaced van der Hoorn, and they were immediately on the front foot.
With Swansea committing so many players forward, Reading looked to sit deep and play on the break and they proved resolute as the visitors battled to find a way through.
Grimes curled a free-kick wide of the target and Gallagher also threatened from distance, but the hour mark came and went without any clear-cut chances to show for their dominance of possession and territory.
However, when they did craft a sight of goal they took the chance clinically. Grimes produced a lovely ball, and Routledge controlled superbly to loft the ball over Rafael and into the net.
Unfortunately for the Swans, that goal went in moments after Forest had equalised against Stoke, which appeared to put a sizeable dent in their playoff aspirations.
Nevertheless, Cooper’s side continued to search for more goals in the hope events in the East Midlands would turn back in their favour.
They so nearly made it 3-1 with 17 minutes to play as lovely link play from Rutledge and Bidwell ended with Ayew steering just wide.
The situation was changing all the time, and Stoke retook the lead at Forest to leave the door ajar for the Swans.
And, when Stoke scored a third at the City Ground and Cullen coolly fired home his first senior goal for the club with six minutes remaining, they suddenly only needed a goal to finish in the play-off places.
Grimes had a deflected shot tipped over but the Swans then got the goal they needed in stoppage time as Routledge popped up to nod in at the far post, with Stoke’s fourth goal putting the matter beyond doubt a few moments later to spark delighted celebrations among Cooper, his players and his staff.
Glamorgan launch new kit
GLAMORGAN Cricket has unveiled its new Vitality Blast playing kit for the 2020 season.
Designed by the Club’s official kit supplier, Masuri, alongside Glamorgan’s management, players and coaches, the brand-new Vitality Blast strip contains a subtle Welsh twist.
Fitting Glamorgan’s traditional colour schemes, the top is dark navy with a tonal dragon across the front – a nod to the old Glamorgan nickname and the Welsh identity – while a sharp yellow trim on the neck and sleeves frames the top.
The famous ‘Daff’ sits on the heart of the shirt, with MiPost’s strong Welsh brand centre-stage. Appearing on the collars are the logos of ‘Official Players Car Partner’, Mon Motors and Welsh company, Philtronics Solutions, with Discover Leeks on the right sleeve and SA Group on the back.
The famous Aston Martin logo features on both side of the Glamorgan T20 cap, as they continue their ongoing support of the club.
Head of Commercial, Huw Warren, said: “We’ve enjoyed working with Masuri throughout the design process and together developed an exciting new kit we’re sure our supporters will love with its strong connections with Wales.
“Our Masuri kits have always been hugely successful with players and fans alike and we look forward to continuing our commercial partnership with them.
“We can’t wait to see our players wearing the new kit when the Blast gets underway later this summer.”
Masuri CEO, Sam Miller, said: ‘’Once again it has been a pleasure working with the team at Glamorgan to bring this year’s kit to life, and we are looking forward to seeing it in use during the much anticipated Vitality Blast this year.’’
Wembley trip for Giggs’ men
CYMRU will travel to Wembley Stadium on Thursday 8 October for a home nations international against England.
Ryan Giggs’ side will return to action this autumn for the first time in 10 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, kicking off with the 2020/21 UEFA Nations League campaign. The match against England will be one of two additional international matches scheduled as triple headers in October and November. In keeping with current Government guidelines, this fixture is scheduled to be played behind-closed-doors.
Since their first encounter in 1879, England are Cymru’s second oldest opponents with 102 matches in total producing 14 wins, 21 draws and 67 defeats. Cymru’s last visit to Wembley Stadium was in 2011 for a UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier, with Ashley Cole scoring in a 1-0 defeat.
Ryan Giggs’ side will be using this match to prepare for the rescheduled EURO 2020 finals next summer where they hope to return to Wembley, one of the host stadiums, for the latter stages of the tournament.
Looking ahead to the autumn, Cymru are in Nations League Group B4 alongside Bulgaria, Finland and the Republic of Ireland with fixture dates as follows:
Thursday, 3 September – Finland v Cymru (7:45pm)
Sunday, 6 September – Cymru v Bulgaria (2:00pm)
Sunday, 11 October – Republic of Ireland v Cymru (2:00pm)
Wednesday, 14 October – Bulgaria v Cymru (7:45pm)
Sunday, 15 November – Cymru v Republic of Ireland (5:00pm)
Wednesday, 18 November – Cymru v Finland (7:45pm)
All fixtures are scheduled to be played behind-closed-doors for the foreseeable future.
The FAW will continue to adhere to relevant Government guidelines and supporters will be notified should arrangements change and tickets become available.
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