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Aber surrender two goal lead

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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.

Declan Walker scores the first goal of the game for Aber

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.

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Three summer tests announced for Wales

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WALES will play three summer tests in Cardiff this July as revised international fixtures have been announced.

Wayne Pivac’s side will face Canada (July 3) and back-to-back games against Argentina (July 10 & 17) at Principality Stadium.

These tests replace the scheduled summer tour to Argentina which has had to be cancelled due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic and uncertainty around travel restrictions.

The Pumas will now travel to Cardiff for two tests against the Six Nations Champions.

Wales will kick off their summer campaign on July 3 at home to Canada. The Canucks who are coached by former Wales captains Kingsley Jones and Rob Howley will visit Cardiff for the first time since 2008.

“We are looking forward to this summer, the opportunity it presents, and we are delighted to have three tests confirmed,” said Wales head coach Wayne Pivac.

“It is disappointing not to have the opportunity to tour Argentina, especially on the back of our 2020 tour to New Zealand being cancelled, but in the current climate it is completely understandable.

“What is important is we have games and as we have said all along, this summer is a huge opportunity for us.   We are delighted and proud to have 10 players selected for the British & Irish Lions, it is reward for all their hard work and we wish them all the best this summer.

“With those players away we always earmarked this summer as an important development opportunity for us.

“It is an opportunity to bring players into this environment, look at them closely and expose them to test match rugby.  It is also an opportunity for current internationals to step-up into further leadership roles, so on both counts it is an important camp for us looking ahead to RWC2023.”

WRU CEO Steve Phillips added: “It is a huge credit to World Rugby that a full schedule of summer international rugby has been achieved against the backdrop of the global pandemic.

“Whilst it is obviously disappointing not to tour, we are delighted in Wales to be hosting Canada and to be able to honour the 2017 San Francisco agreement by hosting the Pumas for back-to-back matches, which will be hugely important to our international player development.

“Wayne has been adamant that his squad needs matches this summer and World Rugby have certainly delivered on that front.

“We are, of course, acutely aware of current restrictions and the ongoing and complex global COVID-19 picture. We will continue to monitor the situation in terms of any potential spectator access, but will remain entirely compliant and vigilant of all restrictions.

“In the current circumstances we are simply delighted to be able to play international rugby and any advance on that will be a bonus.”

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Aber fail to break down ten-man Flint

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ABERYSTWYTH Town and Flint Town United played out a goalless draw on Saturday (May 8).

It could have been much different for Aber, though, as they played against a Flint side who had Ben Amiss sent off in the first half, but they failed to make their advantage count.

With Wales experiencing some unseasonal weather, the Deeside coast was battered by mother-nature in the build-up to the game and full credit must go to the volunteers at the Silkmen for producing an excellent playing surface.

Aber started the game brightly and carved out two great openings in the first five minutes.  Firstly, Louis Bradford volleyed over the bar from close range before some brilliant work down the left from Harry Franklin teed up a cross for Jonathan Evans who’s goal bound header looked to have given the Seasiders the initiative.

However, home stopper Jon Rushton had other ideas, pulling off a sumptuous save down low, pawing the ball away to safety.

After the two quick chances for Aber, Flint settled into the contest and began creating chances of their own.

The home side saw strikes from Alex Jones and Callum Brately fall narrowly wide of the post before creating their best opportunity of the half with 23 minutes having elapsed.

Great play down the right flank saw the ball land to Ross Weaver. His strike, via a deflection from Black and Green defender Ian Kearney forced Connor Roberts into a great stop.

Franklin was causing problems for the Silkmen and Aber’s most likely route towards victory looked to be coming down his wing. He had a glorious opportunity to give Aber the lead but couldn’t keep his effort under the crossbar. He did have the ball in the back of the net but an early flag from the linesman denied him his fourth of the season.

The game’s flashpoint came with just seconds to go until the break. A heavy tackle in midfield from Ben Amiss on Jamie Veale, sparking a 19-man melee in midfield and saw referee Bryn Markham Jones reach for his red card for the Flint Town United striker.

With Aber having a numerical advantage, they enjoyed more of the ball in the second stanza but could only create sporadic chances against a well drilled and organised back line. Mathew Jones saw a strike fall narrowly over the bar whilst Kearney’s header from a corner landed on the roof of the home net.

To their credit, Flint did look to gain a winner of their own and had spells of pressure but like their opponents, they couldn’t break down an organised Seasiders’ defence. The lively Jones for the hosts came closest with his header going wide of the far post.

Gavin Allen introduced Owain Jones and Marc Williams as well as Jamie Reed late on in search of the go ahead goal but despite the addition of additional fire power, there was to be no late drama.

Jon Owen saw a shot well stopped by Rushton whilst Jenkins tried to connect with a Jack Rimmer cross in the final minute but could only make connection with the home keeper, earning himself a yellow card in the process.

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Scarlets convincingly beat Ospreys

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Rainbow Cup • Scarlets 22 – Ospreys 6

SCARLETS delivered a dominant derby performance to claim their first victory of the Rainbow Cup campaign, beating the Ospreys 22-6, at a rain-soaked Parc y Scarlets.

Prop Alex Jeffries scored the only try of the match, with full-back Leigh Halfpenny delivering a typically dead-eyed goal-kicking display in atrocious conditions.

The platform was laid by the Scarlets pack, with skipper Ken Owens, Blade Thomson and Aaron Shingler to the fore; the man of the match Kieran Hardy mixed up his game intelligently, while a much-improved defensive display saw the visitors restricted to just two kicks at goal from fly-half Luke Price.

It was the Ospreys who opened the scoring with a penalty from the boot of Price on two minutes, but the Scarlets responded strongly with Halfpenny levelling on 17 after the visitors were caught offside.

The outstanding Jonathan Davies looked like he made it over the whitewash after bursting through a couple of tackles, but the television match official adjudged the Wales centre had lost the ball as he slid over the whitewash and the score was chalked off.

Nevertheless, the Scarlets continued to boss proceedings.

With the Ospreys falling foul of Scottish referee Ben Blain, Halfpenny added a couple more penalties and an impressive half for the home side was capped when Jeffries crossed two minutes before the interval

A well-worked line-out move saw Davies burst onto a pass from Owens, breaking through a couple of tackles before feeding the tight-head prop on his inside.

Jeffries still had plenty to do but showed a superb turn of pace to race clear 20 metres to the whitewash to touch down against his former side.

That made it 16-3 at half-time with the Scarlets seemingly in firm control.

The visitors, looking for their first PRO14 win at Parc y Scarlets since 2015, did enjoy more of the game in the second period.

Price reduced the arrears with a penalty and it needed some superb defence to keep the Ospreys line-out maul at bay.

Another Halfpenny penalty five minutes from time extended the lead to 22-6 to ensure a comfortable victory and a seasonal double over the Scarlets’ arch-rivals.

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