Second half goals from teenager Rhydian Davies and former Republic of Ireland under twenty one international Sean Thornton resulted in a change of fortune, for the Cambrian Coast side to secure three points and close the gap on hosts Afan Lido at the Marston’s Stadium. (reports Robert Clement).
For the Ceredigion visitors it was their second visit to south Wales in four days, having previously lost to Port Talbot, meanwhile Lido were anxious to sweep aside the shock Good Friday defeat at home to basement side Newtown.
In the early exchanges both sides struggled to make any real positive impression, but the game finally burst into life after twenty eight minutes when Lido’s Mark Jones provided a neat lay-off into the path of Daniel Thomas, unfortunately however his cross into the goalmouth was gathered by South African born keeper Stephen Cann at the near post.
The Aberystwyth shot stopper then provided an opportunity for Geoff Kellaway to make swift progress into Lido territory, only to be halted being brought crashing down from behind by Carl Payne.
Regrettably, for the former Boys club of Wales midfielder it was his second yellow card, having previously been cautioned during the 14th minute.
From Thornton’s free kick it was James McCarten who connected with a looping header which dropped over the top of helpless Chris Curtis, but despite protest from the visitors, it was disallowed with the assistance of Phil Thomas having indicated that Wyn Thomas had strayed into an offside position.
Seven minutes before the interval Aberystwyth were awarded a penalty when the lively Kellaway used his attacking pace to good effect on the left side, he successful picked out the support of Alex Samuel, but Craig Hanford was deemed to have pushed the newcomer in the back, and referee Huw Jones immediately pointed to the spot.
Thornton then confidently stepped forward, only to see his penalty kick saved with the former Goytre United keeper, stretching to his left and smothering the ball at the feet of Andy Parkinson.
Just after the hour period, Aberystwyth were once again finding Lido a hard nut to crack, as they continued to have the greater scoring appetite, and when a quality cross field delivery from substitute Josh Macauley was seized upon by Kellaway, it was the alert and eager keeper who once again bravely made a crucial save, at the foot of the near upright.
Afan Lido continued to have their defensive qualities under additional scrutiny once more during the 64th minute when a twenty five yard thunderbolt from Michael Walsh was tipped over the crossbar by Curtis, but from the resulting corner from Parkinson, it was substitute Rhydian Davies who headed in his debut goal from eight yards having been introduced a minute earlier for Samuel.
There was no let off for the constantly threatened Lido back line, with the Park Avenue visitors increasing the tempo in an attempt to add to their slender lead, and Curtis once more proved to be Lido’s saviour when Parkinson applied a left footed low shot from six yards, which was well held following a lengthy upfield clearance by Michael Howard.
The closest that the Seasider’s came to grabbing an equaliser arrived during the 76th minute, when an overlapping right sided threat from Daniel Sheehan, resulting in the former Salisbury City and Carmarthen Town full back supplying a cross into the penalty area, Alex Ricketts saw his shot deflected off Thornton to then set up Jones, but the locally born striker’s weakly struck left footed effort was easily saved by Cann.
With a minute remaining on the clock, Aberystwyth increased their lead when a long kick despatched by Cann was headed on by Kellaway, he then use his pace to good effect and provided a byline pass into the path of Thornton for his close range finish to somehow slip through the fingers of Curtis at the near post.
Afan Lido team manager Andy Dyer was asked in his after match interview in their Media Suite with Robert Clement, that following the disappointment of losing 6-1 to Newtown he was obviously looking for a response from his players, but that was made even more difficult, having Carl Payne sent off just before the half hour,
“That’s true, but at the same time you’re still looking for players to go out and respond to what was a poor result on Good Friday”.
“I thought that the boy’s gave everything tonight, I really couldn’t ask for anything more, but possibly a little bit of luck on the night and one or two chances hitting the back of the net when we’ve had a couple of shots on goal, but overall it’s difficult when you’ve got ten men against eleven for over an hour to play”.
Dyer responded to the situation of the race for 7th place is still on, being four points behind Airbus, but it’s now out of your hands.
“Well the fat lady isn’t singing yet, so what we’ll keep doing, as the Lido have done all season is keep going right until the end and we’ll make sure of that”.
With two remaining fixtures, away to Carmarthen on Saturday and then the visit of Airbus are you hoping to bounce back.
“Yes, well that’s it now, it’s about reacting again to the disappointment of the defeat, but taking lots of good things from the performance, and especially the way the boy’s conduct themselves on the pitch, so as long as they do that down at Carmarthen on the weekend then I’m sure we’ll give ourselves a chance”.
He was then asked that with the last league game of the season against the Wingmaker’s if he was confident that it might go down to that for the race for 7th.
“Obviously were hopeful, we’ll find out where we’re going at the weekend, and where we go from there”, concluded Dyer.