JOE Phillips’ 61st minute goal was enough to see Aberystwyth Town to victory as Neville Powell’s side produced a textbook away performance to beat mid Wales derby rivals Newtown at Latham Park.
The Cambrian News reported “The 1-0 win, which was based on a very solid defensive performance, lifted the Seasiders to within three points of the Robins in the Welsh Premier League, and has extended their unbeaten run to five matches in all competitions.
Powell made two changes to the side that beat Carmarthen in the JD Welsh Cup on Tuesday, as Luke Borrelli and Craig Hobson replaced Declan Walker and Ryan Wade. January addition Kurt Sherlock also made his first appearance on the substitutes’ bench, alongside fellow newcomer Sam Kersh.
The game had started at a lethargic tempo, with both sides evidently feeling the effects of their Tuesday night exertions in the Welsh Cup, and it was not until the 15th minute that Newtown’s Ryan Kershaw volleyed the first effort wide.
Craig Hobson’s penalty appeal was all that Aber’s travelling supporters had to shout about, but at the other end, makeshift right-back Luke Borrelli, with Ashley Young, Ryan Wollacott and Matthew Jones, marshalled the defence superbly.
Newtown’s Kershaw flashed a volley wide, following a throw-in by Luke Boundford, who also powered a header high over the bar, but Aber also had chances on the break.
Midfielder Tom Owens pounced on a loose ball in the penalty area, before seeing his goal-bound shot deflected just wide for the visitors.
From the resulting corner kick, another goalmouth scramble ensued, and Hobson somehow saw his poked effort blocked on the line.
The second half began in much brighter fashion, and Aber earned a succession of corners, which saw Hobson test keeper Dave Jones.
At the other end Neil Mitchell played in Luke Boundford, who slid his side-footed shot go narrowly wide of Chris Mullock’s far post.
With the pace of John Owen and Joe Phillips causing mayhem for Aber, Phillips found himself in on goal from Malcolm Melvin’s inch perfect pass, but his attempted lob was well saved by Jones in goal.
Phillips was not to be denied, however, and just after the hour he cut in from the left and unleashed a superb curling effort into the bottom corner for a precious lead.
Newtown introduced Jay Denny and Ethan Jones as they went in search of an equaliser, but captain Ashley Young led by example as the Seasiders began to batten down the hatches for the final 15 minutes.
As Newtown pushed further forward, Aber were increasingly threatening on the break and John Owen closed in on goal before seeing his chipped attempt saved.
The Robins’ half-hearted penalty appeal was waved away on 87 minutes as Chris Mullock produced a perfectly timed tackle in the penalty area to deny Ethan Jones.
New signing Sherlock was introduced in the closing stages in place of Hobson, who had again worked tirelessly to lead the front line, and the substitute nearly got his debut goal when he raced through, before seeing his half volley drift wide.
As the game entered stoppage time, the visitors put their bodies on the line to produce a number of vital blocks and interceptions, and in the dying seconds Sherlock very nearly made it the perfect afternoon as his long-range effort dipped inches wide of Jones’ post.
From the resulting goal kick, the referee’s full-time whistle blew, to the relief of the joyous Aber players and supporters, who celebrated together at the end of the game.
It was three massive points on the road against the side they will face in the semi-finals of the Welsh Cup.
NEWTOWN: D Jones, TC Williams, R Sears, K Mills-Evans, C Roberts, A Fletcher, R Kershaw, L Boundford, T Goodwin (J Denny 67’), N Mitchell (E Jones 72’), N Rushton (C Williams 84’). Subs not used: J Perry (gk), J Harries.
ABERYSTWYTH: C Mullock, R Wollacott, T Owens, M Melvin, C Hobson (K Sherlock 83’), J Owen, L Borrelli, M Jones, A Young, D Allen, J Phillips (GKellaway 90’+1). Subs: S Kersh, J Rimmer, A Walters (gk).
Attendance: 261. Referee: Tom Owen” here.