ABERYSTWYTH Town earned the point they needed to condemn rivals Carmarthen Town to a bottom two finish, and thereby secured their own Welsh Premier survival in a tense Friday night battle at Park Avenue.
The Cambrian News reported “The Seasiders took the lead through Tom Owens, but although Ceri Morgan gave the Old Gold a lifeline around the hour, they were denied the win that they needed to take their relegation battle right to the wire.
The draw keeps Aber five points clear of their west Wales with just one game to go, and Carmarthen will be relegated, unless a rival club fails to gain a licence to play in the league.
Joe Phillips came into the side for Ryan Wade, following their win at relegated Prestatyn, and in front of a bumper crowd of 526 it was the Seasiders who started on the front foot.
Craig Hobson saw an early header fly wide of the post from Declan Walker’s pin-point cross, and as a thick layer of mist descended around the ground, both sides found it difficult to break down their opponents.
Clear-cut scoring chances were few and far between until, on 20 minutes, Aber made a crucial breakthrough.
The ball fell to Malcolm Melvin on the edge of the box, who rolled a pass across for Tom Owens to fire a right-footed half volley into the top corner.
Carmarthen refused to lose sight of their crucial task in the gloomy conditions, and Ceri Morgan almost levelled matters when he struck the outside of the post on 28 minutes.
Aber were in reasonable control, however, and as half-time approached, Declan Walker saw his deflected effort drop just inches above the crossbar, almost catching Lee Idzi off his guard in the visitors’ goal.
Similar performance levels were required in the second half and Aber very nearly doubled their lead within seven minutes of the restart.
Midfielder Melvin dribbled his way into Carmarthen’s penalty box, only to see his chipped effort bounce back agonisingly off the foot of the post.
Soon after, the visitors failed to clear a corner kick and Joe Phillips saw his curling effort saved by Idzi.
The Seasiders were applying the pressure, but on 57 minutes the game was suddenly turned on its head.
Mark Jones flicked the ball on for strike partner Luke Bowen, who saw his shot deflected twice inside the penalty area, wrong-footing keeper Chris Mullock, before falling at the feet of Ceri Morgan to tap home.
The visitors threw all they had at the Seasiders, and on 65 minutes Clayton Green headed against the bar, and Lee Surman then scuffed a great chance over the woodwork.
Aber weathered the storm, with Craig Hobson providing great hold up play as the lone striker, and in the final 10 minutes, John Owen cut inside before seeing his curling shot headed off the line by Kieran Lewis.
Soon after, Malcolm Melvin fired his long-range effort just over the bar, before substitute Kurt Sherlock saw his powerful effort palmed away by Idzi as Aber went for the kill.
In three minutes of additional time substitute Wade almost set up Hobson, who was inches from connecting for the winner as Carmarthen hopes disappeared into the evening mist.
ABERYSTWYTH: C Mullock, D Walker, R Wollacott, T Owens, M Melvin, C Hobson, J Owen (K Sherlock 90’), M Jones, A Young, D Allen, JPhillips (R Wade 60’). Subs not used: S Kersh, L Borrelli, J Rimmer, A Walters (gk).
CARMARTHEN: L Idzi, L Cummings, J Knott, L Surman, D Sheehan, C Morgan, C Green (D Vincent 80’), K Lewis, L Thomas, M Jones, L Bowen. Subs not used: C Hanford, A O’Kelly, D Thomas.
Attendance: 526. Referee: Rob Jenkins” here.