CRAIG Hobson’s fourth minute strike proved enough to earn Aberystwyth Town a crucial three points in a 1-0 win against already-relegated Prestatyn at Bastion Gardens on Friday night.
The Cambrian News reported “Supporters were still settling into their seats when an attempt at a quick indirect free-kick in Aber’s penalty box by Oliver Buckley went horribly wrong, and Ryan Wade played the ball through for Hobson, who fired his low shot beyond the reach of keeper Carl Jones for an early lead.
The following 86 minutes failed to produce any more goals, with Aber’s top scorer Declan Walker missing a second half penalty as they went on to maintain their vital five-point lead over second-from-bottom Carmarthen, who they now host in their penultimate fixture on Friday night.
Urged on by their lively following, Aber very nearly doubled their lead on eight minutes when Malcolm Melvin’s chipped effort was headed off the goal line by Reece Fairhurst.
Soon after, midfielder Melvin was again in the thick of the action as his volley went just inches over the bar, before John Owen’s glancing header then clipped the outside of the post.
The visitors hoped they wouldn’t rue their host of missed chances as Prestatyn slowly grew into the game, with Oliver Buckley’s left-footed strike going narrowly wide of goal.
Aber, however, stood strong and saw out the first half with their lead intact, marshalled by defensive pairing Ashley Young and Ryan Wollacott, who were immense once again.
The second half started in similar fashion, with the hosts seeing more of the ball, but the visitors creating the better goal scoring opportunities.
On 54 minutes, Hobson, who was been a thorn in Prestatyn’s side throughout, went close when his flicked header fizzed wide of goal.
Joe Phillips, who had been replaced in the starting side by Tom Owens, was introduced as Aber looked to add more speed and trickery to their attacking play, and on 68 minutes they very nearly doubled their lead.
Declan Walker’s cross was met by Hobson with a firm header that somehow bounced the wrong side of the post and out for a goal kick.
Missed chances were becoming a worry for the Green Army of travelling fans, who turned up the volume.
On 77 minutes, Prestatyn created their first meaningful opportunity of the second half as Louis Irvine cut in and hit a left footed shot inches wide.
Indeed, it was a warning sign for Aber that they would have to battle and scrap for every single ball as the game entered the final 10 minutes.
But on 82 minutes, the visitors were gifted a massive chance to finish the game, as Joe Phillips was chopped down in the area by Fairhust and awarded a penalty kick. Top goal-scorer Walker stepped up and fired a strong, low spot kick to the right of the ‘keeper, but it was brilliantly tipped around the post by Carl Jones.
Aber’s anxiety levels were raised with just five minutes to go as Prestatyn tried to find an equaliser, but the midfield trio of Allen, Melvin and Owens fought for every second ball.
Sub Luke Borrelli almost sealed victory with a curling left footed strike in added time, but Aber saw out the final minutes for a crucial away win.
PRESTATYN: C Jones, L Irvine (C Faulkner 86’), A Williams, D Hayes (T Kemp 63’), R Fairhurst, R Weaver, R Stephens, B Maher, M Taylor, Z Edwards, O Buckley (J Higgins 69’). Subs: Z Edwards, S Herd, C Shackleton, D Ketley.
ABERYSTWYTH: C Mullock, D Walker, R Wollacott, T Owens, M Melvin, C Hobson, J Owen, R Wade (J Phillips 62’), M Jones, A Young, D Allen. Subs not used: S Kersh, L Borrelli, K Sherlock, A Walters (gk). Att: 231. Referee: N Pratt” here.