THERE was plenty of festive cheer at Park Avenue as free-scoring Aberystwyth fired a magnificent seven goals in their last home game before Christmas, to move three points clear of a stunned Prestatyn.
The Cambrian News reported “The emphatic result equalled their biggest ever margin of victory in the Welsh Premier League, and it was sweet revenge for their 5-1 home defeat to the same opponents in the Welsh Cup last season.
Remarkably, seven different outfield players got onto the scoresheet – and even keeper Chris Mullock was not going to be overshadowed as he saved a late penalty.
It was the perfect tonic for Neville Ppwell’s men after a 5-1 defeat at Connah’s Quay, and a third successive convincing win in front of their home supporters.
The visitors started brightly as striker Jack Kenny saw his header well saved by keeper Mullock, before having a penalty appeal waved away by referee Lee Evans.
At the Ashley Young’s corner kick was headed narrowly wide by Declan Walker, who again went close with a header from a set-piece as Aber found their rhythm.
The breakthrough arrived on 31 minutes, when Young sent a rasping shot beyond the reach of keeper Ryan Roberts and into the corner of the net, via the post.
Malcolm Melvin then saw his effort sail narrowly over the crossbar, and Craig Hobson was inches away from getting on the end of Ryan Wade’s inviting cross.
They doubled the lead on 41 minutes as John Mckenna rose highest from a corner kick to head home into the bottom corner.
Two minutes later, Walker surged down the right flank before lofting an inch perfect cross into the box, where Melvin was on hand to head beyond Roberts for 3-0.
The visitors were evidently in shock and as the game entered first half stoppage time, Aber broke again at breakneck speed and Wade played in Joe Phillips, who rounded the goalkeeper and produced an excellent left-footed finish to make it 4-0.
Prestatyn started the second half well and on 52 minutes, they were handed the smallest of lifelines as tricky midfielder Noah Edwards cut inside before unleashing a right-footed shot into the top corner.
Soon after, Mullock produced a smart save from Jack Kenny, before Damian Ketley went close as his shot was well blocked by Ryan Wollacott in the six-yard box.
Luke Borrelli came on to replace Melvin, and on 67 minutes, Aber put the game to bed with a fantastically worked goal.
Walker sent a 40-yard pass towards Wade, who brought the ball down with finesse and lifted it over the onrushing keeper with a superb chip to make it 5-1.
Geoff Kellaway was also introduced in place of Joe Phillips, and he very nearly extended Town’s lead with his first touch as he sent a curling effort just over the bar.
On 81 minutes, Town did indeed extend their lead as Young played a short free kick into the path of Walker, who sent a thunderous shot beyond Roberts for 6-1.
Prestatyn had a golden chance to reduce the arrears late on as Jonny Spittle was adjudged to have fouled Alec Williams in the penalty area, but Mullock dived low to his right to produce a fabulous save to keep out substitute Jack Higgins’ spot kick.
As the game entered the closing minutes, Aber sent their supporters into seventh heaven as Kellaway crossed for Craig Hobson to nod home a magnificent diving header, to cap his stellar performance.
One final positive note to come from the game was the Welsh Premier debut of promising young defender Lee Jenkins, who came on to replace captain Spittle.
ABERYSTWTH: C Mullock, D Walker, J Spittle (L Jenkins 88’), R Wollacott, M Melvin (L Borrelli 60’), C Hobson, R Wade, M Jones, A Young, J McKenna, J Phillips (G Kellaway 73’). Not used: J Rimmer, H Horwood, H Rowe.
PRESTATYN: R Roberts, B Maher (J Higgins 80’), P O’Neill, C Shackleton, A Williams (N Hulme 90’), R Stephens (E Lloyd 90’), M Parker, N Edwards, Z Edwards, J Kenny, D Ketley. S not used: C Jones (gk), R Weaver, A White, D Hayes. Referee: L Evans. Att: 184″ here.