Aberystwyth Town began their pre-season preparations for the new JD Welsh Premier League campaign with a 3-1 win over MMP Mid Wales League runners-up Llanidloes Town on Tuesday night.
Cambrian News reported “The Daffs had taken the lead through Ed Clarke’s fourth minute free kick, but second half strikes from Rio Ahmadi, Richie Ricketts and Steff Edwards ensured that the hosts’ dominance was rewarded.
In the Seasiders’ first pre-season match, which was held on Aber University’s 3G pitch, impressive new addition Alex Boss had crossed an early chance for Geoff Kellaway to head just wide of goal.
Llanidloes, who had lost 4-0 to Newtown in their first pre-season friendly last weekend, opened the scoring, however, when a free kick from Clarke sailed directly into the far corner of the net.
Home goalkeeper Adam Walters had to deny Lance Jones soon after, but gradually Aber settled, and an opportunity almost fell to Boss, who has joined from Bangor City, but he was unable to convert.
Matthew Jones then crossed for Marc Williams, but his header was blocked, and the returning Malcolm Melvin flicked the ball up for Ahmadi, on his return from Newtown, but his volley was blocked too.
Daffs’ new addition Daf Caruthers went close, but keeper Adam Walters was well placed – and then at the other end, the lively Ahmadi crossed for Williams to head just wide of the target.
Minutes later, Jones again centred for Ahmadi, who went close with a header, and a goal seemed inevitable as Ben Birch, who has joined from Tividale, picked out Boss, who burst through and fired just over.
Adam Worton crossed for George Clarke to send a header wide for the Daffs, and although Ahmadi and Ryan Wollacott went close to levelling matters, the Seasiders trailed at the break.
Five Aberystwyth changes followed at the interval, and they went on to dominate the second period, with Llani’s energetic first half efforts ultimately taking their toll.
A tough tackle on Jones resulted in an Aber free kick, which Wes Baynes expertly dispatched, and when the ball fell for Ahmadi, the striker swivelled and volleyed home from close range to restore parity.
Williams saw his header tipped over the bar, and although the Seasiders’ replacement keeper Oliver Fairbrother was tested from time to time, the match was heading Aber’s way.
With 20 minutes to go some Portuguese trickery from Paolo Mendes near the corner flag resulted in a cross, which was gleefully smashed home by triallist Richie Ricketts, from Bow Street.
Three minutes later Steff Edwards curved a cultured curler into the bottom corner for Aber’s third goal of the game, and the Seasiders could relax as the Llanidloes challenge finally faded.
A back header from Worton almost fell into the net, but Kris Williams managed to get back in time, and a keenly-contested friendly fixture ended at 3-1.
Aberystwyth’s pre-season continues on Saturday with their second friendly, at home to FAW Championship (South) side Llantwit Major, with a 2.30pm kick-off.
ABERYSTWYTH: Starting line-up: Walters, Birch, Wollacott, Mendes, Boss, Melvin, Phillips, Jones, Williams, Trialist, Kellaway. Subs: Fairbrother, S Edwards, R Edwards, Baynes, Ahmadi, Ricketts, Coleridge, Rees, Blake, Trialist.
Newtown 4 Llanidloes Town 0
Manager Hugh Clarke took plenty of positives from Llanidloes Town’s friendly defeat against Welsh Premier side Newtown as their pre-season got underway in earnest last weekend.
Despite the four goal margin at Latham Park, Clarke reflected on an excellent workout for his charges against higher league opposition, particularly in the first period.
The Daffs had more than held their own for the first half hour before trailing to Nick Rushton’s fine curling strike from the edge of the box, and then fell further behind at the break to a second from Sam Phillips.
Two triallists for the Robins added further goals after the interval as both sides rang the changes, but there was still plenty to cheer for the MMP Mid Wales League division one side despite the result.
“We were very good in the first half and looked very organised,” said Clarke.
“When you are playing Welsh Premier League sides, it’s about what you can get from the game. It’s all about the performance and fitness, not the result and we looked decent.
“We tired in the second half a bit, both teams made changes, but to be fair to Newtown they scored some good goals.
“We had chances ourselves, which we didn’t take, and we now need to continue that organisation and workrate when we take on Aberystwyth this week.”
Llani had a good opportunity in the first half when, following excellent build-up play, Ash Owen fired over from the edge of the box.
A plus mark for the Daffs was the performance of triallist Dafydd Carruthers (former Penrhyncoch) up front along with Josh Hartrick.
Llani play their first home friendly against Hereford Lads Club on Saturday July 20. Meanwhile, Rhostyllen provide the opposition for this year’s Richard Evans memorial charity match on Saturday,27 July” here.