Aberystwyth Town head into their most important week of the season so far with renewed vigour after last night’s surprising 1-1 draw at TNS.
Aber earned themselves a point after Chris Venables cancelled out Matty Williams’ opener for the Saints in what appeared to be the unlikeliest of results given that Ian Hughes’ team were whitewashed in the same fixture six days earlier, albeit in the Welsh Cup.
After TNS had eased themselves to a 3-0 Welsh Cup win, few gave Aberystwyth any hope of avoiding a successive defeat in Oswestry.
When considering TNS’s red-hot form and Aberystwyth’s selection worries – without two key attacking players in Geoff Kellaway (injured) and Jamie Reed (on loan from TNS) – it seemed impossible that the Seasiders would be able to offer up anything different to prevent another defeat and after returning home with a hard-fought point, Aber can use that performance to kick-start their season.
The returning Lee Surman helped shore up an Aber defence which at times has looked poor this season, while Ian Hughes maintained his faith in 17 year-old youth product Liam Jaques, who started his successive game of the season.
Aberystwyth have a history of giving youth players the opportunity to step up and I’m looking forward to seeing a lot more of Jacques during this season. It is also believed that Ian Hughes may well have another potential diamond on his books with 16-year-old Jack Rimmer, who has already attracted attention from a top-flight English club. Are these two the latest talents to come off the same Park Avenue production line that helped develop Tom Bradshaw a pathway into international football?
This morning are Aberystwyth are 5-5-6 (W/D/L) in the WPL and sit seventh in the table, two points and crucially have two games in-hand over sixth-placed Connah’s Quay.
Aber play one of those games in-hand midweek in what will be a testing week with the visits of two other WPL sides also looking to force their way into the top-six. Carmarthen Town visit Park Avenue on Tuesday night before Aber face Bangor City three days later.
With five WPL fixtures remaining before the league split (Aberystwyth face bottom-six clubs Haverfordwest twice and Port Talbot in their outstanding games), Aber can use the draw at TNS as a platform to build and pick up momentum .
Don’t rule Ian Hughes’ side out of making that top-six cut – they’ve just given us a timely reminder that they are a still a side who shouldn’t be written off.
Image courtesy of TNS FC/Brian Jones.