Abergavenny Women FC 1
THUS far a story of league results that have slipped away from them, the Pennies travelled away to Aberystwyth on Sunday with high hopes that league points were within reach, writes ANDREW KENNEDY.
Historically speaking, meetings between ‘Aber’ and ‘Aber’ (as both sets of fans coin them) have so often proved close affairs, fine margins making all the difference.
This season, with both sides struggling to gain a real foothold in the Adran Premier table, this fixture at Park Avenue, Aberystwyth, was seen as a must win match for both squads.
Injuries, and this time illness too, affected the choices available to Pennies’ boss Josh Anderson, with at least four of the first choice starting XI out of the picture, and it was Katie Williams that was offered her first chance to captain the squad, her role for this outing being in the midfield.
Another change was the use of Eliza Atkins as a wing back, with Caitlin Davies playing the same role on the other side of the pitch.
Two of the fastest Pennies, they complemented a back line of Mali Summers, Ffion Simmonds and Elena Scrivens as additional cover when needed, Aberystwyth having proved themselves to have a fast attack in the previous fixture at Pen-Y-Pound, and would also be covering the full length of the pitch to provide attacking prowess too.
Back on September 4, Aberystwyth’s Seasiders sat back and broke on the counter, but this time they proved keen to press, going for everything, which acted as a constant pressure on any Penny in possession, and a keenness for the visitors to use the full width of the pitch and switch the play remained frustratingly difficult to fulfil.
There was an attack on the Pennies’ goal as early as four minutes, safely gathered in by Charlotte Hastings, before a Pennies’ penalty appeal on 20 minutes wnet unheeded.
But eight minutes later the hosts broke through the visiting defence thanks to a cross from Emily Thomas and a stooping header from Shauna Chambers.
Other than the on-off weather, wind and the occasional deluge, that concluded the main action for the first half.
But both squads were again on the attack in the opening few minutes of the second half, with the Pennies’ Alana Murphy taking a shot on 47 minutes and then the Seasiders immediately countering.
A great save on 51 minutes saw the home side denied a second goal, but within a minute the same attacker was back, Gwenllian Jones being more successful this time.
More end to end action followed, with a save by Hastings on 55 minutes and a goal for Abergavenny seconds later, Caitlin Davies finding Alana Murphy, who cut inside from the right and aimed low to make it 2-1.
Alana was previously at Pontypridd United Women and has so far played six times for Abergavenny and netted no less than eight times in those matches, and provided one assist.
Although still one goal adrift, the visitors now had the momentum for a good ten minutes and looked on the brink of more success – with Gracie Grosvenor coming on at 76 minutes to freshen up the attack.
Unfortunately, such hopes were unravelled by a counter attack, Aberystwyth’s Emily Thomas and Libby Isaac combining for an 80th minute goal, to make it 3-1 Thomas having provided all three assists thus far.
That blow was followed just two minutes later by a second goal for Gwenllian Jones to tie up the points 4-1.
League action returns to Pen-Y-Pound tonight (Wednesday, November 9) with a 7.30pm kick-off against current Adran Premier champions Swansea City Ladies FC, and free entry for all.
This is the third attempt to run this fixture, which last week fell victim to the weather.
A tough match for the home side given Swansea’s pedigree, the champions have not proven to be their usual all conquering selves so far this season and the Pennies will be in determined mood to get all they can from the match.