REPORT BY RICHARD ROWLANDS Aberdare Town gained their first league victory of the season with a stirring display at championship chasing Aberbargoed Buds and taking their unbeaten home record in tow. Ex Aber stalwart Phil Clarke, signed from Ton Pentre, returned, providing experience and presence at the back with Rhys Williams back after a one game absence to the centre of defence. On a frosty evening, Aberdare made a confident start restricting the hosts to some speculative long range efforts. Town’s first serious assault on goal came on twelve minutes when a Richard Ingram free kick found Seb Haggett who climbed well only to see his header flash past the far post. Buds gradually gained the ascendancy and during a fifteen minute period Town keeper Clint Forbes gained the man of the match award with a catalogue of saves, two of which could only be categorized as stupendous. But it was not all one way traffic with a delightful move culminating in a Jon Phillips strike being cleared off the line and a neat back heel by the non-stop Ross Daniels superbly pushed away by the Buds keeper, Hegarty. As half time approached Forbes was again the hero with yet another top drawer save and moments later a big shout for hand ball as the Town defence cleared yet another threatening raid. Half Time: Aberbargoed Buds 0-0 Aberdare Town The large Friday night crowd had enjoyed a pulsating first half but the second period was to take the game up another notch with two Town goals which will live long in the memory. Five minutes in and the Buds keeper came out of his area to clear an innocuous through ball but into the path of Elliot Morris just inside the Buds half who sumptuously returned with interest, looping the stranded keeper from fully forty yards for an outstanding goal. Buds were shaken and stirred and bouncing back, it took another superb stop by Forbes to deny striker Levi Rees. Battling work by Daniels who had been an handful for the Buds defence all night, saw him reach the by-line and cross where Phillips struck just wide. Five minutes later, Phillips did well to head down a ball under pressure into the path of Morris who did not control the ball to continue the attack. No, he had other ideas and within the split second unleashed a shot on the volley from thirty yards which crashed against the cross bar, down and into the net for what which even at this relatively early stage in the season will likely be the goal of the season. Twelve minutes to hold out as Buds ramped up the pressure but the back line of Williams, Clarke, Matthew Glassey and Jordan Coles held firm with Ingram, Lewis Holder, playing a true captain’s role, working tirelessly in midfield. Daniels who had again provided an unstinting display was replaced by Rhys Tandy who was straight into action spreading play to relieve the defence. Levi Rees pulled a goal back as the pressure, even on the away fans, became almost unbearable. One heart stopping moment saw young Ben Gibbs, a late tactical substitution defy his years with a coolly executed  intervention in a packed penalty box as the hosts threw everything at Town. This is a different Town team from only a couple of weeks ago and the game management deployed as time seemed so slowly to run down, was admirable. The blow of the final whistle produced scenes of mass jubilation displayed by team and fans alike, on a night which hopefully sees a change of fortune and a move up the league ladder. Man of the Match: Clint Forbes
Aberbargoed Buds
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Aberdare Town
Team Line-Up 1 Clint FORBES 2 Matthew GLASSEY 3 Phil CLARKE 4 Rhys WILLIAMS 5 Jordan COLES 6 Lewis HOLDER 7 Richard INGRAM 8 Elliott MORRIS 9 Ross DANIELS 10 Seb HAGGETT 11 John PHILLIPS Substitutes 12 Rhys TANDY 14 Andrew ELLIS 15 Ben GIBBS 16 - 17 -
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