REPORT BY RICHARD ROWLANDS Aberdare’s revival continued with this stirring display against second placed Caldicot Town, with stand in keeper Dai Gregory cementing his man of the match display in producing  a fantastic finger- tip  save to deny the visitors with the last play of the match. A minute’s silence  was held before kick off in memory of Kelly , wife of under 11’s coach Chris Lewis, who tragically passed away after a long fight with illness and the thoughts of all at the club go to the family at this sad time. Aberdare were without regular keeper James Harris ,whose wife Jodie had given birth overnight with  all being well and with new signing, ex Coed midfield enforcer ,Tomos Morris , making what was to  be a tremendous debut and become an immediate fan’s favourite. The game was an enthralling affair from the start with Caldicot enjoying the  majority of possession but Aberdare producing the more clear cut chances. The visitors long throw in specialist , Ashley Palmer, caught out the hosts early on with his missile into the box desperately cleared.  Up front, Seb Haggett and Jon Phillips were causing problems with namesakes, Elliot whose control and artistry at times belongs on a higher stage and Tomos, instrumental in supplying the ammunition. The closest Aberdare came in the first half hour was tricky wing play by Rhys Tandy who continues to supply moments of magic, seeing him escape the tackles and cross for an Elliot Morris header to be clawed away by keeper Gareth Wesson. Moments later a superb ball from Killian Kingston found raiding full back Matthew Glassey who fed Haggett and  whose shot from fifteen yards flew narrowly over. But the visitors too were having their moments, with Levi Jones denying a shot on goal from Caldicot’s new signing Connor Hughes and Gregory a spectator as a Richard Sharrett effort shaved the cross bar. Hughes shot across goal when well placed with an Ollie Smith snap attempt deflected off Levi Jones for a corner .But the best chance fell to Aberdare and arrived on the stroke of half time with a long Gregory clearance finding Jon Phillips who outmuscled a defender to roll across to Haggett but  only to see Wesson pull off a great save . It had been an excellent half with both sides producing some quality football on a sticky surface that had endured a week of rain and so it appears, an earthquake though no one at the ground noticed such had been the excitement of the first period. Half Time: Aberdare Town 0-0 Caldicot Town The second half began in the same vein with both sides striving for openings but the vital one came in controversial circumstances with Aberdare’s central defender Rhys Williams adjudicated to have tripped Connor Hughes who, as an experienced striker, took full advantage as he hit the ground with flailing arms. Withers unerringly despatched the spot kick for the opener. A few months ago the hosts may have capitulated, but this has become a different outfit. With the Aberdarian’s now chasing the game, forward Myles Case replaced Phil Clarke with Kingston slotting into full back and  they came so close when a Haggett screamer rattled the crossbar. But Aberdare kept the heat on and the pressure told in the74th minute with Haggett brought down in the box. Dusting himself down , the top scorer stepped up and sent Wesson the wrong way for a more than deserved equalizer. The game continued to be cut and thrust with Tomos Morris  showing his qualities in play and vocal encouragement especially to the younger players . Such individuals such as Merthyr product Rhys Williams and home grown Levi Jones have quickly climbed the learning curve with Clarke, Glassey and  Kingston and Elliot Morris when called upon, admirable defensive partners providing cool heads under onslaught. As injury time approached a superb forty yard Williams pass found Haggett, who after all his efforts up top still found the energy to outpace a wide defender and cross into the danger area where Jon Phillips forced home to the delight of  team mates and the home fans. The action was not over as the visitors threw everything at the Town until, with the last action of a pulsating game, Sharrett connected from five yards but Gregory pulled off a save that will long remembered. The final whistle was blown immediately after with Aberdare now on a four match unbeaten run since the start of the year. Next up is a Friday night trip to Abergavenny with a 7.30pm kick off and where they can be assured of good travelling away support. Man of the Match: Dai Gregory
Aberdare Town
Caldicot Town
Team Line-Up 1 Dai GREGORY 2 Matthew GLASSEY 3 Phil CLARK 4 Rhys WILLIAMS 5 Levi JONES 6 Tom MORRIS 7 Elliott MORRIS 8 Killian KINGSTON 9 John PHILLIPS 10 Seb HAGGETT 11 Rhys TANDY Substitutes 12 Kevin DAVIES 14 Myles CASE 15 Tom REES 16 Ben GIBBS 17 -
TOGETHER. STRONGER gorau chwarae cyd chwarae
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