REPORT BY RICHARD ROWLANDS Mixed news has come out of the club over the past weeks with the resignation of manager Wayne Powell and his team but on the positive side, the award of a Tier 2 Licence from the FAW , meaning that in the rejigged Welsh Pyramid,  coming fully into effect for season 2019/2020, Aberdare could find themselves in the new FAW  South and Mid Wales Championship just a step below the Welsh Premier. For Pontypridd , their facilities did not reach the level required so sadly for them, even if they end up winning the Division or securing a top three finish  which is very likely,  promotion will be denied. This was the backdrop to a much anticipated local derby with Aberdare caretaker manager , Simon Jones, taking the reins for this, the final home game of the campaign. Andrew Fenaroli came in for his first start of the season at right back with Myles Case in for the absent Elliot Morris. In front of a good crowd both sides were showing their attacking intentions with Pontypridd showing a greater sharpness and the first clear chance fell to their striker, Gavin Beddard as he sent in a powerful effort well saved by James Harris. Andrew Smith was involved in all their dangerous moves and on two occasions he was denied by the off side flag the second a certainly debatable call. Aberdare were working hard with no real sighters on goal with the last chance of the half again falling to Beddard after a fortunate ricochet saw him blast over from eight yards. The main talking point of the first half had been a booking for Smith for simulation arising out of a through ball on goal. Harris seemed hesitant to make a run for the ball but got to it at the same as the fast approaching Smith with contact resulting in Smith hitting the deck and an appeal by his colleagues for a penalty. Referee Jones saw it differently with a yellow card brandished to the forward. Half Time: Aberdare Town 0 Pontypridd Town 0 The second half saw the visitors immediately on the front foot and the Aberdare defence remained under constant pressure with clearances coming straight back. Levi Jones who was producing a man of the match performance prevented a certain opener for Beddard with a wonderful covering tackle with moments later seeing him booked for a strong midfield challenge. The atmosphere was really heating up with a vociferous crowd adding the spice to an already hot mix with Beddard and Aidan Lewis added to the ref’s notebook. It was backs to the wall stuff from Aberdare with Luke Davies and Rhys Williams excelling and young Fenaroli growing rapidly into the game. He was on hand to produce a superb goal saving tackle after Harris had pulled off a quite breath taking save from another Beddard strike drawing applause from right around the ground. But the pressure had to tell and in the 78th minute Smith nudged home a loose ball resulting from a bit of ping pong in the Aberdare penalty box. The game now changed with Pontypridd desperate to cling  to the three points that would take them top and in doing so conceding ground to what had now become a resurgent home team. Aberdare began to win corner after corner with other missiles being hurled into the box from Fenaroli long throws. One such instance saw Luke Davies head powerfully at goal to be denied by a brilliant  Burnett save and from the resulting corner a concerted call for a penalty from what appeared hand ball in the area. If Aberdare had produced this kind of play earlier then they could well have gained something out of the game but with Pontypridd cleverly playing down the clock they got the job done and overall were worthy of the win. Aberdare now travel to Garden Village this coming weekend for unusually a Sunday fixture with the Gorseinon based team and to bring the curtain down on what has been a generally disappointing season Man of the Match: Levi Jones
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Team Line-Up 1 James HARRIS 2 Andrew FENAROLI 3 Phil CLARK 4 Rhys WILLIAMS 5 Luke DAVIES 6 Levi JONES 7 Myles CASE 8 Tom MORRIS 9 Killian KINGSTON 10 Seb HAGGETT 11 Rhys TANDY Substitutes 12 Daniel RIDDIFORD 14 Scott GRIFFITHS 15 Kevin CONNELLY 16 Rhys THOMAS 17 -
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