REPORT BY RICHARD ROWLANDS When, with the catalogue of pre- season affected injuries having severely disrupted team selection and consequently results, Aberdare travelled to Pontypridd’s new home at the University Fields, Treforest with a mite more confidence against a side they had done the double over the previous campaign with the return of central defenders Gareth Jones and Matt Flynn. But the curse remains, losing both to early knocks and to cap what has been the most unsettling of starts most supporters can recall, losing frontrunner Ross Daniels with a dislocated shoulder. It was always going  to be an uphill battle against many pundits choice as potential champions. Aberdare began breezily but were knocked back on their heels after 20 minutes when a home attack saw the excellent James Hill cut inside and fire left of Clint Forbes in the Aberdare goal for a one- nil lead.  The game was providing good entertainment for a decent crowd with Aberdare carving out a few good chances with Rikki Evans firing just over and a goal bound effort from Ross Daniels take a deflection off a Pontypridd defender to skim narrowly wide. Evans was cautioned for a strong challenge and minutes later good work involving him and Josh Powell seeing the later cross and find Elliot Morris whose fierce shot slammed against the base of the post. To add to the disappointment three minutes later it was two-nil as a quick break saw Thierry Henry lookalike, Luke Gullick, fire home exquisitely. But Aberdare who had already lost Gareth Jones and Flynn to injury were not to be denied and the skilful Morris broke through on the left crossing for Rhys Tandy at the second attempt to smash home with his first for the club since his move from Treharris. Half Time: Pontypridd 2-1 Aberdare Town But within 7 minutes of the restart, Ponty had re-established a two goal cushion with a second for the impressive Gullick and they could have increased the lead further with Adam Johns guilty of a poor miss off a free header from a corner by ex Aber wing back Dan Hooper. But despite the forced substitutions Aberdare showed great heart exemplified by Merthyr product Luke “Scouser” Jones with his non stop midfield running and prompting earning the man of the match accolade and substitutes Ben Gibbs, Dai Gregory and Simon Jones giving excellent accounts in supporting the revamped backline of John Phillips, Powell and Richard Ingram. Although a defeat, Matt Driscoll and his management team can take much consolation from the side’s effort and look forward to a fortnight break in which time hopefully at least six regulars will come off the treatment table and be in contention for a home Welsh Cup game against fellow 2nd Division outfit , Dinas Powys. Man of the Match: Luke Jones
Pontypridd Town
3-1
Aberdare Town
Team Line-Up 1 Clint FORBES 2 Richard INGRAM 3 Josh POWELL 4 Matthew FLYNN 5 Gareth JONES 6 Jon PHILLIPS 7 Luke JONES 8 Rhys TANDY 9 Rikki EVANS 10 Ross DANIELS 11 Elliott MORRIS Substitutes 12 Simon JONES 14 Ben GIBBS 15 Dai GREGORY 16 - 17 -
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