BY RICHARD ROWLANDS Following a strong pre-season recruiting drive, manager Matt Driscoll planned to introduce several new faces but a catalogue of injuries produced a starting line-up shorn of five players key to battling for promotion. The game followed a familiar pattern of Aberdare dominating the first quarter but unable to convert the several chances that came along and losing the impetus that a lead would have maintained, allowing the opposition to counter and in this instance, go in at half time with a two goal cushion. Things began brightly for Aberdare with Ross Daniels and Elliot Morris going close and Luke Jones pulled back by Daniel Battle as he sped toward the box resulting in a yellow for the Risca frontrunner. It wasn’t until 20 minutes before Town keeper Forbes was called into his first serious action with an excellent save from a Jordan Needs effort. Morris was denied by a brave stop by Risca keeper Chris Jones but with nothing to show for their dominance Aberdare became sloppy with a few wake up calls including a superb goal line clearance by Richard Ingram. With five minutes to the break Jon Phillips brought down a Risca forward which with the new rules, a penalty was seen as adequate punishment with a yellow for the miscreant. Dan Battle fired home but the nightmare continued for Phillips as he was caught trying to play out from within the box, losing possession and the cross casually tapped home by Ashley Johnson. Half Time: Risca United 2-1 Aberdare Town The ineffective Rob Blatchford, still carrying a pre season knock and drafted in because of a warm up injury to Matt Flynn was replaced by ex Llwydcoed starlet Andrew Ellis, and he was to produce a most promising debut. It was to prove a very competitive second half with man of the match, young Mitchell Boyce, stepping up from the previous season’s successful Reserve team, and proving a real gem, displaying strength, skill and a great engine which augers well for the season. The 73rd minute saw a powerful Morris strike fumbled by Chris Jones and there was Ellis to get his first, hopefully of many, for the Town. Substitute Dan Fenaroli saw his headed effort from an Ingram cross well saved by Jones with Ingram himself firing just wide with a long range rocket. Press as they did and committing bodies forward, the visitors just could not breach the home defence and close on time Risca broke but the fast back- tracking Ellis somehow cleared off the line. Referee Josh Howells blew for time but despite the result Aberdare can take solace from the performance and the fact that hopefully the star players missing on the night will soon return to action. With Welsh Cup matches on the horizon and with Aberdare having received kindly byes means no action till August 23rd at Trefelin BGC near Cwmavon in the first round of the League Cup and the Saturday of that week at title favourites Pontypridd Town, over whom Aberdare did the double last season, and now playing at their new home on Treforest Fields and having recruited heavily in the close season. Man of the Match: Mitchell Boyce
Risca United
2-1
Aberdare Town
Team Line-Up 1 Clint FORBES 2 Mitchell BOYCE 3 Josh POWELL 4 Jon PHILLIPS 5 Gareth JONES 6 Shay FRIEL 7 Richard INGRAM 8 Luke JONES 9 Ross DANIELS 10 Elliott MORRIS 11 Rob BLATCHFORD Substitutes 12 Rikki EVANS 14 Andrew ELLIS 15 Andrew FENAROLI 16 - 17 Daniel HUGHES (gk)
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