Town beaten but far from disgraced in Welsh Cup Semi Final
Aberystwyth 3-1 Holywell Town
Welsh Cup Semi Final (At Newtown)
Saturday 5th April 2014
Holywell Town and their large band of supporters descended on Newton for the Welsh Cup Semi Final, looking to make it into the final, and only Aberystwyth Town stood in their way.
There was a great mood around the squad and once the game got underway, Town were soon into their stride and took the lead as early as the 8th minute. A great ball in by Steve Thomas saw the Aberystwyth defender clear the ball out for a corner. Tom McElmeel takes the corner short to Sam Jones who lays the ball back to him and McElmeel drives the ball home from a tight angle to give Town a dream start. Aberystwyth then tried to get back into the game but Town handled the pressure really well and had a couple of small chances themselves. Aberystwyth’s first real chance came after 25 minutes when Craig Williams finds himself with a bit of room for a shot, but Danny Stanton saves well.
Town then should have doubled their lead. Graeme Williams was having a great game on the right and he beat the challenge of Aberystwyth’s Cledan Davies, before his low cross into the box is put over by Phil Lloyd. Town knew that should have counted, and Sam Jones then had a shot from 20 yards but even a wicked bounce did not deter keeper Mike Lewis and he was able to gather the ball well. Town applied more pressure on the Aber goal and on 33 minutes, Sam Jones broke from near the halfway line and runs onto towards goal before unleashing a fierce shot which Lewis did well to turn away for a corner.
Seeing his team were completely outplayed, Aberystwyth manager Ian Williams needed a change and introduced Mark Jones on for Tom Shaw. The changed certainly made a difference as Aberystwyth started to get back into the game, and the change paid dividends with a couple of minutes left of the first half as Aber drew level. Cledan Davies combined well with Geoff Kellaway and his cross into the box was fired home by Craig Williams to give Danny Stanton no chance. The goal spurred the Welsh Premier side on and a minute later, Kellaway shoots wide of Stanton’s right post before Venables watches as his header flies over the bar.
The second half started like the first ended with Aberystwyth piling on the pressure. Dafydd Griffith was booked for a foul then a minute later, Cledan Davies runs into the box and beats 2 challenges before his shot is saved well by the legs of Stanton. Aberystwyth then put in a dangerous ball into the box and Stanton was forced to punch clear, and the ball came back into the box, Paul Williams was forced to clear off the line. With nearly an hour on the clock, Town had their best chance of the half. Paul Williams, who was having a great game, broke down the left and beat the challenge of Stuart Jones before running towards Mike Lewis’ goal. Williams’ shot was blocked by Lewis and the rebound fell to Williams again, and his follow up shot was again saved by Lewis and knocked out for a corner.
Sam Jones then got in a dangerous cross towards Lloyd but it was cleared to safety before a Holywell corner saw the ball cleared by Stuart Jones but there was no one there to pick up the loose ball. Town were desperately lucky not to fall behind a minute or so later as Venables broke clear and his shot got the faintest of touches off Danny Stanton’s glove which forced the ball to hit the crossbar and bounce back out to safety. Venables then got in another shot before Aber scored again but Venables effort was ruled offside. Venables was proving to be a handful for Town’s defenders and he had a free kick go inches wide with 15 mnutes or so remaining on the clock.
The game entered the final 10 minutes and Aberystwyth took the lead on 82 minutes. A ball in from the left by Wyn Thomas, saw it misread by Dafydd Griffith and it bounced over his head and Venables picked up the loose ball to slot the ball past Stanton. The goal was very harsh on Town, especially for Griffith who hadn’t put a foot wrong all game. Town tried desperately hard to get an equaliser but the goal took the wind out of the Wellmen’s sails, and with a couple of minutes on the clock, Luke Sherbon feeds the ball through to Kellaway on the edge of Holywell’s penalty area, and he turns and fires the ball low into the bottom corner to win the game for Aberystwyth Town.
It was a remarkable performance by the Wellmen and at the end, and the 3-1 scoreline certainly flattered the Welsh Premier League side. Aberystwyth knew they had been in a fight and their faces at the end showed how relieved they were to have made it through to the final. The Wellmen went to congratulate the 600 or so supporters who had made the journey to Newtown to cheer on their heroes. Town’s fairy-tale was over for another year, but we have made many a new friends along the way, and the name Holywell Town will be in the record books for a long time to come as the only Tier 3 side to make it into the semi-final of the Welsh Cup.
Well done lads and thanks for the memories!