After returning to the top of the JD Welsh Premier League table with a 6-1 home win over Prestatyn Town the previous Saturday, The New Saints opened up a four point lead over second placed Cardiff Met University and third placed Connah’s Quay Nomands with a hard-earned 2-1 away win over lowly Aberystwyth Town at a very windy and at times showery Park Avenue on Friday evening.
However, that gap wa reduced to just a point on Saturday after Cardiff Met won 2-0 at home to Newtown with Nomads’ 1-1 home draw with Llandudno in the live TV game leaving them a further two points behind.
Meanwhile, Bangor City’s surprise 2-4 defeat away to Prestatyn on Friday night leaves them in fifth place, five points behind Saints.
Aber had gone into the game in next to bottom place in the table with a record of one win, three draws and five defeats from their nine league games so far, although The Seasiders had enjoyed a recent mini revival after taking five points from their last three league games including their first league win of the season the previous Saturday.
The first chance came Saints’ way in the third minute when Chris Seargeant cut in from outside the right of the box before firing his left foot shot from 20 yards well wide of Aber keeper Chris Mullock’s right hand post.
Saints went close again in the 11th minute when Ryan Brobbel cut in from the right before having his left foot shot well parried to his left by Mullock before the ball was cleared by former Saints defender John McKenna.
Then in the 15th minute, Aber took a shock lead when a flowing move on the left saw Ryan Wollacott link with Matthew Jones before Ryan Wade picked up the ball on the left of midfield, ran at the defence and played a one-two with Luke Borrelli before sending a cross-cum-shot across the six yard box for Declan Walker to fire past Saints keeper Paul Harrison.
A great chance came Saints’ way in the 26th minute when Seargeant’s long ball over the top from right to middle found Greg Draper who beat the offside trap and McKenna but past the keeper’s right hand post when he might have done better.
The visitors went close again in the 37th minute when Seargeant’s corner from the right found Aeron Edwards whose header was cleared off the lines by Jones.
Then in the 41st minute, Saints equalised when Wade’s back pass let in Draper whose right foot shot from 15 yards took a ricochet before being parried to his right by Mullock, with the rebound failing to Draper who fired his venomous left foot shots from 10 yards into Mullock’s top right hand corner.
Saints went 2-1 up just three minutes into the second half when a long ball over the top on the left from five yards inside his own half by Ryan Leak found Jamie Mullan who ran on and beat Walker on his way into the box before sending a low ball across the six yard box for Draper who got in ahead of the sliding in McKenna to fire yard his right foot shot from six yards into Mullock’s right hand corner.
Saints went close to extending their lead in the 51st minute when Seargeant’s free kick from 25 yards towards Mullock’s top left hand corner was tipped away to his left by the former Saints keeper.
Then at the other end in the 58th minute, some good Aber interplay in midfield led to Wade having his shot from 30 yards saved by Harrison.
The first substitution of the evening came in the 71st minute when Aber brought on Craig Hobson to replace Borrelli.
Saints went close in the 78th minute when Brobbel ran down the left and cut in before firing his right foot shot wide of Mullock’s right hand post.
The visitors went close again three minutes later when Mullan cut in from the left and beat his man before having his right foot shot held by Mullock.
Aber went close to equalising in the 82nd minute when Jon Owen’s cross the left found Walker who had made a late run to head over at the far post.
Saints’ first change of the night came in the 84th minute when Alex Darlington came on to replace Seargeant.
A good chance came Aber’s way in the 86th minute when Jones ran down the left but his cross saw Hobson fail to make a clean contact.
That was the last meaningful action and after Saints’ Chris Marriott had come on for Draper after 92 seconds of added time at the end to make his first team return after injury, the final blast of Wrexham referee Tom Williams’ whistle 39 seconds later confirmed Saints’ win.
However, they had been pushed all the way by a spirited Aber performance which belied their lowly league position.
Aber: Chris Mullock, Declan Walker, Jonny Spittle, Ryan Wollacott, Malcolm Melvin, Jon Owen, Luke Borrelli, Ryan Wade, Matthew Jones, Ashley Young, John McKenna.
Subs: Craig Hobson (for Borrelli 71), Joe Culshaw (not used), Jack Plimmer (not used), Joe Phillips (not used), Hari Horwood (not used), Hari Howe (not used), Lee Jenkins (not used).
Saints: Paul Harrison, Simon Spender, Connell Rawlinson, Jon Routledge, Chris Seargeant, Ryan Brobbel, Greg Draper, Jamie Mullan, Ryan Leak, Tom Halland, Aeron Edwards.
Subs: Chris Marriott (for Draper 90 + 2), Robbie Parry (not used), Aaron Jones (GK) (not used), Callum Roberts (not used), Ben Clark (not used), Alex Darlington (for Seargeant 84), Callum Jones (not used).