Dafabet Welsh Premier League
Aberystwyth Town 2
NEWTOWN were denied victory as old rivals Aberystwyth Town snatched a point at the last on New Year’s Eve.
Joe Clarke volleyed the Seasiders ahead and despite the Robins hitting back with two second-half strikes from Neil Mitchell and Luke Boundford the hosts were stung by Clarke’s last gasp leveller.
The result means Newtown go into 2017 in a relegation battle with 10 games to secure their top flight status.
The Robins went into the game with just 12 fit outfield players and a much changed squad was on the back foot in the first-half.
Luke Borrelli cut inside only to drill a low shot straight at home goalkeeper Dave Jones inside the opening quarter.
Aberystwyth sprung a counter attack on 13 minutes, with Dave Jones equal to a Luke Borrelli effort.
Kurtis March also dragged a shot wide while Luke Sherbon was only able to steer a header into Jones’ palms as the Seasiders continued to dictate the game.
The Robins looked to cause problems on the break but restricted to half chances with Joe Newtown’s deflected shot parried while Luke Boundford and Gavin Cadwallader’s tame headers failed to test goalkeeper Chris Mullock.
However it was Newtown who almost broke the deadlock when Neil Mitchell was teed up by Jordan Wells only to be denied by a fine save from the on-loan TNS stopper.
Aberystwyth led at the break with a sensational strike from Clarke who volleyed through a crowded goalmouth and into top corner from the edge of the area to leave Jones rooted.
The Robins wasted little time in levelling after the break when Craig Williams’ right wing corner was powerfully met on the near post by Mitchell who headed an unstoppable effort beyond Mullock.
Newtown enjoyed their best spell of the game as the Seasiders were forced back deep into their own half.
The impressive Ryan Kershaw volleyed onto bar before the ex-TNS youngster raced onto Mitchell’s weighted throughball to cross for Luke Boundford to lash home from 12 yards and send the home faithful into ecstasy.
However the goal galvanised the Seasiders who should have been level moments later when a goalmouth scramble saw Jones and Andy Jones combine to deny the visitors before March lashed over.
Jones back pedalled to tip Sam Rodon’s dipping header over the bar with 15 minutes remaining as the Seasiders laid siege.
Ryan Wollacott volleyed wide before a Cledan Davies free-kick dipped just wide of the upright as the Seasiders pressed.
In the dying embers of the match Davies’ right wing cross was headed on by Rodon for Clarke to drill a low shot past Jones to finally break Newtown’s resolve and clinch a deserved derby point.
The result kept Aberystwyth’s top six hopes alive though ensured a miserable end to 2016 for the Robins who now have 10 games to secure their unbroken top flight status.
NEWTOWN: Jones, Wells, Cadwallader, A Jones, Edwards, Fletcher, Kershaw, Williams, Mitchell, Boundford, Newton. Subs: Perry, Goodwin
See full story in the County Times