Jordan Follows supplied quality footwork with two expertly crafted second half goals, to provide Aberystwyth with a stunning three points, in a quality second half performance against Port Talbot Town. (reports Robert Clement).
It was a see-sawing contest for the first sixty three minutes, with the Steelmen having their lead twice cancelled out, but it was the current Welsh U23’s international striker, whose last appearance at the Gen-Quip stadium was against Turkey last month, and on this occasion he underlined his skill and technical ability to deadly effect with match winning goals.
Following their 3-2 defeat at Bala two weeks ago, the Black and Green’s made one change to their starting line-up with long serving Glyndwr Hughes returning in place of Declan Carroll. Meanwhile for Port Talbot, David Brooks replaced the suspended Cortez Belle and Lee John began in place of Jake Parry.
With Port Talbot having already gained a resounding 5-0 victory at Park Avenue in September, it was Brooks who made a sixth minute breakthrough with a vital impact, after having taken only 180 seconds to hit the target, when the teams last met at the beginning of the campaign.
Jeff White brushed aside a challenge from Wyn Thomas to pick out Daniel Thomas, and although his shot was blocked by Mike Lewis, it was Brooks who applied a sweetly struck angled finish.
Aberystwyth sparked into life on nineteen minutes when Hughes advanced into the danger area, only to see his goal strike touched over the bar by David Burnett, after Follows had produced a bursting run forward.
With Port Talbot also full of running, they threatened to add a second goal when Lewis Harling, high on confidence made swift progress forward, and a perfectly flighted cross was seized upon by White, only for the former Bridgend Street striker to witness his shot being saved by Lewis.
There was another piece of attacking play from Port Talbot during the 34th minute, with White rolling the ball into the path of Daniel Thomas; he then produced an electrifying burst of speed, and with only Lewis blocking his vision of the target, it was the Cambrian Coast shot stopper who abruptly halted the attempt, getting down quickly to smoother the shot.
Aberystwyth began the second period with a fresh sense of urgency, with the help of visual awareness from Cledan Davies picking out Matthew Collins, and the ex Fulham and Swansea City midfielder planted a low shot beyond the reach of goalkeeper David Burnett to draw level.
With Port Talbot having surrendered the lead three minutes after the break, they responded with a second goal just before the hour, with Brooks embarking on a surging run down the left side; his by-line delivery was then snapped onto by White, who then pulled the trigger with a superb close range header.
The Seasider’s battled back once again following that second setback, and equalised with a priceless goal from the established Hughes, who made no mistake heading home from a Collins free kick.
There was a golden opportunity for Follows to add his name to the score sheet after seventy two minutes, when having lost the attention of Dylan Blain; he whacked a stunning shot which rebounded back off the upright.
Aberystwyth were now beginning to display more purpose and precision and it was an individual burst forward by Follows which mesmerized the Port Talbot defence, with him able to reap the reward for his attacking creativity, with a quality right footed finish.
Follows continued to produce a display of energy and invention to register his second goal with a minute remaining, when substitute Carroll played a neat pass into the feet of the former Llanelli frontrunner, which then allowed him to send a splendid shot home from fifteen yards.
Following the stunning second half response, to record only their second league victory away from Park Avenue this season, Aberystwyth Town’s assistant manager Ian Hughes spoke with Robert Clement in the Gen Quip media centre, about the improved team performance following their 3-2 defeat at Bala two week’s ago.
“Yes, it was important today, we did well at Maes Tegid for seventy minutes of the game and it was disappointing to leave there with nothing, but performances have been improving of late, and again it was a testament to the players in the second half that they scored four goals”.
Hughes then responded to the situation of Port Talbot moving ahead on two occasions only for the Black & Green’s to provide an inspired response.
“We’ve done that quite well over the last two or three games; it was regrettable to concede an early goal, so we need to look at that, but the fighting spirit which the boys have shown is a credit to them”.
The Anglesey born coach then remarked on the two goals from Jordan Follows, which directed the three points towards Park Avenue.
“To be fair he’s done really well with two well taken goals for us since the beginning of the season, and over the last month he’s become one of the leading players in this league”.
With the three points to move them away from basement side Afan Lido, Hughes spoke about the prospect of climbing the table, especially following this impressive outcome.
“We’ve been looking at that, and we’ve still got aspirations of finishing in the top six; we’re still fight for that towards Christmas and the New Year and this result has certainly provided us with half a chance”.
Port Talbot manager Mark Jones then underlined the situation of looking the better team for the first sixty minutes.
“I’m very disappointed, 2-1 up with just over thirty minutes to go and looking good having scored a great second goal as well which got us back on top, but we gave three bad goals away towards the end and I’m not happy at all”.
He added, “Jordan Follows is a good player and we made him look like Dennis Bergkamp for the last twenty five minutes; we didn’t get a tackle on him, we didn’t close him down and he tore us to pieces, and well done to the boy because it was a wonderful performance from him, but it’s a bad performance by us again”.
Jones was then asked if conceding goals so soon in the second forced him to alter his game plan.
“You’re 1-0 up at halftime, and I think we should have won the game theoretically during that time, but fair play to Aberystwyth they came back and stole the result. We definitely missed Cortez Belle because Glyndwr Hughes is outstanding in the air and we’re not very happy al all”.
“All the hard work of climbing into the top six over the last couple of weeks has been undone today, so we’ve all got to start again next week with a tough fixture at Airbus, but I keep saying every week, there are no certainties in this league”.
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