An entertaining affair last night where Druids showed their quality and work rate for long periods of the game, only for small lapses of concentration to cost us against a clinical Aber side.
Druids went into this game looking to build and improve on our performance on Saturday and grab all three points this time out. While Aber were also desperately in need of a win after losing their opening three matches of Phase 2.
The match kicked off and it was Druids who started on the front foot. Darlington, Edge and Ethan Cartwright were working hard in midfield to win the ball for us and get it down playing. We were showing confidence to build up from the back starting with Mooney and Simpson and Faux and Arsan were causing a nuisance on the wings, driving at their defenders and getting balls in the box.
Aber however stayed disciplined in this opening period, restricting Druids to mainly half chances. Arsan, Flint, Edge and Faux all having opportunities around the edge of the area, either just off target or Aber keeper Connor Roberts being equal to it. However, we kept pressing and playing our football, looking for that opening goal.
As time went on, Aber began to grow into the game and gain more possession on the ball. Lee Jenkins had a few chances for The Seasiders, only for Michael Jones to be well positioned. Former Druid Jamie Reed also had a good chance just after the half hour mark, he pounced on a flick on by teammate Jonathan Evans and drove at goal, only for his strike on the angle to be saved well by Jones to keep it at 0-0.
However, minutes before halftime, Aber broke the deadlock. Captain Mark Williams was played through after making a darting run into our box and finished clinically, first time into the corner of the net. It was heartbreak for Druids who had dominated large parts of possession and felt they had done enough to be ahead. Then moments later, Aber had another. Williams picked the ball up in midfield and played the ball over for Jamie Reed through on goal. Michael Jones got a hand to his strike, but unfortunately wasn’t enough as it rolled inside the post to make it 2-0 to The Seasiders.
Druids went into halftime frustrated that two quick lapses of concentration had cost us two goals. We had showed great confidence and bravery to get on the ball and play the attractive football we know we are capable of, but were unable to put Aber to the sword early on. We went out for the second half aiming to keep playing our game and work our way back into it.
Despite positive signs from Druids as the second period began, Aber had their third early on when Williams and Reed linked up again through the middle, with Reedy finishing into the corner for his 100th Cymru Premier goal, effectively putting the tie to bed.
Druids continued to create opportunities despite the early setback with Josh Green firing over from the edge of the area and Naim Arsan’s strike being saved well by Roberts. We played some slick football to create these chances, but the Aber defence were well organised and doing enough to keep their clean sheet intact. As the second half came to a close, some of Druids youth players got their chance in the Cymru Premier with Max Pritchard and Brad Knight getting their debuts, along with Matty Marshall and Harry Fuller getting more minutes. All four of them made a great account of themselves coming on in terms of work rate and quality on the ball, which is a great positive for the club.
The referee eventually blew for fulltime in a disappointing result for Druids. However, we cannot fault the work rate and desire the lads put in and the confidence shown to get on the ball and play our football. Small lapses of concentration ultimately cost us against a clinical Aber side.
A word from Druids Chairman Des Williams:
“We have faced some very difficult days, both on and off the pitch, and our results on the pitch have highlighted our need to revamp our recruitment policy.
We have a squad of 28 football players but we have yet to consistently field our best team owing to injuries, personal commitments and the lockdown. Players have been asked to play in different positions, play 3 games in a week while working full time and some have played through injury and fatigue. They have given their all for the club and I can’t thank them enough or ask for more than they have given us. Now, we will start to rebuild the team for next season and get back on track”.
We are back in training on Thursday and the preparations for our next match at Newtown on Saturday are already underway.
We keep going!
More than just a football club