Llanelli Town 2-4 Aberystwyth Town: Kellaway strikes twice as clinical Aber see off Reds at Stebonheath
Aberystwyth Town came out on top in a six-goal thriller with Llanelli Town, winning 4-2 at Stebonheath Park to continue their unbeaten start to Phase Two.
Midfielder Geoff Kellaway netted twice for the visitors, who finished the evening in seventh place, leapfrogging Cardiff Metropolitan.
Goals from Joe Clark and Joe Hunt threatened a potential Reds comeback, but Aber, with assistant manager Gavin Allen in charge were able to close the game out.
Andy Hill’s side remain six points from safety, occupying the second relegation spot in the JD Welsh Premier League.
The Reds had the first chance of the half, forward James Loveridge ran at the Aber defence and had support from Chris Jones who jinked, made space for a shot and fired straight at Terry McCormick.
Llanelli keeper Scott Coughlan was called upon for the first time when a good pass from Matthew Jones found Ashley Ruane, and his shot was parried behind by the Reds stopper.
Long balls into the box were proving productive for Aber, who switched the play well and found space regularly down the right side.
The hosts had a good opportunity just before the half-hour mark. Loveridge broke down the left side, decided not to pass inside to Michael George, beat his man on the outside and shot narrowly wide.
The initiative was with the visitors for much of the first half, with Llanelli seemingly happy to soak up pressure and then look to hit Aber on the break.
After a period of pressure, the opening goal went to the visitors after a corner from the right floated over everyone other than Paolo Mendes, who was unmarked at the far post and headed into the left corner to put his side ahead.
There was more set-piece joy moments later, when full-back Wes Baynes whipped in a corner from the left side, and saw the ball curl perfectly into the top right corner.
A frantic few minutes were capped off in first half stoppage time.
The lively Kellaway added another wonder goal to his name after cutting in from the right side, taking aim and unleashing a powerful effort which flew into the bottom left corner.
The Reds made a change at the break, with striker Emile Ngoy replacing Anthony Finselbach.
Andy Hill’s Reds pulled a goal back 10 minutes into the second half. A cross in from the left by Chris Jones was met by the head of defender Joe Clark. The quality of the ball in meant any contact from Clark would send the ball goal-bound.
The Seasiders restored their three-goal advantage five minutes later, after a squared ball from Marc Williams found Kellaway inside the box and the 32-year-old made no mistake, curling his shot into the right corner beyond a despairing Coughlan.
The deficit was reduced to two once again moments later.
Goalkeeper McCormick conceded a free-kick after rushing out of his area and bringing down Loveridge, and saw the resulting set-piece, taken by Joe Hunt, fly straight into the far corner.
Blustery conditions played their part throughout the game, with corners, goal-kicks and long balls all being affected by the strong winds in West Wales.
The Carmarthenshire side were once again left to rue defensive frailties, in a game where they showed plenty of promise going forward.
Next up for Aber is a trip to The Rock to face Cefn Druids (February 15) while Llanelli host Carmarthen Town (also February 15).
Llanelli: Coughlan, Alfie (Jenkins 76′), Hunt, Bevan, Tancock, Finselbach (Ngoy 45′), George (Dyer 63′), Davies, Clark (c), Jones, Loveridge.
Substitutes not used: Morgan, Khaton, Rees.
Aberystwyth: McCormick, Baynes, Wollacott, Kellaway (Phillips 75′), Mendes, Williams, Walker (c), C. Jones (Jenkins 38′), Edwards, M. Jones, Ruane.
Substitutes not used: Walters, Goodall, Cottam
(All images: Lewis Mitchell)