Aberystwyth Exiles 1sts triumphed over AFC Butetown 2nds in the Sam Cornish Cup Quarter-Finals on a historic day for the club.
Manager James Naik made four changes from the team that lost to Gabalfa on Saturday. Reverting back to a 3-5-2, Keiran Patel and Will Brown returned to the defence, replacing Mike Cross and Matt Davies. Keirnan Pedder, after his impressive display for the seconds against Marshfield, came into the midfield along with Scott Phillips. The unavailable Rhodri Charles-Williams and Rory Wigmore making way.
After a delayed kick off the game started at a frantic pace. The Exiles took an early lead after 2
minutes. The ball was worked to Will Eastwood in the box and his first time lay off was smashed into the top right corner by Mark Lewis for his first Exiles goal. The lead didn’t last long though as Butetown hit back. A shot came in from the edge of the box and was parried by keeper Chris Jeacott but fell for the Butetown striker who made no mistake with the finish.
The Exiles tried to respond, testing the Butetown keeper on several occasions, with Pedder hitting the post. However they fell behind shortly after. Captain Brown was alleged to have committed a foul on the edge of the penalty area and the resulting free-kick was curled into the bottom right corner.
Aber continued to have the better of the play and finally got their reward after 35 mins. A free-kick was awarded to 5 yards inside the Butetown half. Michael Temple, who had scored two freekicks in his last two appearances, floated a ball into the box. Pedder found himself in clear space but deceived everyone by dummying a header, allowing the ball to nestle in the bottom corner. The teams went into the break level, both still confident of securing the semi final spot.
The Exiles regained the lead early in the second half. Some neat build up play down the right resulted in the ball falling to Pedder in the box after several ricochets and he managed to prod the ball passed the Butetown keeper.
They pushed on looking to put some daylight between the two teams and opened up a 2-goal cushion 5 minutes later. A long ball forward was majestically controlled by Eastwood who took one look and proceeded to lob the keeper from 30 yards. Soon after he had the chance to add his second goal after rounding the keeper but got his finish all wrong and sliced it wide.
Naik freshened the team up replacing the solid James Everett with Adam Compton, making his first-team debut after his outstanding performance on the weekend. Butetown piled on the pressure looking for a way back into the game and they finally made it pay. Pedder gave away a free-kick on the right hand touchline and the resulting ball was headed in at the back post to give Butetown a lifeline.
It didn’t last for long as the exiles restored their 2 goal advantage 3 minutes later. Another free-kick
from distance was played into the box by Temple and Eastwood knocked the ball back inside before slotting it across the keeper for his 29th goal of the season. Eastwood was replaced by Tom Davies as Naik tried to use the extra pace on the break, however it was Butetown who scored again within a minute of the change. A corner wasn’t dealt with and after Jeacott parried a shot that came through several bodies the rebound was again turned in with 5 minutes still on the clock.
Butetown kept pushing but the Aber defence held firm securing a semi-final against AFC Gabalfa – the first time the Seasideweres have got that far in a competition.