20 Feb 2023
Eliot Richards scored a last-minute equaliser as Pontypridd United came back from 3-1 down to draw 3-3 with Aberystwyth Town.
Pontypridd’s second game of Phase 2 of the JD Cymru Premier was a roller coaster of emotions as secured an important point to stay out of the relegation zone.
It looked to be a goalless first half at Park Avenue, but Aberystwyth hit Ponty with a sucker punch blow with only minutes left to play. Jonathan Evans made no mistake by tapping home the opener after Ash Morris parried out an initial Daniel Evans strike when the Ponty defence was breached. Aber went into the break deservedly ahead with Ponty struggling to replicate the energy and performance from their win vs Airbus.
In the second half, the pressure kept piling on Ponty with Aber clearly smelling an opportunity to seek three important points. Not before long, the home side’s efforts paid off as Mark Cadwallader flicked home their second goal of the day. From an excellent corner, Cadwallader snuck in ahead of Ben Ahmun and superbly flicked the ball towards the near post, catching out Morris. From this moment it looked like Pontypridd were going to need a miracle to get back into the game.
As the 80th minute struck, a bit of luck fell Pontypridd’s way. Owain Jones, who scored against his former club earlier in the season, repeated the act as Aber’s Matthew Turner poorly spilt a long-range effort by Tom Davies. Jones’ goal gave Ponty a lifeline and manager Andrew Stokes went to try and capitalise on it with a couple of attacking substitutions, most notably the introduction of forward Eliot Richards.
With Ponty throwing numbers forward, their defence became more open which increased the risk of a counterattack by Aber. The hosts excellently capitalised on this which allowed Cadwallader to return to the 18-yard box, fire home and seemingly secure all three points. With the score at 3-1 and only three minutes left to play, all seemed lost for the Dragons.
The Dragons did not let the third goal get them down however as they continued to throw numbers forward. In one of their attacks, Davies produced a moment of magic as he smashed a perfect half-volley into the back of the net. This would be Davies’ first goal for the club, and it proved to be crucial in what eventually followed.
Deep into the final minute of added time, Richards became the hero as he headed home a dramatic equaliser. The excellent Davies, who also assisted on his debut vs Airbus, added to his goal by producing a fabulous cross which Richards guided well into the back of the net. Richards’ header was his first goal of the season, his first in Pontypridd United shirt and one of his most important, having secured a valuable point for the Dragons in their pursuit of safety.
After that incredible comeback performance, Ponty stay above the opponents in the league and more importantly remain outside of the relegation zone. Pontypridd will next face Haverfordwest County at the USW Sport Park, hoping to continue their unbeaten run in Phase 2.