When the chance presented itself for a weekend away at the seaside in July, the opportunity was too good to miss a visit to the University town of Aberystwyth. Although the weather was hardly mid-Summer our fans travelled north in numbers.
With senior staff absent it was last season's interim guys who led the side as Matthew Harris started in midfield with Craig Reddy in the dugout. With some senior players also missing Craig Reddy was able to make the final assessment of a few trialist's.
In a feisty encounter played at a high tempo, the Martyrs enjoyed the majority of possession and territory in a goalless first half. The closest either side came to scoring was in the 20th minute when Lewis Powell found a slight gap between two Aberystwyth defenders to hit a low drive from the edge of the penalty area that Lewis Webb did well to save low to his right.
Two half time substitutes appeared to be a master stroke by Harris & Reddy as Ricardo Rees, under pressure from two defenders who had doubled up on the edge of the area, failed to prevent his through ball to the dynamic Frazer Thomas who ran into the penalty area to receive the pass from Rees, with a single touch to set up the shot he placed the ball skilfully under the body of Webb, who was making his debut for Aberystwyth on loan from parent Club Swansea, to put the Martyrs in front in the 57th minute.
Great build up play saw Gethyn Hill round Webb in the 68th minute and with an open goal at his mercy he was denied by a magnificent piece of defending as miraculously the Aberystwyth player was able to scramble the ball out for a corner. The introduction of Keiran Evans caused more problems for the over worked defence as he hypnotised five opposition players in the 71st minute with his quick feet to work his way into the penalty area, before unleashing a goal bound shot that deflected off a defender and saw Webb make yet another great save low down to his left to once again deny Merthyr.
Conceding a free kick outside the penalty area with just twenty minutes to play, presented Sam Phillips with an opportunity to equalise as his right foot shot over the three man wall was millimetre perfect to nestle into the top corner and give Jamie Cogman no chance whatsoever, it was so well placed.
With the game heading towards a stalemate Aberystwyth maintained their 100% pre-season record with a 94th minute winner. Another Sam Phillips free kick to the back post was headed back across goal into the middle of a crowded melee of players before an anonymous toe poked the ball home from close range.
The Martyrs will regret the missed chances in the second half that would have put the game beyond the hosts, as former Martyr Lewis Webb proved their nemesis with a string of great saves.