TWO injury time goals from Dwayne Coultress and Lee Surman saw Carmarthen Town snatch a 3-3 draw with Aberystwyth Town at Richmond Park on Sunday evening (Feb 25) as they kept their slim survival hopes alive.
Aber had led 3-1 thanks to an excellent hat trick from Declan Walker but Carmarthen never gave up and could have won it late on if it wasn’t for some goalkeeping heroics from Chris Mullock.
Nev Powell named an unchanged Aber side for the game which was played in front of the S4C cameras on a bitterly cold evening.
It was the Black and Greens who made the brighter start and they were rewarded with the first goal. Walker’s free kick went through the wall and deceived Carmarthen keeper Lewis Thomas and nestled in the back of the net.
Joe Phillips came close to adding a second for Aber but his controlled effort was blocked wide before Damien Allen sent a header over on the rebound.
The Old Gold began to grow into the game and could have levelled when Luke Bowen made space for himself but Mullock made a good save to keep it out.
However, just two minutes later Keiran Lewis sent a free kick into the box and it was Luke Bowen who rose highest to head the ball down and into the net to make it 1-1.
Both sides had chances to go ahead in the remainder of the first half as John Owen and Malcolm Melvin both came close for the visitors.
The whistle went and there was nothing separating the two teams with the game still very much up for grabs in the second half.
Aber again started well and three minutes in to the second half, Declan Walker was brought down in the area and the referee pointed to the spot. Walker picked himself up and sent the penalty into the back of the net despite Old Gold keeper Thomas guessing the right way.
Carmarthen were still a threat at the other end and after a corner wasn’t cleared properly the ball fell to Ceri Morgan on the edge of the box and his dipping effort looked to be going in until Mullock produced a stunning save to tip the ball over.
With just over an hour gone, Aber looked to extend their lead as John Owen picked up the ball in the middle of the Carmarthen half before squaring into the box for Walker who fired into the far corner to complete his hat trick and make it 3-1 to the visitors.
That seemingly all but ended any Carmarthen hopes of a fightback but they never gave up and came agonisingly close to pulling a goal back with ten minutes to go. Dwayne Coultress worked his way into the box only to see his shot tipped onto the underside of the bar by another fantastic Mullock save before it was cleared away from danger.
As the game entered stoppage time Luke Bowen sent a cross into the box and after the ball bounced off an Aber defender, Coultress was on hand to tap in the rebound and make it 3-2.
In the final minute of four added on, a lofted ball from Keiran Lewis dropped in the penalty area and Lee Surman was in the right place to stab the ball home and complete a remarkable comeback.
There was still time for more action as the Old Gold looked for a winner and Luke Bowen saw an effort deflected over for a corner. From the resulting corner Bowen headed towards goal but Mullock made a third brilliant save to keep the scores level.
That was the last of the action as the referee blew for full time and it left both sides to reflect on what might have been.
The point for Carmarthen means they are still eight points behind Aberystwyth with six games left to play.
Their next game sees them take on Barry Town United at Richmond Park on Friday, February 9.
Before that however, Carmarthen and Aberystwyth will do battle at Richmond Park once more as the teams play each other in the quarter final of the JD Welsh Cup, kick off 2:30pm.
If this game is anything to go by, Saturday’s cup tie is one that can’t be missed.