Manager Tony Pennock was pleased with the way his Haverfordwest County team competed physically against Bala Town in the 1-1 draw at Maes Tegid on Saturday.
The Bluebirds took a deserved first-half lead thanks to a well-taken goal from Jack Wilson, before Oliver Shannon equalised with less than 10 minutes remaining to ensure a share of the spoils.
The result means that Pennock’s side remain undefeated after their opening three games, following the Nathaniel MG Cup victory over Barry Town United and the win against Caernarfon Town in the opening game of the JD Cymru Premier season.
“I would definitely have taken a point before the game,” Pennock said. “Bala are a very strong team, very experienced, and they’ve been successful in this division for a number of years now. So, coming here, we would have definitely taken a point, and then at the end we held on and took the point.
The game saw very few clear-cut chances, but it was the Bluebirds who created the best opportunities, with Pennock left to rue his team not finding the net more than once.
“On the balance of play and the opportunities we made, especially in the first-half and then a couple of good chances at the start of the second-half, their keeper has made two very good saves, tipping Jordan’s shot on to the post and then the one-on-one with Ben [Fawcett] in the second-half.
“So their keeper has had more to do today than ours, but if you don’t take your chances then teams are staying in the game at 1-0, and that’s what Bala do – they do it very well – and when they got their good chance, they took it, and that’s it, it’s a point and we move on.”
The same fixture last season saw the Bluebirds go down to a heavy 6-2 defeat, but Saturday’s performance was much improved, most notably with how County dealt with the physical challenge posed by the Lakesiders, an aspect of the game which pleased the manager.
“Coming here, with the way Bala play, we knew we had to match their physicality, and I thought the boys were very good at that today.
“It’s something that we’ve spoken about, where we have to compete physically with teams and try to stop what they’re good at, and for the vast majority of the game we did that. We limited them to very few chances, but, at the same time, when we’ve got chances we’ve got to take them, and we didn’t take them today.”
The goal which gave the Bluebirds the lead was an eye-catching one, with a pinpoint ball upfield from Henry Jones – which will be a contender for assist of the season – landed at the feet of Wilson, who showed good composure to fire it past Alex Ramsay for his first league goal of the season.
“Forward players thrive off scoring goals,” said Pennock. “Jack has had a difficult chance, but he took it really well. It was a great goal, a great team goal.
“I’m pleased for Jack, but listen, I don’t really care who scores as long as we score goals, and all of the players need to share that. We’ve spoken about it in the dressing room, it’s not just down to the strikers to win games of football, we had enough set-pieces today to get on the end of one of those, but we didn’t do it, and Bala punished us when they had their chance.”