Haverfordwest County got back on the winning trail with a welcome 1-0 victory over Cardiff Metropolitan at the Ogi Bridge Meadow on Tuesday night.
Jamie Veale’s free-kick 15 minutes from time – which a trio of players could realistically claim as theirs – gave the Bluebirds all three points from a keenly-contested midweek battle under the floodlights in the JD Cymru Premier.
In a game of few chances County eventually managed to find a way past an organised Archers defence, who kept them at bay for much of the contest, to secure a much-needed win which moves them up a place to seventh in the table.
Manager Tony Pennock made just the one change from Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Flint Town United, with Jazz Richards missing out and Iori Humphreys taking his place in the defence. There was also a timely return to the squad for defender Kyle Patten, who hadn’t featured since sustaining an injury in pre-season.
The Bluebirds were keen to get on the front foot right from the start, as captain Dylan Rees’ pinpoint ball upfield picked out Jack Wilson, whose dangerous cross from the byline was palmed away by goalkeeper Alex Lang after just three minutes.
A defensive error from the visitors nearly provided Pennock’s side with the chance to go ahead when a mistimed header rolled into the path of Jordan Davies, who saw his shot blocked by a last-ditch challenge from Emlyn Lewis.
The forward took a hefty knock in the tackle, which saw him require treatment, however he was able to play on and found himself involved again when the ball rebounded to him after Wilson had seen his shot saved, but he was denied once more by the Met defence.
Zac Jones had a fairly quiet evening in the Bluebirds goal, but he was called into action just before half-time when full-back Matt Chubb broke down the right wing before sprinting into the area and getting a shot away which was pushed to safety by the New Zealand stopper.
Pennock was forced into making a change at the interval, after striker Ben Fawcett had taken a knock in the closing stages of the first half, with wing-back Ryan George coming on in his place.
There was very little goalmouth action for either side in the first 30 minutes of the second half, with both defences very much on top. However, the spirits of the home side were lifted when Patten was introduced from the bench to replace Humphreys, and he soon made his mark on the game.
Shortly after Jordan Davies had seen his instinctive header fly just over the crossbar from the edge of the area, County took the lead when Veale’s free-kick from the left side flew past a number of bodies and into the back of the net, with Patten appearing to have a telling impact in ensuring the ball ended up in the Archers goal.
There was a warm ovation for youngster Harri John when he was replaced in the 83rd minute, after another composed display in the midfield on just his second start in the top-flight of Welsh football.
A minute after this, Wilson went close when a header from a free-kick landed in his path and he struck a first-time effort which flew just wide of the right post.
There were a few nervy moments in the closing stages for the Bluebirds, as the Students pressed for a late equaliser, however Pennock’s men held firm to claim an important three points with their first victory since the end of August.
Haverfordwest County are next in action on Saturday, October 1, when we travel to Deeside Stadium to face Connah’s Quay Nomads. You will be able to follow live updates of the game on our Twitter page.
Haverfordwest County: Jones, Wilson, Rees (C), Jenkins, Humphreys (Patten 65′), Abbruzzese, Scotcher, H. John (Watkins 83′), Veale, J. Davies, Fawcett (George 46′)
Substitutes not used: Idzi, L. Davies, Shephard, James
Yellow cards: Veale 81′
Cardiff Metropolitan: Lang, Chubb (Davies 45′), A. Jones, Lewis, Evans, Baker (C), Owen, Craven, Kabongo, Williams, S. Jones
Substitutes not used: Manson, Feltham, Bullock, Bowen, Humphries, Cockram
Yellow cards: Lewis 75′