Haverfordwest County recorded their first victory of Phase Two in the JD Cymru Premier with a confident 3-1 win over Flint Town United at the Ogi Bridge Meadow on Saturday.
Goals from Rhys Abbruzzese, Jordan Davies and Ben Fawcett were enough to hand the Bluebirds all three points against the Silkmen, who scored a solitary goal through Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro.
County were in command for the majority of the match in front of a healthy home crowd who were sent home happy after seeing their team record back-to-back wins at the Meadow.
The result means the Town remain in eighth place, still a point behind Caernarfon Town, but now with a spring in their step after a deserved victory.
Manager Tony Pennock made three changes to the side that took on Caernarfon Town, with captain Dylan Rees and striker Jordan Davies returning, as defender Oscar Borg was handed his Haverfordwest County debut.
Keen to make a fast start, the Bluebirds did just that when, after only five minutes, Jack Leahy’s shot from distance was parried into the path of Rhys Abbruzzese, who collected and fired past Harry Allen at the near post to make it 1-0.
The wing-back then went from goalscorer to goalsaver five minutes later when he positioned himself on the goal line to head clear and deny the visitors a certain goal.
Pennock’s men were on the front foot in the opening exchanges, and they were able to make their positive start tell on the scoreline when they doubled their advantage on the 15-minute mark, when Henry Jones’ cross into the area was glanced on by Jordan Davies and over Allen before finding the right corner to make it 2-0.
As expected, the Silkmen then had periods of pressure as they searched for a way back into the game, with Zac Jones called into action to make a sharp reaction catch after Harry Owen had stuck a foot out to divert the ball goalwards from close range.
Then, with half-time approaching, Lee Fowler’s side halved the deficit when Bobby Beaumont’s ball into the area picked out the unmarked Akpa Akpro who headed in from point-blank range to set up an intriguing second half in west Wales.
This will have given the north Walians a shot in the arm heading into the interval, and some onlookers may have expected them to have a big say in the second half. However, the Bluebirds stepped it up a gear after the break.
Six miutes after the restart, Abbruzzese came agonisingly close to scoring a second goal when his sweetly-struck half-volley from just outside the area came back off the right post.
Fawcett and Jack Leahy – who was making his home debut – then had opportunities from 20 yards which cleared the crossbar, before the latter couldn’t quite sort his feet out in time to get a shot away from Henry Jones’ pinpoint cross into the area.
With 25 minutes remaining, there was a fright for Flint when a lofted ball into the box appeared simple for Allenn to gather, however he fumbled his attempted catch and saw the ball creep just over the bar to spare his blushes.
Despite having been on top throughout the second half, the Bluebirds could have found themselves level with just over quarter of an hour left as the ball broke for Zack Clarke who advanced through on goal, but Zac Jones did well to sprint out and make a vital save to keep the score at 2-1.
This potential turning point was followed by another five minutes later when Flint defender Anthony Stephens was shown a second yellow card for dissent to leave the Silkmen with 10 men for the final 10 minutes or so.
The Town did well to keep their opponents at bay in the closing stages, and were able to round the afteroon off in style when they counter-attacked after Flint had committed numbers forward, before Jordan Davies squared to the unmarked Fawcett who rolled the ball into an empty net from 20 yards out to clinch the victory.
The Bluebirds are next in action on Saturday, February 25, when they travel to the USW Sport Park to take on Pontypridd United. Kick-off is at 2.30pm.
Haverfordwest County: Z. Jones, Jazz (Wilson 50′), Patten, Jenkins, Borg, Abbruzzese, Rees (C, Watts 62′), Leahy (Veale 61′), H. Jones (H. John 79′), Fawcett, J. Davies
Substitutes not used: Idzi, Humphreys, Dugan
Yellow cards: H. Jones 32′, Fawcett 60′, Z. Jones 90+2′
Flint Town United: Allen, Stephens, H. Owen, Harrison (Ibrahim 80′), J. Owen (Carroll 46′), Clarke (Hughes 90′), Simmonds (Kavanagh 56′), Diau, Beaumont, Garratt, Akpa Akpro
Substitutes not used: Johnson, Huxley, El Amri
Yellow cards: J. Owen 35′, Stephens 61′, Clarke 70′, Beaumont 83′
Red card: Stephens 79′