Manager Tony Pennock expressed his delight after Haverfordwest County’s impressive 2-1 victory over Connah’s Quay Nomads at the Ogi Bridge Meadow last night.
Elliott Dugan’s sublime long-range effort and a penalty for Jordan Davies was enough to give the Bluebirds all three points from their final game of Phase One.
The win saw The Town jump up to seventh place, and ensures they will be top of the JD Cymru Premier Playoff Conference when it gets under way next weekend.
Here’s what the manager had to say after the full-time whistle:
A really impressive win for us tonight, and what a way to end Phase One, you must be absolutely delighted?
“I’m so proud of the boys. It was a tough game against a very good side. That was their first defeat in 20-something games for them over 90 minutes, isn’t it? So to beat the second-placed team in the league is a great achievement, and it just gives the boys a bit more belief in themselves really, because when we apply ourselves and work hard, win headers and tackles and block shots, then they’d be surprised what they can get out of a game.
“And that’s what we’ve had to do, especially later on in the game because we were tiring then. But three points against Connah’s Quay is a great achievement, we’re happy with that and we move on now ready for Caernarfon next week.”
It was a real overall performance wasn’t it? We had to dig in for large periods, but we showed a willingness to go forward as well?
“We’re a team that likes to get the ball forward and use our pace up front to cause teams problems. I thought we were very good when we lost to The New Saints a few weeks ago, they scored their third goal very late in the game and we were inn it for a long period. So it was important that we brought that performance tonight, and moving forward for the last 10 games of the season. If we do that, then we’ll give ourselves a chance of finishing as high as possible.”
You mentioned Connah’s Quay’s unbeaten record, and as well as that they had only conceded two or more goals in a game four times before tonight, so pleasing to look so dangerous in attack?
“It was. I think they’d kept six clean sheets on the bounce in all competitions, and that was something we said to the boys at half-time, we’ve scored two goals against a team that doesn’t concede and it shows how dangerous we can be at times.
“Obviously Elliott’s goal is a great strike, and then Henry wins a penalty which Jordan puts away. It gave us something to hold on to, and I think we did have opportunities in the second half on the breakaway, and we just need to be a bit more clinical with those and be a bit more tidy and not rush things, but everybody is human and we make mistakes. Sometimes the lads are just overly keen to finish things off, but if we show a bit more composure, which we can do – we see them doing it in training week in, week out – then we’re a good footballing team.”
As you said, we had to dig in during the second-half, but it looked like the team embraced it which must be pleasing?
“Early in the season, games like that we lost. We lost away at Connah’s Quay to a set piece that was from 40, 50 yards out and a second ball. When Newtown beat us at home it was a similar story, with efforts on goal from set pieces and balls forward, but we’ve got better as the season has progressed, and now we’ve got to keep doing that. We’ve got to keep improving on the areas that we’ve struggled at this year, and the lads are definitely listening, definitely taking things on board and long may that continue.”
Obviously our season has been pretty up and down, so it must be nice to show what we are really capable of in the last game of Phase One, and it really sets up an exciting Phase Two now?
“Our inconsistency has cost us really this year. We’ve been in games, especially away from home. At home we’ve won six and drawn two out of 11, our home form has been pretty solid. We lost to TNS, lost to Bala with 10 men and lost to Newtown, but away from home we haven’t been good enough. There’s too many games that we’ve been in and ended up losing where we should be taking at least a draw away from games. But hopefully we learn from that going into the second phase now, and we pick up more points away from home, because if we want to finish seventh, we’ve got to do better away from home than we have done this season.”
There’s now a break this weekend with Phase Two starting next Saturday away at Caernarfon, who might be our main rival for seventh place?
“I think there’s five teams all fighting for that seventh place, and we know how tough it’s going to be because we’ve had tough games against all five of those so far this season. So we know how tough it is and how much we’ve got to do if we want to finish anywhere near seventh place. That’s my aim, that’s the boys’ aim and that’s the club’s aim – and we’ll do everything we can to try and achieve that.”
Just turning to off-field matters, today was obviously transfer deadline day and we’ve brought in Jack Leahy from Cardiff to help bolster our attacking options, happy with the move?
“I’ve just said to Sgorio now, we need all our bodies, it’s a tough run in. We’ve had injuries all season, we know that, but we need as many bodies back fit and competing for places as we can. When we’ve got everybody available, then I’ve got a hard job to pick a team. There’s already boys who are not happy that they’re not playing, and I wouldn’t expect them to be happy sitting in the stand or sitting in the dugout. But when they get opportunities, it’s their chance to prove they can keep themselves in the team, and Jack will come in and compete with other people in the position that he plays in. He’ll give us another body in the attacking third of the pitch.”