Haverfordwest County were held to a 2-2 draw by Caernarfon Town at the Ogi Bridge Meadow on Saturday, a result which extends the Bluebirds’ unbeaten run to three matches.
Jack Wilson gave the Town an early lead, before Gruffydd John equalised shortly after. Kyle Patten then restored our advantage in the second half, but an unfortunate own goal from Jordan Davies ensured the Canaries took a point with them back to north Wales.
It was ultimately a frustrating afternoon for the Bluebirds, who held the initiative for large parts of the contest against a Caernarfon side who always carried a threat on the counter-attack.
The result, which means County are now unbeaten in their last seven home matches, ensures we remain top of the Playoff Conference, three points ahead of Pontypridd United with four games remaining.
Manager Tony Pennock made three changes to the team that beat Airbus UK Broughton 4-0 a week prior, with Oscar Borg and Henry Jones coming into the side, while striker Dan Hawkins was handed his first start after scoring as a substitute against the Wingmakers. There was also a timely return to the squad for midfielder Corey Shephard, while Patten was named on the bench after missing the victory over Airbus.
After Rob Hughes had sent a shot from outside the area well wide of the left post, the Bluebirds created their first opening of the match when Hawkins slid a ball through to strike partner Davies, who saw his shot blocked.
The next opportunity for the Town ended with them taking the lead after 10 minutes, with a precise ball upfield from Jamie Veale picking out Wilson, who controlled it expertly before shooting past Josh Tibbetts into the left corner to make it 1-0.
However, just two minutes later, the Canaries drew level when a corner from the right side was met by John, who directed it in for a swift response.
Pennock’s men began to reassert themselves, and they worked the ball nicely into the area before Hawkins saw his right-footed effort roll just wide of the right post. Two minutes after this, a teasing ball into the area from Davies somehow evaded everyone before flying just wide of the same upright.
Jazz Richards was making his 50th appearance in all competitions for the Bluebirds, however his game ended in disappointing fashion when he landed awkwardly after challenging for an aerial ball and was forced off on the half-hour mark, with Patten coming on to replace the former Cymru international.
The Town were keen to find a second goal early in the second half, and they came close to doing so when Henry Jones’ cross into the area just needed a head to glance it goalwards, however the defence got a vital touch to clear the danger.
After Wilson and Jones had both sent efforts over the crossbar, the Bluebirds eventually found a deserved second goal when a ball into the area from Rhys Abbruzzese was squared to Patten by Wilson, and the defender slotted home to restore our advantage with 20 minutes left to play.
The home fans will have hoped that this was to be the winning goal, however for the second time in the match the north Walians swiftly responded when a long throw into the area was met by the head of Davies, who saw the ball beat Zac Jones in unfortunate circumstances to make it 2-2.
Shephard was introduced from the bench two minutes later to provide extra legs in midfield as County searched for a third goal, and they had a good chance to score it when Wilson’s cross into the area found Davies, but the forward was unable to direct his header on target.
Canaries substitute Lloyd Marsh-Hughes then headed home with nine minutes remaining, but the linesman’s flag went up for offside, before the visitors were reduced to 10 men when Darren Thomas was shown a second yellow card.
As expected, all of the momentum was with the Bluebirds in the closing stages, but the closest they came was when Abbruzzese’s half-volley from the left side of the area cleared the bar, as the Town were forced to settle for a share of the spoils.
Haverfordwest County return to action on Saturday, April 1, when we travel north to take on Flint Town United in our penultimate away game of the season.
Haverfordwest County: Z. Jones, Wilson, Jazz, Jenkins, Borg, Abbruzzese, Rees (C), Veale, H. Jones, J. Davies, Hawkins
Substitutes not used: Idzi, Humphreys, H. John, Dugan
Yellow card: Evans 67′
Caernarfon Town: Tibbetts, Cartwright, John, Donohue (C), Bradley, Gosset, Thomas, Hughes, Wynne, Faux, Alun Williams
Substitutes not used: Woods, Evans, Murtas
Yellow cards: Thomas 50′, Gosset 67′, Hughes 69′
Red card: Thomas 88′