Manager Tony Pennock was pleased with the way his Haverfordwest County players dug in and battled to earn what could prove to be an important victory over Aberystwyth Town on Saturday.
The Bluebirds took all three points thanks to Ioan Evans’ second-half goal, collecting their first win on the road since November.
The Town move up to seventh place and top of the JD Cymru Premier Playoff Conferece following the result, and will hope to use it as a springboard for the remaining games of the campaign.
“It was always going to be a tough game coming to Aber, especially with the weather conditions today, that didn’t help the situation,” said Pennock. “But I thought that in the main we controlled the game, especially in the first half.
“I thought we played some good stuff, but Aber are a massive threat, we’ve seen that in the two previous games we played this season. They beat us here deservedly at the start of the season and it was a tough game at our place that we won.
“It was always going to be tight, and we’ve edged it today with a great finish by Ioan after a great strike by Henry.”
In the defeat at Park Avenue earlier in the season, the Bluebirds struggled to gain a foothold in the midfield, but this was a much more controlled display from Pennock’s men, who were rewarded for their efforts.
“We want the boys to be calm and composed when they’ve got the ball at their feet, that’s our strength really,” Pennock continued. “We’re not the most physical team, but we’ve dug in today and battled hard and we’ve got to do that for the remainder of the season.
“If we battle and do the things that we’re good at, then we’ll compete with most teams. We’ve shown that in spells this year, but now we need to kick on and four home games in the next five is an opportunity for us to try and pick up more points. All we can do is what we can do, we can’t worry about anybody else.”
The game’s key moment came when Evans found the net from close range after Henry Jones’ effort from range was saved. The midfielder, who can also play at full-back, produced an impressive display in his first start for over two months, much to the delight of Pennock.
“You can’t fault Ioan today,” he said. “He had an opportunity to start for the first time in a long time, and he’s played well. He’s obviously tired because he hasn’t played a match in quite some time, but then you look at Jack [Leahy] and Vealey coming on, when our bench is as strong as it is and we’ve got competition for places then it’s important.
“I thought Henry was excellent as well, but Vealey and Jack coming on then just helped us to steady the ship and gave us more legs, which is what our team is about.”
Prior to this match, the Town had a week’s break to prepare, but from here on in the remaining six matches will be played in consecutive weeks, something Pennock hopes will allow his team to build momentum and get into the right rhythm.
“That’s the aim. Like I said, four home games over our next five is important for us. Our home form has been very good, but obviously next week is a tough test, and we’ll probably have to be better than we were today to get something out of it. So that’s our aim. We’ll work hard in training this week and look forward to being back home.”
County were forced to shuffle their pack slightly due to the circumstances, with Ricky Watts filling in a gap in defence and producing a solid performance. Pennock believes this shows the depth of the squad, and something which should hold us in good stead for the remainder of the season.
“Patts [Kyle Patten] was carrying an injury, so he couldn’t play today. Oscar [Borg] is suspended. But when you look at the squad we’re starting to get now, like I said, it’s competition for places and people have to do their best. But we can also rest one or two because we’ve got great players who are not starting the game.
“That’s something I haven’t had all season, and for the next six games that’s the way it’s going to be really so that we’re fresh and can give our best on a Saturday afternoon.”