A professional away display from Haverfordwest County earned them a deserved 1-0 victory over Aberystwyth Town yesterday, a result which lifts the Bluebirds to the top of the JD Cymru Premier Playoff Conference.
Ioan Evans’ second-half goal was enough to give the Town all three points at Park Avenue, and a second consecutive win over the Seasiders.
In a game of few clear-cut chances, the Bluebirds were the more threatening side throughout, and contained their hosts well to limit the threat in cold and windy conditions by the seaside.
The result means the Bluebirds occupy seventh place once more with six games remaining in Phase Two, as the battle to secure the coveted play-off place looks to be going right down to the wire.
Manager Tony Pennock made three changes to the team that lost to Pontypridd United a fortnight ago, with Ricky Watts, Jack Wilson and Evans coming into the starting lineup.
After a relatively quiet start to the game, the first opportunity arrived on the 18-minute mark when Jordan Davies’ snapshot from inside the area was pushed behind by former County goalkeeper Matthew Turner.
The forward was involved again six minutes later when the Town regained possession in midfield and a lofted ball over the top played Davies in, but the Seasiders defence recovered just in time to deflect his effort behind.
Davies’ strike partner Ben Fawcett could have had a chance to open the scoring shortly after, but the ball wouldn’t drop kindly for him from a few yards out as the danger was averted.
After the hosts had been forced into their first change of the afternoon, with Sam Litchfield replaced by Harry Horwood, Lee Jenkins – who this week had been named in the Cymru C squad for their game against England C on March 21 – headed just wide of the right post from Henry Jones’ free-kick.
Pennock’s side came out for the second half with renewed energy, and just two minutes after the restart they had a good chance when Fawcett slid a ball through for Davies, but the defence was able to put enough pressure on so that his shot was gathered by Turner.
The key moment of the match arrived four minutes later, though, as Henry Jones tried his luck from distance and saw his shot pushed away by Turner, but only into the path of Evans who did well to place his first-time shot past the keeper and into the right corner to make it 1-0.
With their confidence up, the Bluebirds had two more opportunities in the next five minutes as Wilson saw a shot saved at the near post, before slicing a shot wide of the right post after some neat interplay had given him the chance inside the area.
Zac Jones had a relatively quiet afternoon in goal for Haverfordwest County, but in one of the rare moments he was called upon he did well to get a hand to substitute John Owen’s shot and divert it behind.
From here, the visitors managed the closing stages well, with Davies having a header saved by Turner as the Bluebirds edged closer to victory.
There was a nervy moment in the first minute of stoppage time when the ball fell kindly for Louis Bradford a few yards from goal, but the defence recovered sharply to get a block in to deny the defender and ensure the three points would return to Pembrokeshire.
The Town will be looking to build on this positive display when they return to action next Saturday, March 18, when we welcome Airbus UK Broughton to the Ogi Bridge Meadow. Kick-off is at 2.30pm.
Aberystwyth Town: Turner, Bradford, Litchfield (Horwood 37′), Thorn, Evans (Owen 59′), Lewis, Flint (Davies 78′), Cadwallader, Arnison (Canavan 79′), Walsh, Kirkman
Substitutes not used: Edge, Darlington
Yellow cards: Walsh 70′, Thorn 90+2′
Haverfordwest County: Z. Jones, Wilson, Jazz, Watts, Jenkins, Abbruzzese, Rees (C), Evans (Leahy 71′), H. Jones (Veale 71′), J. Davies, Fawcett (Dugan 87′)
Substitutes not used: Idzi, Humphreys, Patten, H. John
Yellow card: Evans 71′