Haverfordwest County brought an end to their JD Cymru Premier regular season in fine fashion with a 4-1 victory over Airbus UK Broughton at the Hollingsworth Group Stadium on Saturday.
Goals from Jack Wilson and Henry Jones, along with a brace from Jordan Davies, were enough to give the Bluebirds a routine victory in north Wales.
With top spot in the Playoff Conference already secured, and the Wingmakers relegated weeks ago, there was nothing riding on the match, other than the opportunity for the Town to set a host of new club records in the top-flight.
The win ensured that County finished six points clear of nearest challengers Pontypridd United, with our attention now turning to the Europa Conference League play-offs – which take place next weekend.
Manager Tony Pennock made five changes to the team that drew with Aberystwyth Town on MD31, with Iori Humphreys, Ricky Watts, Harri John, Jack Leahy and Henry Jones all coming into the starting lineup, with academy products John Chesters, Lucas Davies and Seth Woodhouse taking their place on the bench.
Prior to kick-off, both teams observed a minute’s silence following the passing of chairman Rob Edwards’ mother on Thursday. We would like to thank Airbus UK Broughton for their understanding and assistance before the match.
The Bluebirds flew out of the traps, and after just four minutes they were ahead. After Jordan Davies had seen his lobbed effort tipped over the crossbar by Lewis Dutton, from the resulting corner the ball found its way to the feet of the forward, who rolled it home to make it 1-0. This goal ensured that Haverfordwest County set a new club record for goals scored in a 12-team top-flight campaign, beating their previous record of 45 from last season.
GÔL | GOAL – Jordan Davies
— Sgorio ⚽️ (@sgorio) April 22, 2023
Davies was involved again 10 minutes later when he got a shot away from inside the area, which was gathered by Dutton, before the hosts found an equaliser on the 20-minute mark when Jake Eyre raced onto a ball upfield before shooting past Zac Jones.
John, who was starting for the first time since December, was hugely impressive in the midfield, and he had a great chance to restore the Town’s lead nine minutes before the break when the ball broke for him inside the area, but his low effort was saved by Dutton to ensure the game remained all-square at the break.
The Bluebirds knew they had a couple more gears to go through in the second half, and just three minutes after the restart they were back in front when a perfectly-judged through ball from John played Davies in, and he composed himself before firing past Dutton to make it 2-1.
— Sgorio ⚽️ (@sgorio) April 22, 2023
Pennock’s men were well in their stride now, and they doubled their advantage just seven minutes later. The ball was worked down the left flank to Oscar Borg, who put a cross into the area to find Jack Leahy, who squared to the unmarked Wilson whose effort beat the wrong-footed Dutton to put County in a commanding position.
With the result beyond any reasonable doubt, the Town added extra gloss to the scoreline with 20 minutes remaining when a cross into the area from Davies wasn’t dealt with the home defence, allowing Jones to steal in and prod the ball home from point-blank range.
In the closing stages, Pennock was able to reward some of the club’s talented youngsters with first team football when he introduced Chesters, Davies and Woodhouse for the last five minutes or so, meaning the Bluebirds ended the game with five academy products on the pitch.
There was very little incident in the last few minutes, with both teams content to see the game out, as County ensured they kept up their momentum heading into a maiden European play-offs. Their impressive form over the course of Phase Two ensured their highest finishing position in a 12-team JD Cymru Premier (7th), their most points accumulated (47) and their fewest goals conceded (44).
We must now wait for the conclusion of Sunday’s JD Welsh Cup final to discover who we will face in the play-off semi-final. Should The New Saints defeat Bala Town, we will travel to Cardiff Metropolitan, while a Lakesiders victory will see us make the trip to Penybont. We will communicate the date of the match as soon as it’s confirmed.
Airbus UK Broughton: Dutton, Tomassen (C), Palmer, R. Edwards, Eyre (Crowther 70′), Cornish, Payne (Cooke 74′), Davies, Phillips (G. Edwards 57′), Rickett, Dean (Leblanc-Akpo 74′)
Substitutes not used: McHarrie, Nicholas, McManus
Yellow card: Eyre 59′
Haverfordwest County: Z. Jones (Chesters 85′), Wilson (Hawkins 76′), Jenkins (L. Davies 85′), Humphreys, Borg, Evans (Woodhouse 85′), Watts (C), H. John, H. Jones (Dugan 76′), Leahy, J. Davies
Substitutes not used: Abbruzzese, Shephard