Haverfordwest County brought the curtain down on their home campaign for 2022-23 with a 1-1 draw against Aberystwyth Town at the Ogi Bridge Meadow, a result which extended the Bluebirds’ unbeaten run on home turf to nine matches.
The game, which was played in front on the live Sgorio cameras, was a back-and-forth affair, with the Seasiders chasing a victory as they battle for survival in the JD Cymru Premier.
After Pontypridd United had defeated Caernarfon Town 2-1 earlier in the day, the Town knew that they had clinched their place in the end-of-season European play-offs, and this undoubtedly took some of the pressure off the match.
Defender Sam Litchfield gave the visitors the lead just before half-time, but his close range effort was cancelled out by Jack Leahy, who netted his first goal for the club to ensure a share of the spoils.
Manager Tony Pennock made just one change to the team that beat Pontypridd United 2-0 on Good Friday, with Ioan Evans coming in for the suspended Jamie Veale in midfield.
And it was Evans – who had been nominated for the Cymru Leagues Player of the Month award for March – who had the first sight on goal when, after two minutes, his shot from outside the area flew wide of the right post.
10 minutes later, Jack Wilson showed impressive control to take the ball under his spell before shooting wide of the right post.
There was plenty of attacking intent from County in the opening exchanges, but, at the other end, goalkeeper Zac Jones had to be alert to tip a looping header over the crossbar.
Having already netted 12 goals in the league this season, Jordan Davies came close to scoring his 13th when he met Oscar Borg’s cross from the left flank before heading narrowly wide of the right post.
The Bluebirds were on the front foot for much of the first half, and could have taken the lead on the half-hour mark when Wilson’s teasing ball into the area was glanced goalwards, however it was straight at the former Haverfordwest County goalkeeper, Matthew Turner, who was able to react and push it to safety.
Both teams will have been content to head into the break goalless and regather themselves, however on the stroke of half-time the Seasiders went ahead when the ball landed at the feet of Litchfield inside the area, and his shot on the turn crept into the right corner to deal the Town a blow.
Pennock’s men were keen to get themselves back in the contest as soon as possible after the restart, but it was the visitors who came close to doubling their lead after 51 minutes when Niall Flint’s shot from just outside the area rattled the crossbar.
This would prove to be a big moment in the match as, just three minutes later, County found the equaliser with a well worked team goal. Harri John, who made a real impression as a half-time substitute, laid the ball off to Dan Hawkins who flicked a clever pass over the top which Leahy latched on to before dinking it over the onrushing Turner to make it 1-1.
Now with the wind in their sails, the Bluebirds were ready to kick on and take command of the game, however their progress was checked when, after 73 minutes, defender Kyle Patten was shown a straight red card for a foul on Harry Arnison.
This moment could have turned the game on its head, but just two minutes later the hosts had a decent chance when the ball fell to Borg inside the area, but the defender was unable to adjust his feet in time to get a threatening shot away.
As expected, there were nervy moments aplenty in the closing stages as the Black and Greens threw men forward to try and find a winner, and they came close on a few occasions, but the Bluebirds dug in and ultimately did enough to earn themselves a point and extend their impressive unbeaten run at the Ogi Bridge Meadow.
Pennock’s men bring their regular season to a close on Saturday when they travel to the Hollingsworth Group Stadium to take on Airbus UK Broughton, hoping to continue their good run of form as they prepare for the play-offs in a few weeks time.
Haverfordwest County: Z. Jones, Wilson, Patten, Jenkins, Borg, Abbruzzese, Rees (C, H. John 46′), Shephard (Watts 76′), Evans (H. Jones 65′), J. Davies (Leahy 46′), Hawkins
Substitutes not used: Idzi, Humphreys, Dugan
Yellow cards: Rees 36, Abbruzzese 86′, Wilson 90+2′
Red card: Patten 73′
Aberystwyth Town: Turner, Bradford, Litchfield, Thorn (C), Lewis, Flint, Cadwallader, Arnison, Walsh, Darlington, Kirkman
Substitutes not used: D. Owen, J. Owen, Allen, Bales
Yellow cards: Cadwallader 13′, Lewis 23′, Arnison 77′