Haverfordwest County extended their unbeaten run in the JD Cymru Premier Playoff Conference to five matches with a 2-0 victory over Pontypridd United at the Ogi Bridge Meadow on Good Friday.
Goals from strike partners Jordan Davies and Dan Hawkins were enough to give the Bluebirds all three points in front a 532-strong crowd at the Meadow.
In what was the Town’s penultimate home game of the season, they were able to record their first top-flight victory over the Dragons at the fourth time of asking with an impressive all-round display.
The result means that County have opened up a seven-point lead on nearest challengers Caernarfon Town, who are now the only team that can catch the Bluebirds. The Town have, however, played a game more than the north Walians.
Manager Tony Pennock made two changes to the side that beat Flint Town United 2-0 at the Essity Stadium a week prior, with captain Dylan Rees and Henry Jones returning to the midfield.
The hosts made a front-footed start to the game, and created the first opening after 10 minutes when Jordan Davies’ ball to the back post found Jones, who had his shot blocked behind for a corner, from which Lee Jenkins headed over the crossbar.
Davies then had an opportunity of his own when Jarrad Wright misjudged a header, allowing him to unleash a volley from just outside the area which was straight at George Ratcliffe.
The striker would make no mistake when his next opportunity arrived though as, with the half-hour mark approaching, a precise through ball from Hawkins played the forward in, and his left-footed effort beat Ratcliffe to find the right-hand corner of the net to give the Bluebirds the lead.
Andrew Strokes’ side could have drawn themselves level 10 minutes before half-time when Owain Jones had a chance to shoot on goal from inside the area, but some excellent last-ditch defending from the hosts prevented him from striking the ball cleanly and the danger was cleared.
Shooting towards the clubhouse end with a one-goal lead in the second half, the Bluebirds were keen to press home their advantage, but it was the visitors who had the first chance after the restart when the alert Zac Jones tipped Tom Davies’ long range effort over the crossbar.
In a second half of very few clear-cut opportunities, it was the Town who displayed their clinical touch just after the hour mark when Davies’ low ball into the area wasn’t dealt with by the Dragons defence, and Hawkins was on hand to prod it home from close range to double County’s advantage.
As expected, the visitors began to commit more bodies forward in search of a way back into the contest, but they were largely thwarted by a Bluebirds defence which has now kept four clean sheets in their last five outings.
Ben Margetson headed just over the bar late on, before substitute Corey Jenkins directed his header wide of the right post, as Pennock’s men clinched another important win which ensures their momentum continues into the last few weeks of the season.
Haverfordwest County are next in action on Saturday, April 15, when we host Aberystwyth Town in our final home game of the season at the Ogi Bridge Meadow. Kick-off is at the later time of 5.15pm, as the match has been selected for live coverage by Sgorio.
Haverfordwest County: Z. Jones, Wilson, Patten, Jenkins, Borg, Abbruzzese, Rees (C), Shephard (H. John 90+2′), H. Jones (Veale 64′), J. Davies (Dugan 90+2′), Hawkins (Leahy 71′)
Substitutes not used: Idzi, Humphreys, Evans
Yellow card: Veale 66′
Pontypridd United: Ratcliffe, Cummings (Bright 85′), Wright, Margetson, Evans (Karadogan 71′), Davies, Rees, Green (C), Jones (Jenkins 75′), Williams, Ahmun
Substitutes not used: Baldock, Bloom
Yellow cards: Margetson 85′, Davies 90+1′