Haverfordwest County suffered their first defeat of the new JD Cymru Premier season as they went down 2-0 to Pen-y-Bont at the SDM Glass Stadium.
Goals from Lewis Harling and Kane Owen secured victory for Rhys Griffiths’ side on a wet and windy night in Bridgend.
The Bluebirds had a couple of opportunities to find the net, but were unable to take them on a frustrating evening.
After two games, the Town find themselves ninth in the standings with one point to their name so far.
Manager Tony Pennock made one change to the side that drew 0-0 with Pontypridd United on the opening day, with Martell Taylor-Crossdale coming in for Harri John, while Kayden Williams-Lowe and Ricky Watts were both added to the bench in place of academy products Jey Uddin and Seth Woodhouse.
Haverfordwest County: Jones, Wilson (Watts 45′), Jenkins, Tabone (C), Borg, Abbruzzese, Whitmore, Owen, Hawkins, Fawcett, Taylor-Crossdale (H. John 77′)
Substitutes not used: Knott, Davies, Williams-Lowe, Humphreys, D. John
It was County who started the better of the two sides, and with five minutes on the clock an inviting ball into the area from the right side by Jack Wilson was waiting to be met, but it just evaded the couple of Bluebirds in the box.
On his first start in the JD Cymru Premier, Taylor-Crossdale was keen to make a positive impression, and his willingness to chase a seemingly lost cause almost earned him his first goal as he did well to close down goalkeeper Alex Harris’ attempted goal kick, before seeing the ball sneak just wide of the left post.
The striker was involved again five minutes later when he read an attempted back pass perfectly before intercepting the ball and rounding the goalkeeper, but his goal-bound effort was cleared just in time by the home defence.
The hosts were kept largely at bay in the first half, with Keyon Reffell’s shot from inside the area a rare attempt on goal. However, nine minutes before half time, they took the lead when a cross into the area from the right side by Mark Little picked out the unmarked Lewis Harling, who did well to direct his powerful header into the top left corner to make it 1-0.
There was still time remaining in the half for Ben Fawcett to have a couple of opportunities, firstly when he broke upfield and advanced to the edge of the area before seeing his curling effort saved low down by Harris, and then when he almost directed Taylor-Crossdale’s pinpoint ball to the far post on target, before seeing it hit the side netting.
Pennock made an alteration for the second half, with Watts coming on to replace Wilson as the Town looked for a way back into the contest.
In truth, both teams struggled to build many threatening phases of attacking play, with the conditions playing a big part in stymieing them. The experienced Bont had something to protect, though, and were doing a capable job of keeping the Bluebirds at bay.
It wasn’t until the 78th minute that either team had a second-half effort on goal, and unfortunately for Pennock’s men it resulted in a second goal for the hosts as Zac Jones’ punched clearance fell into the path of Owen, whose first-time effort looped over everyone and crept under the crossbar for 2-0.
Fawcett had another two efforts on goal in the closing stages, with his effort from the left of the area tipped over the bar by Harris, before Luke Tabone headed a ball into his path from a few yards out, however he fired over to sum up a frustrating evening for the Bluebirds.
Haverfordwest County are next in action on Saturday, August 26 when we welcome Caernarfon Town to the Ogi Bridge Meadow. Kick-off is at 2.30pm.