First Team
Cymru Premier Sat 2 September Four Crosses Construction Arena
Colwyn Bay
  • Hill (56')
Haverfordwest County
  • Whitmore (70')
  • Taylor-Crossdale (87')

Manager Tony Pennock praised the fighting spirit of his Haverfordwest County players after the Bluebirds came from 1-0 down to defeat Colwyn Bay 2-1 yesterday and record our first league victory of the season.

Matthew Hill’s strike had given the Seagulls the lead in the second half, but County fought back with goals from Kai Whitmore and Martell Taylor-Crossdale – their first for the club – handing the Town a morale-boosting victory in north Wales.

Although the Bluebirds had to wait until MD5 to record their first win of 2023-24, the manager was quick to point out that his team have only lost once so far, with their willingness to fight until the last whistle a real positive to take from the early stages of the season.

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Here’s what he had to say in full after the game:

On the match…

“I’m pleased for the lads. They work so hard during the week and there’s been spells in games so far this season where they’ve been very good, but not long enough spells, and when you don’t capitalize on your opportunities in the good spells you get, teams punish you.

“Yet again today, we’ve given a sloppy goal away and we’re 1-0 down in the second half. But I give the boys credit again, they’ve come from behind and got us out of jail.”

On the fighting spirit we showed…

“That’s a definite positive. I thought in the first 20 minutes the game was scrappy. Colwyn Bay probably had the better of it without Zac making a save, and then we grew into the game and we created chance after chance in the last 20 minutes of the first half, but again they didn’t make a save. We hit the bar, we hit the post, a few flashed across the face of goal, and then we started the second half slow again and they got a goal.

(Pic by Lewis Mitchell/FAW)

“We changed the shape, had a change of personnel, bringing some fresh legs on which was needed. Today was probably the strongest bench we’ve had all season, and all four subs who came on were excellent. Fawcey [Ben Fawcett], Willy [Jack Wilson], and Kayden [Williams-Lowe] especially for his debut, and Dan John getting on the pitch. We needed them today because there were some tired legs out there, it was a tough game.”

“We’ve only lost one game in five, and that was against a team who I think will be top three this year.”

On Iori and Harri coming in to the starting line-up…

“Iori played a lot of games last season, and so did Harri. We only brought Iori off because we needed to change it, and we went to a back four with Kayden and Willy coming on. The youngsters have done well, but they need to keep doing well to give us that squad depth. When Harri gets on the ball, everybody can see what a good footballer he is. He just needs to get on the ball in the right areas, and he did that in the first half. Second half, he tired a bit.”

On Kayden Williams-Lowe making his debut…

“He’s getting fitter each week. He hasn’t really been fit enough to come off the bench in previous games, and the time of the game hasn’t been right for him. He was always going to come on at some stage today, same as Ben, same as Jack, and they’ve done excellent for me when they’ve come on. That’s what you want subs to do. I know they’re disappointed they’re not playing, but show your disappointment on the pitch when you come on and give me a decision to make next Saturday, because you’ve come on and changed the game for me. I just want people to make me make decisions. Far too easy it’s been at times this season already, and last season, that I haven’t got decisions to make on who starts the game, but if the subs keep doing things like that then it’ll make my job harder.”

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On the goals…

“Kai’s got in good positions and maybe he hasn’t got the shots in that he should have, but it was a good goal. We had plenty of opportunities like that early on in the game and we didn’t capitalize on them. I thought Jack did excellent not to take the shot on, and you could see Kai in a great position. That’s the type of decisions we need to be better at, and we haven’t been making those decisions. We’ve been thinking about ‘can I score?’ as opposed to ‘will somebody else have a better opportunity?’ Jack’s decision was excellent, and it was a tap in for Kai.

(Pic by Lewis Mitchell/FAW)

“And then the set piece – set pieces are massive in this division – and when we execute them the way we want to we cause teams problems with the height in our team, and that’s what happened today. It was a good ball into the right area, yes it was a scramble, but Martell is there, that’s where we went our strikers, in and around the penalty box, between the posts, and you’ll get more goals there than you will on the touch line.”

On getting our first win of the season…

“I think it took until November last year before we won our first away game. We’re one point away from where we were this time last year, and it’s doom and room around the place. Yes, we haven’t been playing well, we know that, but we’ve only lost one game in five, and that was against a team who I think will be top three this year.

“So, as frustrated as I’ve been, and as down as I’ve been about our performances, the boys have been told again today that we’ve only lost one out of five this season, and we’ve only lost three games in our last 18, which shows that we’ve got something about us, that we don’t get beaten easily anymore. So that’s pleasing, and like I said, winning on the road is always important, and I just wish we would get the first goal.”