Manager Tony Pennock was impressed with the way his Haverfordwest County team stuck to their task throughout in the hard-fought 1-1 draw away at Newtown yesterday, as the Bluebirds added another point to their tally in the JD Cymru Premier.
An own goal from Robins goalkeeper Andy Wycherley, which resulted from Rhys Abbruzzese’s goalbound effort, cancelled out Aaron Williams’ early opener and proved to be enough for the spoils to be shared come the final whistle.
In what was the Bluebirds’ first visit to Latham Park since their European play-off final victory back in April, Pennock’s men had to battle hard to earn the point, something which certainly pleased the manager as we gear up for the final eight games of Phase One.
Here’s what he had to say in full after the game:
On being satisfied with the result
“A point away from home is something that I’ll always take in this division. We worked hard to get it. We caused our own problems at times, but in the main I thought the boys, they’re in that dressing room and they know they’ve been in the game. That’s all we ask of them, to come off the pitch knowing that you’ve been in a game, and they have. They’ve got a point, and they deserve it.”
On the overall performance
“I can’t fault the boys after the first four minutes. We didn’t start well. We gave them two long throws and a free-kick in the first three minutes, and they scored from one of them. We’ve got to defend our box better. We’ve got to land on second balls better in and around our box because Newtown are very good at it. They’re a good side. I’m sure they’ve won seven out of their last nine games, and you don’t do that by accident. Newtown are a very good team and they’re having a good season, which I’d expect them to with the players and staff they’ve got, so to come here and get a point, I think that’s two wins, two draws, two defeats in our last six.
“If we can improve that form then we’ll go into Phase Two a lot more confident, and if we can get one or two players back from injury, then, Phase Two will be better for us, but there’s a lot of games left to play, a lot of points, and we’ll keep pushing as hard as we can.”
On dealing with Newtown’s physicality
“Apart from the set-pieces and diagonals into our box, I can’t remember Zac having much to do in open play. But that’s what Newtown do, and they’re very good at it. They’re a good side, good, strong players, experienced players, and I thought our youngsters did well today to come through the game. It was the same as they did a couple of weeks ago against Penybont.
“They’re the type of performances we need to put in week in, week out, and when you come off the pitch knowing you’ve worked hard, there’s no excuses, then you take the result whichever way it goes. But I thought they did well enough to earn a point today.”
On demonstrating our capabilities away from home
“It’s all about consistency. We’ve been talking about that for a long time. Like I said, look at the last six games, we beat Aberystwyth, beat Penybont. In both those games we played really good football and in good periods. The point away at Met, it was a hard-working point. We played well, but conceded late on.
“The draw today, we had to work hard, and Pontypridd away, second half I thought we were fantastic, we just didn’t take the opportunities when they come to us, even with ten men. And even the second half at Bala I thought we were okay. First half we were very poor at Bala, but second half we played a lot better. The second goal killed us at Bala.
“We need to be consistent in our decision-making all over the pitch. Not just in the final third, but in defence and some of the things we do at certain times in the game need to be better. We need to manage the game better. The boys are starting to learn slowly.
“We’re the youngest team in the league, and we’re a bit naive at times. But the more we can help them with that and the more they learn from other teams – because other teams do it very well – then it bodes well for the future. But we’ll take a point and move on to Colwyn Bay at home next week.”
On the upcoming challenges ahead
“We’ve got tough games ahead. We’ve got five home games in our last eight [in Phase One]. We have to do what we did last season. Our home form last year was fantastic. We’ve won our last two home games, and we need to carry that on. If we do that, and do the basics well, then we’ll climb the table.”