Haverfordwest County were unable to back up their impressive victory over Penybont in midweek as they slipped a 2-0 defeat against Bala Town at Maes Tegid on Saturday.
A brace from George Newell was enough to earn the Lakesiders all three points in Gwynedd, with County left frustrated after not managing to replicate the performance levels they reached earlier in the week.
The Town had a few opportunities to get themselves on the scoreboard and perhaps achieve a different result, but the hosts were more clinical when their chances arrived and deserved to take the win.
County remain eighth in the standings after those around them also suffered defeats, with a visit to Latham Park next up for Tony Pennock’s side on October 28.
Manager Pennock made just one change to the team that was victorious on Tuesday evening, with Tyrese Owen – who returned from a one-game suspension – came in for Kayden Williams-Lowe. Meanwhile, Oscar Borg returned to the squad after sitting out the win four days earlier.
Haverfordwest County: Jones, MacNamara, Jenkins, Tabone, Abbruzzese, T. Owen (Williams-Lowe 76′), Watts (C), H. John (Fawcett 62′), Hawkins, Wilson (Dyer 76′), Taylor-Crossdale
Substitutes not used: Knott, Humphreys, Borg, J. Owen
It was the hosts who had the first opportunity of the game when Paulo Mendes’ close-range effort came back off the crossbar after seven minutes.
With much of the first half being a battle as both teams looked to settle into a consistent rhythm, efforts on goal were few and far between. It took until just after the half-hour mark for the Bluebirds to threaten when Jack Wilson received the ball on the right edge of the area before cutting onto his left foot and curling an effort just wide of the left post.
County were having a good spell at this stage, and just a minute later they had another effort when Dan Hawkins broke upfield and into the area before seeing his shot part-blocked by Kyle Harrison, which allowed former Town goalkeeper Kelland Absalom to gather without any trouble.
With the game still level as the fourth official’s board went up to signal added time at the end of the first half, the primary challenge for both teams was to try and negotiate their way to the interval unscathed. However, Haverfordwest County were unable to do so as a long ball upfield was headed into the area by Aeron Edwards and into the path of Newell, who controlled it before shooting past Zac Jones at the near post to make it 1-0.
Having been dealt a sucker punch just before the whistle, Pennock’s men could have suffered another a couple of minutes after the restart when a cross into the area from the right was headed narrowly over the bar by Ryan Rogers.
The Town were still very much in the contest at 1-0, and had a couple of opportunities to draw level in the early stages of the second half. First, Harri John’s shot from inside the area – after the ball had fallen to him from a corner – was blocked on its path to goal, before another corner found its way to the onrushing Wilson who fired a first-time effort agonisingly over the bar as the goal continued to allude County.
Their frustrations only grew when, just after the hour mark, the hosts were awarded a penalty when captain Ricky Watts was adjudged to have fouled Aeron Edwards after Jones had made an impressive save to deny Rogers from close range. Newell made no mistake from the spot to leave Haverfordwest County with a mountain to climb in the last half an hour.
The Bluebirds continued to plug away without any success as Wilson had a shot from just inside the area that was gathered by Absalom, before a sharp reaction save from Jones denied substitute Kieran Smith to keep the score at 2-0.
Martell Taylor-Crossdale sent a free-kick from just outside the area over the bar as the game neared its conclusion, somewhat summing up a frustrating afternoon for the Pembrokeshire Bluebirds who will need to dust themselves down ahead of a visit to in-form Newtown next Saturday.