Haverfordwest County extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to five matches with a 1-1 draw against Cardiff Metropolitan at the Ogi Bridge Meadow on Tuesday night.
Tom Vincent had given the visitors the lead with the half-hour mark approaching, but his goal was cancelled out just before half time by Ben Fawcett, who found the net for the second time in as many games.
County’s first-half performance didn’t quite reach the same levels that they achieved in the win over Connah’s Quay Nomads last time out, which ended their 29-game unbeaten home record, but Fawcett’s goal gave them a real boost heading the break.
From there, it was the Town who had most of the play throughout the second half as we pressed for a second goal, but despite our best efforts we were unable to break down an Archers team who have proven very difficult to beat in the last few seasons.
The point sees us remain eighth in the standings, with results elsewhere meaning it’s a case of as you were as we head into the final five matches of Phase One, with the battle for top six places still very much open to a number of teams.
Manager Pennock picked the same starting 11 that defeated Connah’s Quay Nomads in our previous league outing, with Rhys Abbruzzese returning from injury and Dan John – who had missed the trip to Flint to feature in our 3-0 win over Colwyn Bay in the FAW Youth Cup – both starting from the bench.
Haverfordwest County: Jones, Williams-Lowe (MacNamara 64′), Tabone, Jenkins, Borg, Hawkins (Dyer 77′), Watts (C), H. John, J. Owen (Whitmore 64′), Fawcett, Taylor-Crossdale
Substitutes not used: Knott, Abbruzzese, Humphreys, D. John
The visitors had the ball in the net after five minutes when Joe Evans hooked the ball into an empty net from close range, however the linesman’s flag went up as Vincent was offside in the build-up.
The Bluebirds had their first opportunity of the night four minutes later when Martell Taylor-Crossdale broke into the area and created space for a shot, but he was dispossessed just as he was preparing to pull the trigger by a well-timed challenge from Sam Jones.
Much of the first half was an arm wrestle as both teams battled to get on the front foot without being able to create any clear-cut opportunities. However, just before the half-hour mark, the Archers took the lead when a corner was headed home at the near post by Vincent.
Having gone behind to a disappointing goal, the Bluebirds tried to get back into the contest before half time, and they had a chance to do so when strike partners Taylor-Crossdale and Fawcett exchanged passes inside the area, before the latter fired his effort over the crossbar.
Just a couple of minutes later, Jacob Owen – who was making his second start in the Cymru Premier – tried a speculative first-time effort from 25 yards which flew narrowly wide of the right post.
County continued to probe in the closing stages of the first half, and they got their reward when a cross into the area from Kayden Williams-Lowe wasn’t dealt with by the Students, and Fawcett reacted quickly to get to the loose ball and direct it into the right-hand corner to make it 1-1.
The Town were able to take the momentum from the equaliser into the second period, and Fawcett could have had an opportunity to score his second goal of the evening when a smart through ball from defender Luke Tabone looked to have played the forward in, but goalkeeper Alex Lang rushed off his line just in time to clear the ball to safety.
Pennock made a couple of changes shortly after the hour mark, with Aidan MacNamara and Kai Whitmore coming on to replace Williams-Lowe and Owen for the last half an hour or so.
The hosts came agonisingly close to taking the lead with just over 20 minutes left on the clock when a corner from Dan Hawkins was flicked on by the head of Tabone, but he saw the ball go agonisingly wide of the right post.
Rio Dyer was introduced from the bench with 15 minutes remaining to provide added energy as we searched for what would likely be a winning goal.
Conditions in the closing stages of the game started to become difficult for both sides as fog began to set in at the Ogi Bridge Meadow, but it was County who were looking the likelier to score as Dyer’s cross was headed over the bar by Fawcett.
That said, for all of our pressure in the second half, we could have been hit with a late sucker punch as a header from inside the area by Vincent went just wide of the right post.
There were five minutes added on, but neither side was able to trouble the goal with the draw probably a fair reflection of how the game had panned out, with chances at a premium.