A hat-trick from Martell Taylor-Crossdale sent Haverfordwest County on their way to a convincing 5-0 victory over Colwyn Bay at the Ogi Bridge Meadow on Saturday.
The forward netted three times to record his first senior treble, with Rio Dyer and academy product Dan John adding to the tally with their first goals for the club to make it a comprehensive win for County.
Although the final scoreline showed a wide margin of victory for the Town, the Seagulls had opportunities to reduce the deficit but were denied on numerous occasions by an inspired display from Zac Jones.
Although the win sees County remain eighth in the standings, it ensures they remain in touch with those above them, as they closed the gap to sixth place Bala Town to four points with seven games remaining in Phase One.
Manager Tony Pennock made two changes to the team that drew 1-1 away at Newtown last Saturday, with Oscar Borg and Jack Wilson coming in for Rhys Abbruzzese and Kayden Williams-Lowe.
Haverfordwest County: Jones, MacNamara (Williams-Lowe 38′), Jenkins, Tabone (C), Borg, Wilson (Humphreys 57′), T. Owen, H. John, Hawkins, Dyer (J. Owen 74′), Taylor-Crossdale (D. John 74′)
Substitutes not used: Knott, Davies, Watts
It was the visitors who started the brighter of the two sides without looking overly threatening in attack, with the Bluebirds defence able to keep them at bay.
Having soaked up the early pressure, Pennock’s men went in front just before the quarter of an hour mark when a clever slide rule pass from Tyrese Owen played Taylor-Crossdale in, and the striker made no mistake by firing past Alfie Brooks on the angle to give the hosts the perfect start.
With their tails up, things got even better for County just four minutes later when, following a skirmish inside the Seagulls area, the ball found its way into the path of Dyer who powered it home from an almost identical position to the opener to double the Town’s advantage.
The visitors suffered a further setback on the half-hour mark when goalkeeper Brooks was injured following a collision with Owen. Despite attempting to shake it off, he was unable to do so and, without a goalkeeper on the bench, Sam Hart was forced to don the keeper’s jersey for the remainder of the contest.
The Bluebirds were then forced into making their first change of the afternoon seven minutes before the break when Aidan MacNamara was unable to continue, with Kayden Williams-Lowe coming on in his place.
Pennock and his players would have been content with a two-goal cushion at the interval but, with one minute of normal time left, it was 3-0 as Taylor Crossdale was played in one-on-one and saw his initial effort saved by Hart, but the rebound gave him the opportunity to roll the ball into an empty net and give County a commanding lead at half time.
With his confidence sky high as he searched for his first Bluebirds hat-trick, Taylor-Crossdale came close to doing so nine minutes after the restart when his shot from just outside the area was fumbled before the Seagulls defence was able to clear to safety.
It mattered little though as, two minutes later, the forward completed his maiden senior hat-trick. Having initially played Dyer in, the latter decided to square the ball to Taylor-Crossdale who cut inside and strode past Hart before rolling the ball in from just outside the six-yard box.
Owen had an effort on goal from just outside the area as the Bluebirds looked to increase the scoreline, but Hart was able to gather before substitute Iori Humphreys positioned himself perfectly to block Tom McCready’s close-range header.
Jones was having an impressive afternoon between the posts for County, and he was called into action to make a double save with just over 20 minutes remaining to preserve the clean sheet.
Goalscorers Taylor-Crossdale and Dyer were both substituted in the closing stages to a standing ovation around the Ogi Bridge Meadow, with Jacob Owen and John coming on in their place.
On just his fifth senior appearance for Haverfordwest County, John managed to get himself on the scoresheet to round the game off in perfect fashion as he was played in by Humphreys before advancing to the edge of the area and directing his shot past Hart and into the right side of the net to make it 5-0.
The Seagulls were desperate to find the net to ensure they had something to show for their efforts, and they again came close to doing so when Alex Downes’ header from inside the area looked to be heading for the right-hand corner, but Jones was once again on hand to react sharply and palm it behind.