Manager Tony Pennock was pleased with the second-half performance of his Haverfordwest County team as the Bluebirds defeated Ammanford 2-0 at the Ogi Bridge Meadow to reach the fourth round of the JD Welsh Cup.
Goals from Ricky Watts and Martell Taylor-Crossdale were enough to see County through to the last 16 against a well organised visiting team.
After a low-key first half in which the visitors had the better of the chances, the Town went up a gear after the break to assert their authority and secure victory in front of what was the highest crowd across all of the third round ties this weekend.
Here’s what the manager had to say in full after the game:
On the performance
“We weren’t good enough first half. We gave Ammanford too much time, too many opportunities, and through our poor play and decision making, we were lucky to get in at half time 0-0. We take a clean sheet, had a chat at half time and we’ve come out and scored the first goal which was really important today.
“It was good to Ricky getting get his head on the ball and putting us ahead. He just uses his experience. We’re talking about it at half time. Lee Jenkins wins a lot of first balls from free-kicks and, at times, nobody anticipates he’s going to win it when they should know. Nine times out of 10, Lee Jenkins wins that first contact. That’s exactly what happened, and Wattsy took the chance and he’s got a header from three yards. He’s not going to miss from there. But apart from that I thought Wattsy was fantastic and Lee Jenkins too. A few other performances were okay, but overall we need to be better.
“We have to give Ammanford credit because they came with a game plan, they’re well coached, they’re well organised, they’ve got good staff on the touchline and you can see that in the way they play. They’ve got individuals who can hurt you, and we were lucky that we got away with a couple today.
“I know I can be critical of the boys, but I don’t ask a lot of them. I just want them to play and do the things they’re good at. And the second goal summed it up for me because Harri John wasn’t himself first half. Second half, he shows fantastic quality with his feet, which he does every night in training. Most games he plays in, he does that, and he opens up the ball for Martell to finish as well as he did from the edge of the box. They’re just doing the things we ask them to do. Harri does that more often than not, and Martell, we know he can finish like that. We’ve seen it in training, and hopefully now he’s got his confidence and he’s got his shooting boots on and he can go on and score a lot to goals for us this season.”
On keeping another clean sheet
“They had two opportunities first half that they put wide of the post, but they didn’t force Ifan into a save. I’m always pleased keeping a clean sheet because if you do that, you’ve got a chance of winning the game. We’ve done that today, and we’ve ended up winning the game. But Ifan making that save at the end from a free-kick, we gave the ball away needlessly there, put ourselves in a dangerous situation, but he’s made a fantastic save and he’s kept a clean sheet again in the cup, which is pleasing for us.”
On the return of Ben Fawcett to the squad
“Ben’s having a tough time. He was back in hospital a week before last with his illness, but when Ben says to me he’s OK to train – he’s trained this week – and he’s OK to be in the squad, Ben will be in the squad every time he says that to me because what he gives us, his energy, his enthusiasm, his work rate – he’s always going to be in my squad. All I want first and foremost is for Ben to be well and healthy, that’s the most important thing, and when he is, he’l play. We’ll just take Ben every week that goes by and see where he is.”
On building momentum ahead of a tough test next week
“It’s nice to keep clean sheets. Clean sheets gives you momentum and they give you the opportunity to score at the other end of the pitch, which we did last season. We’ve got seven tough league games left up until January the 13th, and we’ve got at least another game in the cup. We’re in the hat for the last 16. If we can get a home draw, it would be great. If we don’t, then we have to go and see what we face. But the most important thing is I want to recover and be ready for the game next weekend, because Connah’s Quay away is extremely tough.
“Last season I think both games were decided by one goal. And this year at home, obviously we had Martell sent off and the game got away from us after that. But Connah’s Quay, they’re an excellent side, they score a lot of goals. They’re second in the league for a reason, because they’re an excellent team. So we need to go away from home, show the same quality and same determination that we did away in Newtown a couple of weeks ago, and if we do that, then it gives usa chance of a positive performance. But first and foremost, we’ve got to get ready this week for a tough game next weekend.”