First Team
Cymru Premier Fri 15 March Ogi Bridge Meadow Stadium
Haverfordwest County
  • Hawkins (45+1')
  • Taylor-Crossdale (58')
Aberystwyth Town

Haverfordwest County defeated 10-man Aberystwyth Town 2-0 at the Ogi Bridge Meadow on Friday night to record our first victory of Phase Two.

Goals from Dan Hawkins and Martell Taylor-Crossdale were enough to earn the Bluebirds all three points in front of another healthy crowd under the lights.

The Seasiders played over an hour with 10 men after goalkeeper Oliver Basey was shown a straight red card for preventing a clear goalscoring opportunity for Taylor-Crossdale, who was unsuccessful with the resulting penalty kick.

County, as expected, saw the vast majority of the ball from this point on, and they were able to make their man advantage count in what was the fourth and final meeting with the Black and Greens this season.

The result sees the Town move four points clear of eighth placed Penybont for the time being, with the Bridgend side in action against Colwyn Bay on Saturday afternoon.

The players walk out of the tunnel alongside the Academy under-9 mascots
The players walk out of the tunnel alongside the Academy under-9 mascots. © RawPhotography
Team news

Manager Tony Pennock made four changes to the side that lost 1-0 to Penybont last Friday, as Oscar Borg, Kai Whitmore, Jack Wilson and Taylor-Crossdale came in for Jazz Richards, Aidan MacNamara, Luke Tabone and Rio Dyer. On the bench, there was a first appearance in a matchday squad for Declan Carroll since his return to the club, while youngster Fletcher Picton was named in a JD Cymru Premier squad for the first time after impressing for the Development team this season.

Haverfordwest County: Jones, Wilson, Jenkins, Borg, Abbruzzese, Watts (C), Shephard, Whitmore, Hawkins, Fawcett, Taylor-Crossdale

Substitutes not used: Knott, Davies

First half

It was the Bluebirds who had the first effort on goal when the ball fell into the path of Ricky Watts from the second phase after Wilson’s long throw into the area, but his close-range effort was deflected over the crossbar.

Zac Jones was called into action for the first time on the 18 minute mark when he got down to save Zac Hartley’s low effort from the left side of the area.

Rhys Abbruzzese turned in another typically all-action display for the Bluebirds, and he tried his luck with a right-footed curling effort from 25 yards which was gathered by Basey.

Goalkeeper Oliver Basey is sent off for Aberystwyth Town
Goalkeeper Oliver Basey is sent off for Aberystwyth Town. © RawPhotography

The key moment of the match arrived with the half-hour mark approaching when a precise through ball from Hawkins played Taylor-Crossdale through one-on-one, and the striker took the ball around Basey before being brought down, with referee Nick Pratt brandishing a red card.

With the Seasiders not having a goalkeeper on the bench, forward Jonathan Evans donned the gloves and guessed the right way to deny Taylor-Crossdale from the spot.

It appeared that the game was going to remain goalless heading into the break, however County were able to break the deadlock in the first minute of added time when Abbruzzese’s cross picked out Hawkins who reacted quickly to direct a looping header over Evans and into the right corner to make it 1-0.

Second half

With the wind in their sails after the goal just before the interval, the Bluebirds came out after the break looking to stay on the front foot and extend their advantage.

Taylor-Crossdale had the opportunity to get his name on the scoresheet six minutes after the restart when he was played in by Watts, however he rolled his effort just wide of the left post.

Pennock turned to his bench for the first time three minutes later when Carroll was introduced in place of Watts, as the midfielder came on for his first minutes since signing back for the club in January.

With the hour mark approaching, the Town doubled their advantage when Hawkins chipped a ball into the area which just evaded the head of an Aberystwyth defender before landing at the feet of Taylor-Crossdale, who took a touch before prodding home from close range for his 12th goal of the season.

Martell Taylor-Crossdale celebrates his goal
Martell Taylor-Crossdale celebrates his goal. © RawPhotography

With the result all but secured at this stage, the majority of the second half was played at a rather sedate pace, although Haverfordwest County were keen to add to their tally with goal difference potentially being an important factor come the end of the season.

With nine minutes of normal time remaining, Iori Humphreys came on to replace Wilson and Picton entered the fray in place of Taylor-Crossdale, as the promising young striker became the latest academy product to feature in Wales’ top-flight league.

Pennock’s men created a good opportunity to score a third goal with two minutes left on the clock when Ben Fawcett’s effort from the right side of the area was saved by Evans, with the rebound falling to Humphreys who saw his goalbound effort blocked by the Aber defence.

In the final two moments of note, Picton tried his luck from the left edge of the area with a shot that was saved at the near post by Evans, before Abbruzzese’s free-kick from just outside the area flew narrowly over the bar.

The Bluebirds return to action on Friday March 29 when we travel to Treforest to take on Pontypridd United at the USW Sport Park (Kick-off: 12:30).

Attendance: 568



Post-match reaction

Pennock: It was important that we got that first win tonight
Interviews4 months ago

Abbruzzese: Hopefully those three points kick us on now
Interviews4 months ago