First Team
Cymru Premier Fri 5 April Ogi Bridge Meadow Stadium
Haverfordwest County
  • Jenkins (73')
  • Shephard (88')
Barry Town United
  • McDonald (56')

A bizarre late goal from Corey Shephard saw Haverfordwest County come from behind to defeat Barry Town United 2-1 at the Ogi Bridge Meadow on Friday evening, making it three consecutive victories in the JD Cymru Premier Playoff Conference.

With the wind behind them in the first half the Bluebirds were well on top, but were unable to make their dominance count on the scoreboard despite plenty of promising moments in the final third.

The conditions were flipped in the Dragons’ favour in the second period, with the rain also arriving, and they took the lead 11 minutes after the restart through defender Curtis McDonald.

In a match full of incident, the visitors were reduced to 10 men just after the hour mark when midfielder Aiden Lewis was shown a straight red card for a challenge on Martell Taylor-Crossdale, and the Town capitalised when Lee Jenkins found the net for his third goal of the season.

Then, in barely believable circumstances, Shephard’s chipped pass from just outside the area found a way past goalkeeper Mike Lewis before trickling over the goal line to secure a dramatic and vitally important win in the driving wind and rain.

The result sees the Bluebirds move six points clear of eighth place Penybont, who travel to Aberystwyth Town live on Sgorio on Saturday evening.

County host Colwyn Bay in our final home game of the season next Saturday, April 13 (12:45 kick off), as we look to take another step towards the European play-offs.

The players walk out alongside mascots from Haverfordwest County Academy
The players walk out alongside mascots from Haverfordwest County Academy. (Photo: RAWPhotography)
Team news

Manager Tony Pennock made two changes to the side that defeated Pontypridd United 1-0 on Good Friday, with Ricky Watts (suspension) and Jack Wilson (injury) replaced in the starting 11 by Iori Humphreys and Rio Dyer. Rhys Abbruzzese took the captain’s armband for the first time, while Dan Hawkins returned to start on the bench after sitting out the win over the Dragons.

Haverfordwest County: Jones, Humphreys (Hawkins 74′), Jenkins, Tabone, Borg, Abbruzzese, Shephard, Whitmore, Dyer (Carroll 84′), Fawcett, Taylor-Crossdale (Picton 90+1′)

Substitutes not used: Knott, J. Owen, Davies, John

First half

After both teams had used the opening 10 minutes or so to settle into the contest and get used to the conditions, the Bluebirds had the first opportunity when a pinpoint pass over the top from Luke Tabone played Taylor-Crossdale in, with the striker controlling the ball before seeing his effort blocked by Lewis, who had rushed off his line to close the space.

It was an eventful minute or so for the forward, who was shown the first yellow card of the game before having a second opportunity when his shot from the left side of the area was blocked on its path to goal.

Kai Whitmore was next to try his luck when the ball was worked to the midfielder inside the area, and his clever shot went through the legs of a Barry defender before being gathered by Lewis.

Rio Dyer looks to keep hold of possession
Rio Dyer looks to keep hold of possession. (Photo: RAWPhotography)

After his impressive cameo at Pontypridd a week prior, which saw him win the decisive penalty, Humphreys came close to scoring his second senior goal for the Town when Abbruzzese’s cross to the far post picked the defender out, and his looping header just cleared the crossbar.

The Bluebirds were well on top as the half-hour mark ticked by, and Humphreys had a second chance when a Dragons defender slipped inside the area, allowing him to get a shot away which was saved by Lewis.

Fully aware that the second half was going to be a much trickier prospect, Pennock’s men were keen to find an opening goal before the interval, and they came close to doing just that when Abbruzzese’s speculative effort from 25 yards was tipped over the bar by Lewis.

Second half

The challenge facing County after the break was clear as the rain arrived during the interval to accompany the strong winds, and the visitors had their first opportunity of the second half three minutes after the restart when Sam Snaith’s low effort from the left side of the area was saved by Zac Jones.

Then, eight minutes later, the moment Haverfordwest County had feared arrived when the ball landed at the feet of McDonald from a corner, and the defender’s left-footed effort flew past a host of bodies and the unsighted Jones to find the net and make it 1-0.

The Town looked to respond immediately, and they registered a shot on target three minutes after falling behind when a cross into the area was glanced into the path of Taylor-Crossdale, whose first-time header was collected by Lewis.

Lee Jenkins heads the ball upfield
Lee Jenkins heads the ball upfield. (Photo: RAWPhotography)

The Bluebirds were in need of some inspiration, and they were handed plenty of it two minutes after the hour mark when Lewis was adjudged to have endangered the safety of Taylor-Crossdale with his sliding challenge, and referee Huw Owen gave the midfielder his marching orders in what was the turning point of the contest.

As expected, the momentum had now flipped in County’s favour, and their first opportunity after the sending off came when Whitmore’s effort from just outside the area flew wide of the left post.

With 20 minutes left on the clock, a cross into the area from the right side wasn’t dealt with initially by the Linnets defence, and the ball fell to Humphreys, but for a second time the youngster saw his goalbound effort blocked.

The pressure from the Bluebirds was relentless at this point, and it eventually yielded an equaliser when Dyer’s ball into the area from the right side was glanced into the path of Jenkins by Borg, and the defender took a touch before directing his low, right-footed effort past Will Richards and Ben Blythe to set up a grandstand finish at the Meadow.

Rhys Abbruzzese was captaining the Bluebirds for the first time
Rhys Abbruzzese was captaining the Bluebirds for the first time. (Photo: RAWPhotography)

Although the wind was against the Town, it was very much in their sails at this stage as they pushed hard for a dramatic late winner. Although they were able to create numerous entries into Barry’s defensive third, clear-cut opportunities were proving hard to come by.

Those in attendance will have felt that either a moment of magic or an error was the likeliest path to a third goal on the night, and in the end it proved to be the latter as the ball was worked to Shephard just outside the area and the midfielder lifted a seemingly harmless pass over the top, with Blythe shepharding the ball to ensure Lewis could gather it under no pressure, however the keeper was never in line with it and reacted too late as it evaded his left glove and had just enough pace on it to creep over the line for one of the most bizarre goals ever seen at the Ogi Bridge Meadow.

With a minimum of six minutes added on, the job was far from complete, but the Bluebirds were able to negotiate the closing moments to get over the line and record what could prove to be a telling result come the final analysis.

Attendance: 503