WELSH CUP - 2018/19
Conygar Bridge Meadow
08 Dec, 2018 - 2:30:00 PM
Match Score : 3-0
HAVERFORDWEST COUNTY .. 3 PONTYPRIDD TOWN .. 0
By ROBERT NISBET
This really was a fine performance, in very poor conditions and against resolute opponents, as the Bluebirds put much of their recent disappointment behind them with some fine passing football, three goals and a clean sheet.
As the sides kicked off in a very high wind, the Blues nearly pinched a goal in the first minute when Ashley Bevan spotted keeper Burnett way off his line and sent in a 30-yard lob which was not too far wide. For 10 minutes maybe the visitors had slightly the better of what promised to be a rather bruising encounter, with the burly Gavin Beddard and Luke Gullick having their dangerous moments. But then the Blues started to put together a whole string of 8-, 9-, and 10-pass moves and the tempo and the tone of the game were set.
Wayne Jones had had to make a large number of changes because of injury and suspension, and with Danny Williams just back from injury and new signing Kaid Mohamed playing with his new team-mates for the first time, they had to work for cohesion. But as the game went on, their trademark passing football won the day comprehensively. There is a really exciting variety in the Bluebirds’ ranks just now. The two Elliots, Scotcher and Thomas, experienced Welsh League players, controlling the midfield, a host of super-keen youngsters, and the laid-back skills of Trundle and Mohamed to add the finishing touches.
Before the game had started Ben Fawcett was given his FA of Wales award for the Player of the Round for this same Cup, Round Two. So right on cue, after the first half had seen no break-through it was Fawcett who pounced in the 41st minute when he latched on to a ball over the top, squared Burnett up in a one-on-one and, after the keeper had blocked his first shot, squeezed the ball in at the near post for a fine opportunist finish.
The second half started in deteriorating conditions but with huge endeavour from both sides and with the Blues now looking very skilful. After Steve Hall had made two fine saves, the Blues got right on top, with Mohamed, Williams, Fawcett and Bevan probing dangerously. The second goal came in the 63rd minute and had a real slice of luck about it, as Scotcher’s stinging 30-yard shot was sending the keeper diving to his right, before it caught Williams on his rear end and cannoned in to the keeper’s left, leaving the two Bluebirds to negotiate the ownership of the goal.
Pontypridd were certainly not out of the game, bursting forward with a strong wind behind them, but the Blues now stepped up their passing along the deck, and it became clear that in the wind, the deck was the right place for the ball to be. Mohamed crashed one low shot against the post, before the game was stopped for a nasty-looking injury to Hall.
The third goal had no trace of luck about it, as a fine move sent Williams away down the right and his low cross was met with a crunching low finish from Bevan. And Wayne Jones’ afternoon was given a final uplift when two of his subs produced fine performances, with some cracking running by Jack Wilson and a really polished display from Mark Davies, pushed suddenly into a central midfield role and looking as if he had been there all season.
The Bluebirds’ next game is away to Pontypridd on Saturday next, 15th December.
Haverfordwest: Steve Hall (Kyle Stuart, 72); Tim Hicks; Leon Luby (Mark Davies, 62); Sean Pemberton; Alaric Jones; Elliot Thomas; Danny Williams; Elliot Scotcher; Ashley Bevan (Jack Wilson, 80); Ben Fawcett; Kaid Mohamed.
Sub not used: Martin Gilligan.