Chepstow Town 3
Haverfordwest County 4
The Bluebirds survived atrocious playing conditions and a spirited late Chepstow revival to fight their way into the quarter finals of the Welsh Cup.
It is all credit to Chepstow that the game was played at all, since they had put 200 volunteers to work on the Thursday, clearing a foot of snow from their Larkfield Park pitch. They didn’t get the final result they had hoped for but they gave the Blues a scare in a final frenetic 20 minutes.
Despite the conditions, the Bluebirds did manage to strike for a two-goal lead in the first 20 minutes. After 15, Ben Steele (replacing the suspended Jack Christopher) latched on to a lovely ball over the top from Rob Morgans, shot on the run and, when keeper George could only parry, followed up to drive in the opener.
A second goal followed five minutes later when Steffan Williams went on a brilliant run down the wing and hammered in a low cross which Chep defender Tony Shier was unlucky enough to turn into his own net.
The rest of the first half saw the game become increasingly dour, although Steele had a couple of chances and Peter Blain was called on to make one very fine save.
And matters continued on the same level of dogged attrition until the 70th minute, when Blues sub Anton Owens, making a welcome return, went on a powerful run and shot in for the third goal.
But the next six minutes were chaotic as Jason Thorn scored Chepstow’s first, and Liam Hancock scored an unlucky own-goal which was almost a replica of Shier’s earlier misfortune. In between these two goals, Chep’s Andrew Wenzel was red-carded and the Blues’ Richie Lewis missed a penalty.
A further four minutes on, Lewis atoned for the earlier miss when he swept a free kick around the Chepstow defence to give the Blues a 4- 2 lead. This seemed to have put the icing on the Bluebirds’ cake but they were to suffer one final marzipan moment when Thorn, the scorer of 48 goals last season, notched his second and Chepstow’s third to set up a tense final five minutes.
In these conditions, quality football was impossible so it was the result that the sides had to look for, and finally it was the Bluebirds who took the quarter-final place.
This Saturday, the Blues are away to Taff ’s Well, before they return to the Conygar Bridge Meadow on Saturday, February 9th, to play Bryntirion.
Haverfordwest County: Peter Blain, Ricky Watts, Antonio Facciuto, Liam Hancock, Lee Bevan, Phil Cattlin, Chris O’Sullivan (Jordan Smith, 70), Rob Morgans (Anthony Finselbach, 65), Ben Steele (Anton Owens, 55), Steffan Williams; Richie Lewis.