Welsh League Division One:
Haverfordwest County 2 -2 Port Talbot Town

THIS was a very exciting game, with a lot of spirited attacking, two penalties, strong tackling and well-worked goals, but the Blues will be disappointed not to have seen the game off by the hour mark after their attacking play had seemingly set them up for a big win, writes Robet Nisbet.

The early attacking was a little speculative but the Bluebirds suddenly launched themselves into the lead in the 9th minute, when Nicky Palmer reached a Matthew Broome cross and squared it back across the goal for Sean Pemberton to score with a stinging shot which keeper Rory McCreesh half-parried but could not stop.

Port Talbot rallied at once and in the 13th minute after a cross had passed over the face of the Blues’ goal and back again Jack Hurley drove in firmly. 

Although there was a brief spell in which the Steelmen seemed to be getting on top, the Blues were able to re-assert themselves, after a brilliant run by Ricky Watts had seen him exchange passes with Steff Williams and shoot just wide.

The Blues could never relax against the Port Talbot attack, which had two really fine wide players in Jonathan Hood and ex-Bluebird Luke Bowen, but the back four was usually solid with Tim Hicks having a very good game right at the back.

The Steelmen were kept out of the game for long stretches and one of these came in the later part of the first half, when Palmer brought a fine save from McCreesh after a Dan Williams corner, and both Steff and then Dan Williams went close. At the other end a long-range shot from Hood was the only real reply.

For the first 15 minutes of the second half the Blues were right on top. One Greg Walters volley whistled over the bar and a second goal came in the 51st minute when Dan Williams made a fine break down the left and his cross was wonderfully well collected by Steff Williams on the right, for him to square it back in and for Joe Leahy to finish well.

The strong Blues attacking continued but whereas the second goad had looked as if it might well be the first of several, the finishing wasn’t quite there. Steff and Danny Williams played brilliantly on the wings and centre forward Leahy had two good chances, scored with one and looked as if he had scored with the second as well only for McCreesh to pull out a remarkable reflex stop when the ball seemed to be going in.

The problem seemed to be that when chances did break after dangerous crosses in, they seemed to break to midfielders up in support and both Palmer and Walters seemed to have lost the scoring touch for the afternoon.

The last half-hour was fairly chaotic as Port Talbot had the ball in the net in the 60th minute, only to be ruled offside and then won a penalty a minute later. Bowen blasted the spot kick way over the bar.

But by now the Steelmen seemed to be feeling they could still get something from the game. The later exchanges saw chances created at both ends, and while the Blues’ chances were often cleverly worked, the Steelmen’s very direct attacking always threatened, until a hand ball decision in the 81st minute gave them a second penalty which Cortez Belle blasted well away from keeper Nick Jones.

Next Saturday the Bluebirds travel to play Cwmbran Celtic, kick-off 2.30pm.

Haverfordwest County: Conah McFenton (Nick Jones, 22), Matthew Broome, Kristian Speake, Sean Pemberton, Nicky Palmer, Tim Hicks, Ricky Watts, Greg Walters (Declan Carroll, 85), Joe Leahy, Dan Williams, Steffan Williams. Sub not used: Alaric Jones, Leon Luby, Fraser Finlay, Charlie Davies