Welsh League Division One:

Haverfordwest County 1-0 Cambrian & Clydach

AFTER this game, there was a feeling around the ground that the Bluebirds had been lucky to escape with the win against a very good Cambrian side, but in fact a combination of plenty of gritty defending, some sharp and regular counter-attacking and a cracking Steffan Williams goal took them to the top of the table, writes Robert Nisbet.

The only change the Blues had to make to the recent successful formations was to replace the absent Joe Leahy, and maybe the fact that three players were tried in his position without any of them appearing totally comfortable shows that the role is quite a specialised one.

 In the first half, Sean Pemberton, acting as target man, did in fact win just about every ball fired up to him, to head and chest down into space, but was not able to set either Danny or Steff Williams away.

Cambrian started the brighter and Lee Price who was to prove a real handful all afternoon, drew a fine block from Conah McFenton in the fourth minute.

Two minutes later Kyle Jones sent a dangerously-situated free kick over the bar. Price and the raiding Liam Reed kept up the pressure and big full back Gareth Welsh threatened on his forward runs.

The Blues had a better spell in the middle of the first half. Sam Rodon headed over after a Dan Williams free kick and a ball in from Matthew Broome saw Pemberton drive solidly at keeper Daniel Bradley.

Steff Williams, Greg Walters and Nicky Palmer all set up runs which kept the visitors on the back foot. But Cambrian ended the half the stronger with Richard French heading just wide and Cameron Keech’s free kick well saved at the foot of the post by McFenton

But all that pressure was over-turned just after half-time when Dan Williams’ well-flighted corner was scrambled out of the visitors’ box as far as the lurking Steff Williams who hammered in a really lovely low finish.

At this point the Blues were playing with Walters as centre forward and the pattern of play was promising. Ricky Watts came through on a run and his chip shot came back off the bar.

But as the half progressed, Cambrian began to exert significant pressure. They had one free kick right on the edge of the box but McFenton got to Corey Shephard’s shot well. The Blues were defending desperately now but Rodon was as strong as ever and Broome, Tim Hicks and Kristian Speake were all difficult to pass.

Walters then went on a spectacular run from deep in his own half and couldn’t quite get past the third defender.

This Saturday, November 4th, the Bluebirds entertain Aberbargoed Buds in the second round of the FAW Cup.

Haverfordwest County: Conah McFenton; Matthew Broome, Kristian Speake, Sean Pemberton, Sam Rodon, Tim Hicks, Ricky Watts, Greg Walters, Nicky Palmer (Declan Carroll, 65), Dan Williams (Leon Luby, 78), Steff Williams.

Subs not used. Alaric Jones, Charlie Davies.