Bluebirds settle for a draw at Afan Lido

New signings Kelland Absalom, Corey Saunders, Jack Britton and goal scorer Tim Hicks

JD Cymru South:


Afan Lido 1 – Haverfordwest County 1

Haverfordwest County ground out an important draw against battling Afan Lido under the Marston Stadium lights on a cold dry evening.

Assistant manager Tim Hicks, starting up front, opened the scoring with an early header and just before the interval former Bluebird Kaid Mohamed grabbed an equaliser.

This result sees the Bluebirds move to the top of the table on goal difference, if only temporarily as second- placed Swansea University have home advantage against Llantwit Major on Saturday.

Bluebirds boss Wayne Jones also had to hsuffle his squad as teenagers Jack Wilson and Harri Rowe were both missing due to illness, plus Kurtis Rees was serving the start of a three-match ban.

In came Jake Merry who had a solid game at right back, Miles John moved to left back but he picked up a knock in the second period and was replaced by new signing Corey Saunders, who put in an assured performance.

Goalkeeper Kelland Absalom also put in a promising display, his distribution with his kicking was excellent and he pulled off a stunning save to deny Chris Jones in the second period.

Skipper Sean Pemberton was rock solid at the back alongside the impressive Scott Tancock. However, Pemberton picked up a dead leg and was replaced by the returning Jack Britton in the second half; the latter settled in central midfield taking over the role of Ricky Watts who switched to centre back.

Nicky Palmer had an outstanding night, the box-to-box-midfielder was a constant thorn in Lido’s side.

The Bluebirds got off to a bright start as the visitors opened the scoring in the 11th minute, Fawcett weaved past a couple of defenders on the left before pulling it back to Watts whose cross was met by Hicks at the far post who looped the ball over Steven Cann and into the top corner.

Mohamed broke clear but his tame shot was comfortably saved by Absolom, but a couple minutes later and minutes before the break the Lido striker struck as he made no mistake from close range, with the Bluebirds camp protesting he was offside.

Minutes later and Lido’s Chris Jones put his close-range header agonisingly wide, a let off for the visitors.
At the start of the second half Kieran Howard, who has just signed a contract with the Bluebirds from Penybont, flashed a low 20 yard shot wide of the target.

Absolam pulled off a stunning save to deny Jones from distance as the both sides had to settle for a point apiece – which probably was a fair reflection over the course of 90 minutes.

“This is a really tough place to go on a poor pitch,” said Haverfordwest County manager Wayne Jones.

“Happily we took the lead, but I felt Kaid (Mohamed) was offside when Lido levelled matters.

“It was important we didn’t lose as we ground out a draw which keeps us in the hunt for the title.

“All the new signings put in encouraging performances. Lido are a good team and they’ll take points off our rivals at home.

“What’s pleasing is we are currently unbeaten in our last six matches.”

Next Saturday, Haverfordwest County entertain Cambrian & Clydach at the Bridge Meadow Stadium, where kick off is at 2.30pm.

Afan Lido: Steve Cann, Ben Symons, Sean Hanbury, Lewis Holmes, James Parry, Jack Hurley, Liam McCreesh (Captain), Bradley Flay (86 Adam Llewellyn), Chris Jones, Kaid Mohamed, Sacha Walters.
Substitutes not used: Scott Coughlin, Kieran Parsons, Stephen Morris, Patrick Finneral.

Haverfordwest County: Kelland Absalom, Miles John (58 Corey Saunders), Jake Merry, Sean Pemberton (Captain) (69 Jack Britton), Kieran Howard, Nicky Palmer, Ricky Watts, Ben Fawcett, Marcus Griffiths, Tim Hicks.
Substitutes not used: Ryan Hughes, Kyle Stuart.
Referee: Kim Fisher.
Assistants: Joseph Proietti & Matthew Johnson