Scotcher's stoppage time free kick saves The Bluebirds' blushes

Haverfordwest County goal scoring hero Elliot Scotcher. Picture by

JD Cymru Premier:

Haverfordwest County 1 - Cefn Druids 1

Match report - Fraser Watson

It was far from a vintage display from Haverfordwest County against Cefn Druids - but it was one that yielded a point thanks to Elliot Scotcher’s injury time free kick.

The Bluebirds were trailing after Josef Faux struck for the visitors early in the second half, and despite Ryan Kershaw then being sent off for the Druids, the hosts were unable to capitalise until the 93rd minute when Scotcher salvaged a point at the death.

After backing up last weekend’s win at Caernarfon with a first home success of the season against Aberystwyth on Tuesday, momentum was with the Bluebirds at kick off - and yet it was the Druids, who arrived bottom of the table, who had the better of the first half.

The early stages saw Faux enjoy plenty of space down the right and inevitably, the height of away centre back Jacob Wise was also a threat at the set piece. Indeed, it was Wise who headed the first real chance wide of the near post.

Further openings for the Druids saw Christoph Aziamale find space in the area before drilling a left foot shot wastefully over – before striker partner Sam Phillips also blasted high and wide after cutting in from the left wing.

Kurtis Rees was strong in midfield. Picture by Bluebirds responded though as Danny Williams broke free down the left and floated in a cross that evaded Ben Fawcett by inches.

Midway through the half the contest began to heat up, although more so through pettiness than goalmouth incident, as both Phillip Mooney and Ryan Kershaw saw yellow for the Druids after mistimed tackles.

The hosts then fashioned another opening when Williams teed up Ricky Watts, but he hesitated before seeing his low cross-shot deflected past the post.

Before the break Wayne Jones’ side were dealt a blow though, as Fawcett limped off with a hamstring injury to be replaced by Mark Jones – and then the best chance of the half came at the other end.

Phillips skipped past Watts before delivering a low cross to Aziamale, but he was unable to connect properly from eight yards out.

However, any regrets Bruno Lopes had about his side not being ahead at the break were promptly forgotten after the restart.

Less than a minute in, it was Faux who pounced on some hesitant defending to cut onto his right foot and fire a low shot which cannoned off Wojciech Gajda and into the net.

In truth, the keeper would have been disappointed not to stop it although he did make some amends when Aziamale outmuscled home skipper Sean Pemberton - but lost his composure when through on goal and Gajda smothered.

You sensed frustration then growing in the home ranks when Jack Wilson, quiet given his recent standout performances, would have been relieved to see only yellow after catching Naim Arsan late.

Home manager Jones, who had also sent on Cameron Keetch at half time, then reacted by sending on another striker in Marcus Griffiths for Pemberton.

And momentum did switch around the hour mark, as firstly Elliot Scotcher went close with a dipping 20-yard free kick that Druids keeper Michael Jones did well to tip over.

And then the visitors went down to ten men after Kershaw, booked for tripping Fawcett in the first half, then saw a second yellow and subsequent red for doing similar to Watts.

It was a justified call from referee Bryn Markham-Jones, who then promptly booked Lopes after vociferous protests came from the away dugout.

Mark Jones goes close for the Bluebirds. Picture by

Ironically, it was the Druids who threatened next on the counter as sub Jamie Reed was chopped down by Watts, who was also booked for his troubles, and the resultant free kick came to nothing.

In the closing stages the Bluebirds began to press though, and Kurtis Rees’ cross field ball found Wilson, who controlled it first time but then could only stab his angled shot wide under pressure.

The Druids missed a chance to seal the win when Faux’s long ball forward bounced over the head of Watts and sat up nicely for sub Charley Edge – but his volleyed shot was beaten away by Gajda.

The glut of yellow cards continued as Wise and Josh Green were booked for the visitors, as was home boss Jones for protesting following a melee between both sets of players.

But after Rees volleyed wide from inside the area, the game seemed up for the Bluebirds when Williams was tripped 25 yards from goal – and Scotcher’s effort deflected off the wall to leave Jones rooted as the ball nestled in the bottom corner.

It was enough to extend the unbeaten run to three games for Jones and co, who in the end would have pleased to take a point from an untidy display.

The packed schedule continues on Tuesday for Haverfordwest when they entertain Barry Town at the Bridge Meadow Stadium.


Wayne Jones (Haverfordwest County Manager):

"It was a smash and grab point for us because to be honest we didn't deserve it but we have played better and lost (like at New Saints) and that is football. We looked mentally and physically drained and in hindsight I should have started with a few fresh pairs of legs because they were quicker on the ball and regularly won 50/50 balls.

I can have no grouses about not winning but thankly we have seven points from our last three games and must now move on to the next challenge, against Barry Town on Tuesday, where we will be looking for more points."

Des Williams (Cefn Druids' Chairman):

"I am gutted because we deserved more than that after outplaying Haverfordwest for much of the match and deserved a fourth win of the season. But I have to give them credit for battling until the last minute and they are clearly doing well under a terrific new chairman and with great volunteers who made us very welcome.

They are back with us next week and we hope to show the same hosapitality, hopefully with a win at home!"

Rob Edwards (Haverfordwest County Chairman:

We really stole a point at the end because Cefn Druids were the better team - but again we showed our ability to battle away so that is important to say.

"We will be up for another tough challenge on Tuesday night against Barry Town and I know Wayne (Jones) will see them putting in a positive performance that I can't wait to see!"

Haverfordwest County: Wojciech Gajda, Daniel Summerfield, Trystan Jones (Cameron Keetch HT), Sean Pemberton (Captain - Marcus Griffiths 57), Scott Tancock, Ricky Watts, Ben Fawcett (Mark Jones 40), Jack Wilson, Kurtis Rees, Danny Williams, Elliot Scotcher.
Substitutes not used: Jack Britton, Matthew Turner (GK).

Cefn Druids: Mike Jones, Naim Arsan, Josh Green, Phil Mooney, Aaron Simpson, Alex Darlington (Iwan Cartwright 63), Sam Phillips (Charley Edge 74), Joe Faux, Christoph Aziamale (Jamie Reed 61), Ryan Kershaw, Jacob Wise. 
Substitutes not used: Harry Brazel, Dawid Szczepaniak.

Referee: Bryn Markham-Jones.
Assistants: Cilan Thomas & Ryan Kenny.
Fourth Official: Nigel Richards.

Match officials