Williams' penalty wins it for Bluebirds

Danny Williams on the burst. Picture by Matthew Kelly of Rawphotography 

JD Cymru Premier:


Haverfordwest County 1 - Cardiff Met 0

Alaric Jones and Lewis Rees. Picture by Matthew Kelly of RawphotographyIt was first half dominance followed by a second half rearguard – but in the end a Danny Williams’ penalty was enough for Haverfordwest County to return to JD Cymru Premier action with a win over Cardiff Met, writes Fraser Watson

The Bluebirds were the better side for much of the opening 45 minutes and were rewarded just before the break when Williams was fouled in the area by Bradley Woolridge, and buried the penalty that followed to ensure his side moved into the top six. 

Bluebirds quickly out of the blocks: 

It had been 80 days since Wayne Jones’ side had last tasted league action, and 77 for Cardiff Met – so it was understandable that the opening stages were more combative than they were free flowing. 
But after surviving a couple of early scrambles in their area, with good blocks by Alaric Jones and Scott Tancock,, it was the hosts who were soon in the ascendancy. 

Firstly Ben Fawcett went close but was unable to properly connect with a Cameron Keetch cross, and then Elliot Scotcher’s free kick fell into the path of Alaric Jones – but the centre back saw his left foot volley turned around the post by Met keeper William Fuller. 

From the corner that followed, Scott Tancock headed over.
The pressure continued as Williams had a goal rightfully ruled out for offside, before the same player teed up strike partner Fawcett but is low angled shot was blocked by Fuller. 

For The Met, centre backs Bradley Woolridge and Emlyn Lewis were doing well to stand firm and at the other end, the students did muster a moment of threat when Rhydian Morgan curled a 20 yard shot over. 

But then three minutes before the break, came the defining moment. The pace of Williams was again the catalyst as he got the wrong side of Lewis, who proceeded to bundle down the striker and referee Dean John awarded the inevitable. 

The Cardiff City loanee’s subsequent spot kick was buried emphatically into the top right hand corner, and was struck with the air of a man who had endured a frustrating wait to get back to action. 

Tide turns as students respond: 

If the Met struggled to keep pace in the first half, the second period proved a different story. 

Haverfordwest did press for a second when the influential Elliot Scotcher teed up Corey Shepard to fire over from 20 yards, but as the half wore on the outlook changed. 

Met striker Lewis Rees sparked warning signals when he showed his pace to sear down the right before having his low cross cleared from danger by Kurtis Rees. 

The Bluebirds also became bombarded by the long throws of Rhydian Rees, and it was from one such guided missile that created a great chance as Eliot Evans saw his volleyed shot well saved from home keeper Wojciech Gajda. 

It was Rees who then put a free header wastefully wide, before Keetch did brilliantly to block sub Oliver Hulbert’s close range shot. 

Lewis also headed off target before another golden opportunity went begging, as Morgan’s in-swinging cross was also nodded over by Hulbert, one of five Met changes as Christian Edwards emptied his bench in search of an equaliser. 

Scott Tancock - Strong at the back. Picture by Matthew Kelly of Rawphotography

Gajda at full stretch to secure the spoils: 

In the dying moments the home side had to deal with a glut of long balls into the area but the biggest moment of danger came when Rees struck a stinging 25 yard left foot shot which had Gajda at full stretch to push away. 

The final whistle prompted relief for Jones and co, ahead of a huge week where they’ll go to Aberystwyth on Tuesday and then host The New Saints the following Saturday. 

Man of the match: Alaric Jones 

At half time you wouldn’t have envisaged a home defender being man of the match, but once the narrative changed Jones showed real composure under intense second half pressure. Scott Tancock and Ricky Watts also impressed while Elliot Scotcher was instrumental before being taken off – but Jones gets the nod for a near faultless display in the air, coupled with some telling distribution. 

Haverfordwest manager Wayne Jones: 

“I’m very pleased. 

“First half I felt we deserved it. Our movement and ball retention was very good.  

“They made two changes at half time and probably edged it second half but in all fairness it was a good defensive display. Our three centre halves were immense, especially with dealing with the long throws in.” 

Cardiff Met manager Cristian Edwards: 

“It sounds a cliché but it was a game of two halves. 

“We had a good build up to this game so the first half was frustrating. We were by far the better team in the second half and pinned them in but we defended sloppily in the first half. 

“We came in full of confidence so this has knocked us slightly – but we go again next week.” 

Haverfordwest County: Wojciech Gajda, Daniel Summerfield, Alaric Jones, Scott Tancock, Ricky Watts (capt), Cameron Keetch (Sean Pemberton 86), Corey Shepard, Elliot Scotcher (Trystan Jones 81), Kurtis Rees, Danny Williams, Ben Fawcett (Marcus Griffiths 74). 
Subs: Matthew Turner, Nicky Palmer. 
Cardiff Met: William Fuller, Kyle McCarthy (Charles Crosby HT), Bradley Woolridge (capt), Emlyn Lewis, Guto Williams (Chris Baker HT), Eliot Evans (Matthew Chubb 78), Harry Owen (Liam Warman 66), Rhydian Morgan, Thomas Price (Oliver Hulbert 64), Matthew Blake, Lewis Rees.  
Subs: Alex Lang, Christopher Baker, Mathew Jones. 
Referee: Dean John
Assistants: James Sheils & Connor Thomas
Fourth Official: Ryan Kenny

* Superb action pics generously provided by Matthew Kelly. of Raw Photography *

Kurtis Rees makes a strong challenge. Picture by Matthew Kelly of Rawphotography