Young Bluebirds battle to draw with front runners

Steff Williams was on target with Haverfordwest Countys second goal

Old heads, Steff Williams (above) and Ashley Bevan (below) scored for Haverfordwest County Development

Welsh Premier League Development League Football:


Haverfordwest County Development Team 2 - Llanelli Development Team 2

Ashley Bevan turns his markerHaverfordwest County's talented young squad battled really hard under the Conygar Bridge Meadow Stadium floodlights to share the spoils with their counterparts from Llanelli, who are vying for the title after losing just one match, but were never able to shake off the Bluebirds despite being twice ahead.

Great help for senior players

Under the rules of the competition teams are allowed to play a maximum of three over-age players at any time and on this occasion youth manager Steve Batty liaised with first team boss Wayne Jones to give players in need of a run out some welcome game time as Steff Williams restarted after a long time out injured, Ashley Bevan had his first full 90 minutes of the season, also after a lay-off, and Kyle Stuart played in goal for most of the match as the South African continues to get accustomed to life in Welsh League football.

They certainly benefitted from this trio’s input as Bevan and Williams scored the Haverfordwest goals and Stuart made some useful saves before he was eventually replaced between the sticks by Jack Nicholas.

Early set-back for Bluebirds

The Bluebirds had to make a change during the pre-match warm-up as full back Jake Merry dropped out from a knock he had received two days earlier, his place taken Harry Jones - and it was Llanelli who made the better start and their efforts were rewarded with an early goal from Price Williams as he cut inside from the flank and curled an excellent left foot shot past Stuart.

For the rest of the half though, the home side had their half chances and although Llanelli forced saves from Stuart they had to settle for a single-goal advantage at half time in what was an entertaining and tight tussle.

Bevan levels for Haverfordwest but back came Llanelli

But the lead lasted only minutes after the restart when from a defensive lapse the ball was played through to Ashley Bevan - and the experienced striker stayed cool in a one-on-one run before slotting his left foot low shot past the advancing Llanelli keeper.

Llanelli regained the lead after 68 minutes when a sloppy pass near the edge of the Bluebirds' box allowed striker Sean Howells to plant the ball home and with time running out it looked as if the visitors would take all three points back up the M4.

Steff snatches a draw with late equaliser

But as Haverfordwest pressed desperately for a vital equaliser it came very late indeed as a long throw-in by Jack Wilson, flicked on by Bevan, caused mayhem in the Llanelli area and after a real scramble it fell to the lurking Steff Williams at the far post and his tap-in found the net and earned his side a deserved draw.

Bluebirds' manager Steve Batty told us afterwards:

"I was pleased with the way that we battled against a more experienced team and although it was a terrific squad performance I must mention Steff Williams and Ashley Bevan for their goals, with Ashley running non-stop for the whole game and helping the young players around him. Jay Power was strong at the back and Rhys Morgan also did well after coming on in the first quarter for Jack Goldenbray, who did well to start but was hampered by a chest infection."

Haverfordwest County:  Kyle Stuart: Harry Jones; Jay Power; Max Howells; Will Evans: Steff Wills; Gareth Finnegan; Seamus Drake; Jack Wilson: Jack Goldenbray; Ashley Bevan. Subs: Mark Davies; Jack Britton, Rhys Morgan.