11:02am Monday 7th October 2013
Welsh League, Division One
Haverfordwest County 3
Monmouth Town 2
THIS was a fast and exciting clash between two top sides and one which could easily have gone either way before it was settled by Steffan Williams late winner, writes Robert Nisbet.
Before a rather bigger crowd than usual, the game got off to a brisk start with plenty of probing, attacking football on both sides. Monmouth's ex-Carmarthen striker Nick Harrhy missed one chance when he headed weakly at Chris Curtis when well-placed, but then the game was flung open by three goals in a five-minute spell.
In the 16th minute Richie Lewis won a good ball on the halfway line and played a beautiful pass inside the full back for Jack Christopher to hare down the wing and for his cross to open the Monmouth defence right up. The arch-poacher Williams was into the box to take the chance. Three minutes later Williams combined well with Ricky Watts out on the right before crossing to Christopher who was able to turn and fire in from 12 yards.
Fans memories of the first half-hour against Tata Steel had only two minutes to flicker before a Monmouth goal brought them back to reality. Sam Palmer swung over a fine cross from the left, the Bluebirds defence was wrong-footed and the busy Elliott Ford drove in from close range.
The pace was sustained though and the Blues could have gone further ahead in the 35th minute when Christopher swung a cross-field ball pretty well the width of the Meadow for Lewis to get clear and cross at speed, only for Christopher, racing into the box, just to miss contact for what would have been a spectacular goal.
The second half started with a rush and Ford fired in a fine volley which drew an equally fine save from Curtis. Then, on 50 minutes, Ford crossed for Harrhy to seize the chance and the equaliser.
The game continued to fluctuate, with chances at both ends. The Bluebirds nearest came when Williams fine run saw him square the ball into the box, and Christopher and keeper Blackburn converged on the ball which cannoned out of play.
The Blues winner finally came with three minutes left and from the simplest tactic, when the predatory Williams latched on to a ball over the top and was able to go through in a one-on-one with Blackburn to give the keeper no chance.
This Saturday the Blues are away to West End in the second round of the Welsh Cup.
Haverfordwest County: Chris Curtis, Ricky Watts, Antonio Facciuto, Sam Rodon, Dale Griffiths, Jack Britton (Rob Morgans, 60), Chris OSullivan, Dylan Blain, Steffan Williams, Jack Christopher (Joey Leahy, 87), Richie Lewis (Ashley Curtis, 72).
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