Haverfordwest County 5

AFC Porth 1

THE Bluebirds followed a poor first half, at the end of which they trailed one-nil, with a spectacular second-half onslaught led by the effervescent Steffan Williams, writes Robert Nisbet.

It took the Blues over five minutes to get out of their own half as a brisk and skilful Porth side beat them to ball after ball. Then, after just 12 minutes, a weak back pass let in Joel Woodington, Porth’s most lively attacker, and he cruised through to slide a deft shot beneath Chris Curtis.

At this point the Blues looked completely out of the game and matters didn’t improve greatly for the rest of the half. They put few real attacks together, with long-range shots from Luke Borelli and Richie Lewis offering some slender hope, and just the one good finish from Borelli, when Tim Hicks slipped him a pass which he drove in from a narrow angle, only to be ruled offside.

And yet they did get back into the game to some slight extent and, apart from one fine block from Chris Curtis, Porth didn’t in fact have another direct shot on goal in the rest of the half.

It’s difficult to find a reason for the complete transformation in the second half but we must give credit to substitute Steffan Williams, who started running at the Rhondda side’s defence from his appearance in the 46th minute and who had poached two fine goals within 12 minutes. In the 55th minute he headed in Lewis’s cross and two minutes later darted on to a through ball to shoot calmly past keeper Nick Thomas.

The rest of the half saw a real onslaught, even though Woodington did have two decent efforts on goal for Porth and their skipper Jarrad Wright headed just wide. But the Blues seemed to have decided that while the big Porth centre backs were strong coming forward, they could be outflanked by the ball into the space behind them and in the 75th minute a neat ball through by Sean Pemberton sent in Lewis to drive home right-footed.

In the 84th minute a cross in from Williams broke to Matthew Fisher who hammered in on the drive. And finally, to mark an afternoon on which four of the five goals were scored by the substitutes, Joey Leahy sprang the offside trap in the last minute and chipped keeper Thomas with the deftest of lobs.

Before the match players and supporters observed a minute’s silence for Rhiannon Webb, wife of club stalwart Barry Webb, who passed away during the week.

The programme sponsor was Hoydens Joinery of Withybush. The ball sponsors were Jason Windsor and friends.

The Blues now top the table, but will have a tough game on Saturday when they travel to play Monmouth Town. They return to the Conygar Bridge Meadow, to play Cambrian & Clydach, on Saturday 18th January.

Haverfordwest County: Chris Curtis, Ricky Watts, Antonio Facciuto, Sam Rodon, Dylan Blain, Chris O’Sullivan, Sean Pemberton, Declan Carroll (Steffan Williams, 45), Luke Borrelli (Matthew Fisher, 80),Tim Hicks (Joey Leahy, 84), Richie Lewis.

Subs not used: Jack Britton, Dan Evans.