Welsh Cup Round Three: Haverfordwest County 3-0 Pontypridd Town

It will be a home tie in the last 16 against either Flint or WPL side Bala Town for Haverfordwest County after they saw of Pontypridd Town at The Meadow on Saturday, writes Robert Nisbet.

The home side turned in a fine performance in poor conditions against resolute opponents, as the Bluebirds put much of their recent disappointment behind them with some fine passing football, three goals and a clean sheet.

As the sides kicked off in high winds, the Blues nearly pinched a goal in the first minute when Ashley Bevan spotted keeper Burnett off his line and sent a 30-yard lob just wide of the post.

For a spell the visitors, a far better outfit than the one which shipped 10 goals at the same venue in August, had slightly the better of what promised to be a rather bruising encounter, with the burly Gavin Beddard and Luke Gullick having  dangerous moments.

But then the Blues started to put together a whole string of passing moves that set the tempo and the tone of the game for the remainder.

Wayne Jones had to make changes because of injury and suspension, and with Danny Williams back and new signing Kaid Mohamed playing with his team-mates for the first time.

But as the game went on their trademark passing football won the day comprehensively.

Before the game had started Ben Fawcett was given his FA of Wales award for the Player of Round Two in the same competition so right on cue, after the first half had seen no breakthrough it was Fawcett who pounced in the 41st minute when he latched on to a ball over the top, squared Burnett up in a one-on-one and, after the keeper had blocked his first shot, squeezed the ball in at the near post for a fine opportunist finish.

The second half started in deteriorating conditions but with huge endeavour from both sides and with the Blues now looking very skilful.

After Steve Hall had made two fine saves, the Blues got right on top, with Mohamed, Williams, Fawcett and Bevan probing dangerously.

The second goal came in the 63rd minute and had a real slice of luck about it, as Scotcher’s stinging 30-yard shot was sending the keeper diving to his right, before it caught Williams on his rear end and cannoned in to the keeper’s left, leaving the two Bluebirds to negotiate the ownership of the goal.

Pontypridd were certainly not out of the game, bursting forward with a strong wind behind them, but the Blues now stepped up their passing along the deck, and it became clear that in the wind, the deck was the right place for the ball to be. Mohamed crashed one low shot against the post, before the game was stopped for a nasty-looking injury to Hall.

The third goal had no trace of luck about it, as a fine move sent Williams away down the right and his low cross was met with a crunching low finish from Bevan. And Wayne Jones’ afternoon was given a final uplift when two of his subs produced fine performances, with some cracking running by Jack Wilson and a really polished display from Mark Davies, pushed suddenly into a central midfield role and looking as if he had been there all season.

The Bluebirds’ next game is actually away to Pontypridd in the league this Saturday.

Haverfordwest: Steve Hall (Kyle Stuart, 72); Tim Hicks; Leon Luby (Mark Davies, 62); Sean Pemberton; Alaric Jones; Elliot Thomas; Danny Williams; Elliot Scotcher; Ashley Bevan (Jack Wilson, 80); Ben Fawcett; Kaid Mohamed.
Sub not used: Martin Gilligan.