Welsh League Division One: Haverfordwest County 2-0 Goytre United

These two top-five sides played out a tight, skilfully-contested game in which the two good goals which the Blues scored in the first half were enough to shade it writes Robert Nisbet.

It was a fine all-round performance. After so many recent knocks, the Blues needed to restore morale and this solid win will certainly help. With a large number of injury and availability problems, there had to be significant re-adjustments to the line-up, with three very recent debutants and many players working together for the first time.

But Wayne Jones had set a very clear shape, with the solid back three of Sean Pemberton, Ricky Watts and Leon Luby augmented by the deep-lying Elliot Scotcher and new signing Jake Merry pushing forward from a right back position. All these experienced players did very, very well, and Merry too had a fine game, as did Old Evergreen Nicky Palmer, drafted into the midfield and producing a sterling performance.

The side eased into a rhythm by the 20-minute mark. Striker Ashley Bevan was having a rare tussle with United centre back Dale Griffiths, but his fellow striker Ben Fawcett was finding space down the left, at times running the United right flank ragged.

After one cracking double run had opened the defence in the 27th minute, Scotcher drove a 20-yarder in at the foot of the post.

Nine minutes later, Scotcher turned provider when his deep free kick was beautifully headed in by Pemberton. The duo nearly repeated the magic formula five minutes later, but this time keeper Luke Martin did well to snatch the ball from Pemberton’s head.

Yet another similar dead-ball manoeuvre shortly afterwards left the ‘Goyt’ defence scrambling and when the ball was played away, Scott Thomas sent in a cross which curled across the face of the goal and all but curled in.

United rallied in the second half but had few real tilts on goal. Callum Saunders drove two free kicks narrowly over and County keeper Kyle Stuart pulled off a brave save at the feet of the onrushing Jamie Baker.

But the home side managed to play out the time without too much alarm and fully deserved the three points.

Haverfordwest County: Kyle Stuart; Ricky Watts; Leon Luby; Sean Pemberton; Jake Merry; Nicky Palmer; Scott Thomas (Fraser Finlay 62), Elliot Scotcher; Ben Fawcett; Ashley Bevan (Jake Kelly 82); Kaid Mohamed. Sub not used: Tim Hicks.