Battling Bluebirds Earn Draw

Haverfordwest County 1-1 Port Talbot Town

Port Talbot Town were denied a victory in this South Wales derby due to a 90th minute equaliser from the home side. Manager Mark Jones kept the same starting line-up form the victory over The New Saints the weekend before and his side took an early lead through Lee John after an even start with both sides creating chances in the opening exchanges.

John was on target on 24 minutes as Port Talbot caused their home side problems with their pace on the counter-attack although Port Talbot were being tested at the other end with Robbie Walters a regular concern for the visitors defence. Referee Paul Thomas booked Liam McCreesh, Martin Rose and Gareth Phillips in quick succession soon after the side had taken the lead but was McCreesh’s that would prove crucial as he picked up a second yellow card for dissent just before half-time leaving Mark Jones side to defend their lead with ten men.

Haverfordwest came out the stronger of the two teams in the second half but struggled to create as many chances as they would have liked to against former goalkeeper Lee Kendall who was suffering from a knock in the opening half. Chances for Port Talbot to extend their lead were few and far between although the introduction of Fahiya offered the side a different outlet upfront and he became a problem for the Haverfordwest defence.

Despite their defensive efforts Port Talbot eventually conceded as the game moved into injury time as young forward Steffan Williams struck from close range with a well-taken finish to earn his side a deserved share of the points.

11th September 2009 –

Battling Bluebirds earn draw

A very untidy but very exciting game produced a typically dramatic ending when Steffan Williams snapped up a beautifully-taken last-minute equalizer. The game’s turning point came at the end of the first half when the Steelmen’s effervescent midfielder Liam McCreesh picked up his second yellow card and Port Talbot clearly began to feel that Lee John’s 24th minute goal (a goal which for many Blues fans carried a distinct whiff of offside) might not be enough. Curiously though, the Aspire-sponsored Bluebirds played a shade better in the first half than in the second. Jehu (West) man-of-the-match Williams and his strike partner Robbie Walters ran at the big Port Talbot defence with real commitment and each came close in the first half.

Neither the towering Matthew Rees nor his fellow centre back Lee Surman really seemed to enjoy the evening and Walters fired just wide after being played in by Williams who himself ran the defence very close on two occasions. In fact the first half’s champagne moment probably came in the 38 th minute when Williams belied his marker’s 12-inch height advantage to leave Rees sprawling near the corner flag before drawing a last-ditch save from Lee Kendall.

The Port Talbot goal was snapped up by ex-Bluebird John after a brief hesitation in the Blues defence. It was really against the run of play but served to remind the crowd that the Steelmen can attack very quickly and sometimes out of nowhere. McCreesh’s dismissal, which his manager did not question for one second, came for two quite unnecessary yellow cards, and left the Blues feeling that the win was there to be had. But two goals never come that willingly against a big and determined defence and in the early stages of the second half the Bluebirds were disappointing. They piled on pressure certainly but it was a little frenetic, a little rushed. Kendall had taken a nasty knock late in the first half, but it was some while before he was put under real pressure, despite the Bluebirds’ winning a succession of corners. Then, the Blues began to find their form a little more. Jamie Bradford, who had had a quiet first half, now began to spray the ball wider and more quickly.

The pressure now was not overwhelming but it was consistent. Walters, put in by Williams, sent a dipping shot just under the bar and drew a superb save from Kendall. But the Steelmen were regularly breaking at speed and the back line of Lee Bevan, Jamie Grimes and Terry Evans needed to stay cool and alert. The equalizer came in the 90 th minute and it was a glorious finish by the industrious Williams, who burrowed into space out on the right, left his defender cold and drove through the diving Kendall from an acute angle.

The game was not a classic but it was another very exciting South Wales derby.

Principality Welsh Premier League

Friday, 11th September 2009

at The New Bridge Meadow Stadium, Haverfordwest

Haverfordwest County 1-1 Port Talbot Town


Haverfordwest County

Steffan Williams (90)

Port Talbot Town

Lee John (24)

Referee – Mr Paul Thomas

Haverfordwest County

Team – Lee Idzi, Terry Evans, Damon Searle, Lee Bevan, Jamie Grimes, Kyle Graves, Kevin Morgan, Jamie Bradford, Robbie Walters, Steffan Williams, Jarrod Price

Subs – Paul Michael (rep Morgan – 45), Bobby Briers (Unused), Gareth Elliott (rep Graves -80), Jack Jones (Unused), Luke Robinson (rep Searle – 75)

Yellow Cards – Kevin Morgan (38) Red Cards – None

Goalscorers – Steffan Williams (90)

Port Talbot Town

Team – Lee Kendall, Leigh De-Vulgt, Scott Barrow, Gareth Phillips, Matthew Rees, Lee Surman, Lee John, Neil Thomas, Martin Rose, Liam McCreesh, Daniel Thomas

Subs – Drew Fahiya (rep D.Thomas – 75), Karl Lewis (Unused), Lloyd Grist (Unused), Sam Baker (Unused)

Yellow Cards – Liam McCreesh (28), Martin Rose (29), Gareth Phillips (32), Scott Barrow (63)

Red Cards – Liam McCreehs (45)

Goalscorers – Lee John (24)

Attendance – 412