Match Review: Port Talbot Town 2 Haverfordwest County 1
Port Talbot Town celebrated Welsh League Division One survival by earning a hard-fought win over Haverfordwest County.
With Barry Town United’s promotion guaranteeing their place in the second tier next season, the hosts were free to produce an accomplished and confident performance.
Goals from Lewis Holmes and Luke Bowen handed them a commanding lead, before Lee Hudgell pulled one back for the visitors, who showed little sign of repeating their 6-2 win in the reverse fixture at the beginning of the month.
Sean Pemberton nearly nicked a point at the death, but his scrambled effort was deflected onto the post.
The result condemns Haverfordwest to their fourth straight defeat on the road, while Port Talbot will see it as the perfect tonic following the departure of talismanic striker Jon Hood, who left for Icelandic side Aegir FC this week.
Jandir Zola should have given the hosts the lead after six minutes, but could only fire wide following Bowen’s flashed ball across goal, as the strugglers made a vibrant start.
A deserved breakthrough came on 12 minutes, as some neat build-up play sparked a scramble in the Haverfordwest box, with Holmes reacting quickest to prod home.
The hosts continued to cause problems, with Jake Hammond firing over from close-range, and doubled their lead on 21 minutes when skipper Bowen rose highest to power a header into the net.
But Haverfordwest found a way back two minutes later, as Hudgell chested down inside the box before applying a cool finish.
Home goalkeeper Rory McCleesh was then forced to tip over a looping Rhys Dalling header as the rejuvenated visitors looked to restore parity.
But despite continuing to probe after the break, County otherwise struggled to fashion any clearcut chances, although they did see a strong penalty shout turned down when Matthew Broome was brought down by Ricky Watts.
Jake Hammond had an appeal turned down at the other end, while Zola warmed the palms of visiting goalkeeper Nicky Jones with a tame effort from the edge of the box.
Hudgell saw a powerful drive tipped round the post as the visitors stepped up their efforts, with Pemberton also seeing an effort deflected onto the woodwork late on, as Port Talbot held on for a well-earned victory.
Man of the Match: Luke Bowen (Port Talbot) – A strong performance from the skipper, who earned himself a goal and made it his business to trouble the Haverfordwest defence all evening.
Image Credit: (Port Talbot Fans/@pttsupporters)