JD Cymru Premier: Haverfordwest County 1–4 Connah’s Quay Nomads

It was billed as Haverfordwest’s toughest test yet since starting life back in the top flight – and so it proved.

At half time, the Bluebirds were level at 1-1 with champions Connah’s Quay Nomads, and then should have gone ahead early in the second half before a clinical display from the champions resulted in a convincing 1-4 win.

Andy Morrison’s side led early through Craig Curran before home skipper Sean Pemberton levelled, but then second half goals from Curran again, Aeron Edwards and Declan Poole settled matters.

Blow before the start:

Wayne Jones made four changes to the side that drew with Newtown last Saturday as Jack Wilson, Marcus Griffiths, and Nicky Palmer all came in – as did Polish keeper Wojciech Gajda.

The latter’s involvement was cut short however, as an ankle injury in the warm up saw Steve Hall come back into the side just minutes before kick off.

Connah’s Quay come out strongly:

And for the opening 25 minutes, Hall had plenty to do with the Bluebirds under the cosh.

They had an early let off after Kris Owens flicked a ball into the path of striker Sameron Singh-Dool, who could only side foot wide when clean through on goal.

And then 10 minutes in the Nomads led, as Daniel Davies’ low angled shot was well kept out by Hall, but Curran was on hand to tap in the rebound.

The pressure continued as twice Singh-Dool had shots blocked in a mad scramble, and then Edwards’ header was tipped around the post by a scrambling Hall.

Away skipper Priestley Farquharson was also influential in the opening stages, but after weathering the storm the Bluebirds responded.

Pemberton levels up:

Nine minutes before the break Wilson won a free kick just outside the area, and full back Cameron Keetch whipped a fierce left footed shot against the bar, with Pemberton on hand to turn in the rebound.

That prompted more pressure and Wilson saw his low left foot cross crucially cut out by Callum James, and a Kieran Lewis free kick found its way to Griffiths - but the striker lost control at the vital moment.

At the other end Hall had to be sharp again to push away Davies’ 20 yard effort, and then got down to low to gather after Kris Owens had weaved into the area and tried to place his shot into the far corner.

Big chance goes begging:

It meant honours were even at the break but then just seconds after the restart, Wayne Jones’ side missed a big chance to go ahead – as Griffiths crossed from right and an unmarked Palmer headed wide from point blank range.

And then just minutes later, the hosts suddenly had a mountain to climb as the Nomads struck twice.

After Farquharson headed over, another low Davies shot deflected up into the path of Curran, whose sliding finish made it 1-2.

And on the 53 minute mark, barely 60 seconds after Curran had struck, it was Davies again who was the provider as he teed up Edwards to tap into an empty net.

The home side tried to up the ante to get back into it but chances were scarce, and Keetch, Danny Williams, and sub Ben Fawcett all went into the book as frustration grew.

And with 17 minutes left the Nomads made the points safe when Aron Williams’ volleyed cross was tapped in by Declan Poole.

Fawcett did have a late shot palmed away by Lewis Brass, but the visitors were comfortable in the closing stages and left the Bluebirds still seeking a first win back in the Premier.

Their next chance to get it comes this Wednesday, away to Barry Town United.

Haverfordwest County: Steve Hall, Ricky Watts, Cameron Keetch, Sean Pemberton (capt), Alaric Jones, Scott Tancock (Corey Shepard 58), Kieran Lewis, Nicky Palmer (Jack Britton 78), Jack Wilson, Marcus Griffiths (Ben Fawcett 58), Danny Williams. Sub not used: Kurtis Rees.

Connah’s Quay Nomads: Lewis Brass, John Disney (Aron Williams 60), Callum Roberts (Daniel Holmes HT), Priestley Farquharson (capt), Declan Poole (Brayden Shaw 86), James Owen, Kris Owens, Craig Curran, Sameron Singh-Dool, Daniel Davies, Aeron Edwards. Subs not used: Oliver Byrne, Callum Morris, Sam Williams.

Referee: Bryn Markham-Jones.