Haverfordwest County suffered their first defeat of the season, losing 3-2 to Penybont.
In what was an entertaining match, Ben Fawcett’s header canceled out Rhys Kavanagh’s opener as the teams tied at half-time. But second-half goals from Keyon Refell and Ryan Reynolds put Penybont on the path to victory. Iori Humphreys scored with two minutes remaining for County, but it wasn’t enough.
The result sees Penybont drop to fourth, while Haverfordwest drop to fifth.
It was a quiet start to the match with prime chances. However, 15 minutes later, the game came to life.
A cross ball found Nathan Wood, and his cute touch put captain Kane Owen on the wing. Owen’s cross eluded all county defense and found its way to Rhys Kavanagh. The former Barry man took a touch and passed Zac Jones, to take his total for the season to four, and put Penybont ahead.
However, Haverfordwest refused to lie down and found their equalizer three minutes later. After Kelland Absalom knocked down an Ioan Evans free-kick, he failed to recover from a corner, leaving a scramble in Penybont’s box. It was Ben Fawcett who reacted quicker, and he produced an air kick that landed in the back of the net, and we were level again.
Haverfordwest then had a period of dominance, but the host fared well. In fact, it was Penybont who had the better half-time chance following goals. Keyon Reffell’s powerful effort was knocked down superbly by Jones.
A concern for the county would be the fact that Jazz Richards was expelled. Penybont also picked up an injury as striker Kavanagh was sent off, but we’ll wait to see the extent of those injuries after the match.
Everything Rhys Griffiths said to his side at half-time clearly had an impact as they regained the lead four minutes into the second half.
A clearance from Absalom found Wood, and he battled defender after defender as he made his way to the box. His shot hit the post, but standing in the right place at the right time was Renell, who converted from a yard to make it 2-1.
Bont controlled the game after the goal, but the Bluebirds had a wonderful chance to equalize on the hour mark. A cross from Rhys Abbruzzese was perfect and landed on the head of Jack Wilson, but he managed to clear the lead and they stayed one goal behind.
On the 70e minute, another chance fell on the county. Absalom made the rash decision to come out early, and his misfiring punch left an empty net, but Lee Jenkins couldn’t get the ball into an empty net.
And the visitors got paid two minutes later. Rebell kept the ball in play well and returned it to Ryan Reynolds. It looked like a cross from Reynolds, but he deflected off Abbruzzese, and he looped past Jones and into the net, to make it 3-1.
When the game looked like it was about to fizzle out, County injected tension in the closing minutes. A long shot from Wilson was not cleared by Penybont, and Iori Humphreys, hiding at the back post, swung his foot to the ball and pressed it past Absalom, and the deficit was reduced to one.
But it was not to be for County as Penybont held on to secure all three points.
Penybont travel on Saturday to face Connah’s Quay Nomads, while Haverfordwest will return west to face Newtown.
Player of the match: Nathan Wood
An honorable mention to Keyon Renell but Wood was outstanding today. Her direct running, movement and passing were superb today, and she certainly deserved to be on the winning team.
Penybont: Kelland Absalom (GK), Mark Little, Kane Owen©, Dan Jefferies, Nathan Wood, Kai Whitmore, Keyon Reffell, Billy Borge, Rhys Kavanagh (Mael Davies, 26′), Ryan Reynolds, Tom Tweedy (Luke Sylvester, 79′ )
Unused Subs: Alex Pennock (GK), Rhys Griffiths, Jak Carson
Goals: Rhys Kavanagh (15′), Keyon Refell (49′), Ryan Reynolds (72′)
Yellow cards: Billy Borge (16′)
West Haverford County: Zac Jones (GK), Jazz Richards (Iori Humphreys, 22′), Rhys Abbruzzese (Dan James, 83′), Dylan Rees©, Ben Fawcett, Jordan Davies, Jamie Veale, Lee Jenkins, Ryan George, Jack Wilson, Ioan Evans
Unused Subs: Lucas Davies, Harri John, Callum Shirt
Goals: Ben Fawcett (18′), Iori Humphreys (88′)
Yellow cards: Lee Jenkins (39′)
(Featured Image: Lewis Mitchell)