Interim manager Gary Richards was pleased with the effort of his players as Haverfordwest County drew 2-2 with high flying Pen-y-Bont at the Ogi Bridge Meadow on Friday evening.
The Bluebirds took an early lead through Ricky Watts, but the visitors hit back through Ben Ahmun and Kane Owen to lead 2-1 at the break. However, with 10 minutes remaining, substitute Alhagi Touray Sisay scored to ensure that County took a deserved point.
“We went in at half-time pretty happy with the first-half performance,” said Richards. “We got a goal early which we thought set us up, and we played well.
“The disappointing thing is obviously the two goals we gave away. We definitely have to defend better from crosses, and the boys know that.”
The Bluebirds’ opening goal was a thing of beauty, with quick, incisive passing giving Ben Fawcett space to cross to the far post where Watts was unmarked to prod in from close range.
Commenting on the goal, Richards said: “It was a great move, a great cross into the box from Ben and then it’s about desire to get onto the end of the cross which we’ve spoken about a lot this season, and we had that today.
“It was a really well worked goal, and it gave us a great start.”
The visitors fought back strongly, however, as they began to adapt to the Bluebirds’ tactical approach.
However, a couple of substitutions proved key for County, in particular the introduction of Touray Sisay.
“You’ve got to use the substitutions well,” said Richards. “I think the boys put in a lot of effort. We were really pleased with the second-half in terms of the intensity we played at, but obviously that takes its toll so you certainly have to make use of the bench.
“I said last week that our bench is looking a lot stronger, we’ve got players who are coming on now and making a difference like we saw tonight.”
The result saw Haverfordwest County take a point from a team competing at the top end of the table for the second week running, after the 1-1 with Newtown at Latham Park last weekend.
When asked if he feels the team are heading in the right direction, Richards said: “I think that’s the way we’ve got to look at it,” adding: “It is two points where a win would have given us an extra point, but I think playing like we have in two games against two top six teams, who are going particularly well, will breed confidence, and it’s now just a matter of making sure we recover well and that we’re ready for Tuesday.”
Alluding to the game against rivals Aberystwyth Town at Park Avenue on Tuesday night, Richards stressed the importance of replicating the previous two displays as we head into the business end of Phase One in the JD Cymru Premier.
“I think the boys know the importance of the two games coming up. It’s important that we’re right and that we’re ready.
“We want to make sure that we can put in similar performances to the ones we have in the last two matches.”