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Team of the week: Haverfordwest County

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team of the weekFootball Club was formed on December 7, 1899 and changed the name early in its history to Haverfordwest Town.

Most of the team’s fixtures in those early days were friendly matches, but the club gained membership of the Pembrokeshire League before the First World War.

The senior team moved up to the Welsh Football League in 1936, and they became known as Haverfordwest Athletic.

Haverfordwest Athletic remained in the lower reaches until 1955/56 when they won the First Division title and gained promotion to the Premier Division. The following season, the team won the Welsh League title, with the legendary Stan Richards starring in the side.

It was at this point in their history that the present name of Haverfordwest County was adopted. County remained in the Premier Division, finishing as runners-up in 1969-70 and 1970-71, until a disastrous 1975/76 season saw them relegated.

The club just missed out on success for the following two seasons but, at the third attempt, comfortably won promotion to the top flight once more. A highly successful 1980/81 season enabled County to take the championship in their first year back, losing only five games.

In 1983, the League was restructured and the National Division’ created. In the nine years existence of the National Division, Haverfordwest County only once finished outside a top six position, but the championship eluded them.

County’s pedigree during the 1980s made them prime candidates for membership of the League of Wales in 1992/93. In that first season they finished comfortably in mid-table and consolidated their status the following season.

At this point in 1994, however, other influences came to bear. An offer to buy their Bridge Meadow ground had come from the Safeway Supermarket chain. This offer included the construction of a new ground and County decided this was the way to go.

County have an excellent new stadium, the New Bridge Meadow, and enjoyed three seasons back in the Welsh League in which they were twice runners-up and, in 1996/97, deserved champions.

Those three years brought seventy league victories and only 16 defeats in over a century of matches. Each season County notched more than a hundred league goals (335 in total!) and, by the time they rejoined the League of Wales in August 1997, the club was well set to continue where they had left off.

1997/98 was a difficult term for Haverfordwest County, and relegation was being accepted following a run of twelve games up to Easter in which they failed to register a victory. That all changed with a 2-1 home win against Connah’s Quay Nomads. The following season began brightly as, based on the goalscoring achievements of Paul Burrows and Richard Gay, Haverfordwest challenged the early-season league leaders. Successive victories by 7-2, 2-0 and 5-2, thanks to a couple of hat-tricks from Gay, put County in fourth place, though a slump was to follow.

Nevertheless, the team performed well enough to avoid being dragged into a relegation battle.Placed 15th in 1999/2000, County improved to finish 10th the following season.

The next campaign saw the former Norwich City and Wrexham defender Deryn Brace appointed player-manager and despite finishing the season next to bottom, County retained League of Wales membership.Season 2002/3 saw some improvement, but in 2003/4 the Bluebirds became the surprise package of the league, finishing in third place and qualifying for the UEFA Cup.

However, a cash crisis in 2005/6 saw the departure of several keys players. A new administration aimed at rescuing the Club from extinction began their task in January 2006 and the club stabilised its position to finish eighth in the league.

A poor start to the 2006/07 season saw manager Deryn Brace step down and he was replaced by former Manchester United and Cardiff City defender Derek Brazil who guided a young side to a mid-table position at the end of his first season in charge. In Brazil’s second season at the Bridge Meadow, Haverfordwest County improved to eighth in the league, and in the following season finished 7th on goal difference, whilst keeping 10 clean sheets during the campaign.

Over the past few years the directors of Haverfordwest County AFC Limited, a company that was formed in June 2006, have managed to engage new sponsors and much help from local businesses. The financial situation at the club is now healthy and the erection of a new stand was completed in time for the 2009-10 season.

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Sport

Milford hit five again to see off Swifts

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MILFORD United scored five goals for the third game running as they beat Monkton Swifts seconds 5-1 in Division 2 at Marble Hall on Saturday (Jan 22).

Milford went into the game full of confidence after two good home performances which resulted in two wins and 10 goals scored.

Monkton would have also come into the game with high expectations, having won the reverse fixture 5-3.

It was Milford who started the liveliest, causing lots of problems for the Monkton back four. It didn’t take Milford too long for their pace, power and high pressing to be rewarded with the opening goal on 6 minutes.

The ball was won by United in midfield and Lewys Tee picked up the ball in space. A great run by Liam Parr was picked out, who controlled the ball and outpaced the defence. Finishing it superbly from 18 yards into the top corner.

The Monkton team struggled all game to deal with United’s pace and movement and by the end of 90 minutes they had picked up 4 bookings trying to contain United’s attack.

Jordan Boswell in goal for Monkton was a busy man and had to pull off a number of good saves throughout the game.

It didn’t take United too long to get their second, which gave them a strong grip on the game. A good ball down the flank, which Liam Parks nodded down, then out muscled a couple of Monkton defenders, before crossing from the by-line for Ben Lewis. But he was quickly closed down and his shot was blocked, when a goal looked certain. But Tee was on hand to pick up the rebound, to knock the ball over the line, despite the best efforts of the Monkton defence.

This wasn’t United in top gear, but they did go in at half time with a comfortable lead. Monkton made a substitution during the break and came out the second half with much more resolve.

There was now a definite ebb and flow to the game, with Monkton now using the most of their 4-3-3 formation. But United spurned a couple of great chances to put the game out of sight with a third.

It was Monkton, who got the next goal, to really open up the game. A Monkton cross came in from the left and could only be half cleared by United’s defence. Which landed invitingly for Monkton’s Jay Kilby, who volleyed it perfectly passed Ferdy Stevenson.

At this stage, the game could have gone either way, despite United’s overall dominance. United’s manager Steve Parks, was fortunate to have the benefit of a strong bench and used them in a change of system in a 3 man substitution. It had an immediate effect and United once again gained control.

A dangerous run by Liam Parks had to be halted illegally and from the resulting free kick, Morgan Picton hit a peach of a shot into the top right corner from 30 yards. Only to be thwarted by a superb save from Boswell.

But the pressure was mounting and the chances becoming more frequent. Liam Parks got the all important 3rd goal after a good interplay with Liam Davies, which left Parks in space who calmly chipped the ball over the on rushing keeper.

With the game now running away from Monkton, it was a good break down the right from Parks, who in turn set up Davies to score from 10 yards. Even before United’s fifth goal had hit the net, it’s scorer Jake Barrett was already smiling. A good ball from Davies was sweetly met by Barrett, 20 yards out, who knew it was destined to beat the keeper.

It wasn’t United at their best, but 3 home wins on the bounce and 15 goals suggest a cause for optimism at Marble Hall.

On Saturday, January 29, Milford United, who now sit sixth in Division 2, travel to Broad Haven while Monkton Swifts seconds host Milford Athletic.

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Goodwick and Bridge ends in goalless draw

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GOODWICK United and Merlins Bridge fought out a goalless draw in a highly contested game at Phoenix Park last Saturday (Jan 22).

The two sides had met earlier in the season at the Racecourse with Goodwick winning that game 7-0.

It was a much closer game this time around though but neither side was able to do enough to pick up the three points.

Chances were few and far between, but one of the best chances of the afternoon fell to Merlins Bridge midfielder Lee Hudgell, whose effort hit the underside of the crossbar with many in attendance feeling that the ball had bounced over the line. It wasn’t given and both teams had to settle for a point each.

On Saturday, January 29, Goodwick travel to Carew while Merlins Bridge travel to Narberth.

Goodwick United: Kyle Marsh, Stefan Hayes, Sion O’Sullivan, Jordan Thomas, Scott Delaney, Luke Hayward, Rhys Dalling, Kieran O’Brien, Nathan Greene, Jordan Griffiths, Steven Dockerty. Subs: Llyr Tobin, Rob Morgans, Daniel James.

Merlins Bridge: James Dickson, Chris Ormond, Andrew John, Richard Hughes, Henry Thomas, Dai Davies, Jordan Williams, Lee Hudgell, Matthew D’Ivry, Adam Hawkins, Will Haworth. Subs: Leon Davies, Josh Silk, Ben Davies.

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Sport

Pembrokeshire Junior Netball league results

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THE results from the latest round of the Pembrokeshire Junior Netball League, played on Saturday (Jan 22) can be seen below.

In the Under 12s division, Fishguard B and Fishguard A both picked up wins as did Pembroke firsts.

Pembroke were also winners in the under 14s league while Chaos Purple were victorious in the under 16s league.

The results and players’ player from each game are as follows:

Under 12’s:

Sapphires White 12 v 15 Fishguard B
Players player:
Sapphires: Seren Davies
Fishguard: Megan Nicholas

Pembroke (2) 0 v 24 Fishguard A
Players player:
Pembroke: Mollie Smith
Fishguard: Anna Waldon-Smith

Pembroke (1) 19 v 0 Chaos Lightning
Players player:
Pembroke: Freya Cook
Chaos: Lily Jo Thomas

Under 14’s:

Sapphires White 0 v 22 Pembroke
Players player:
Sapphires: Kate Joseph
Pembroke: Ava Midgley

Under 16’s:

Chaos Purple 25 v 16 St David’s
Players player:
Chaos: Katie David
St David’s: Robyn Lewis

Fishguard B Under 12s
Sapphires White Under 12s
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