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Whitland one win away from title

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WHITLAND moved to within one win of the League 2 West title after they beat Fishguard 46-26 at The Moors on Saturday (May 5).

The Borderers were beaten by Hendy in their previous game but bounced back and now just need to win their final game at home to Mumbles on Saturday (May 12) to seal the title.

Fishguard sit seven points above second from bottom Amman United and the two teams meet next Saturday.

Whitland began Saturday’s game well but after a pass was knocked forward, Fishguard had a scrum. However, a Seagulls infringement gave the ball back to the visitors and from the resulting scrum Adam Davies picked the ball out before passing to Liam Price who went over in the corner.

Nico Setaro’s conversion went wide and the Borderers held a 5-0 lead with ten minutes gone.

Just a minute later Setaro burst through a couple of tackles and offloaded to Jonny Thomas who touched down under the posts giving Setaro an easy conversion.

Fishguard looked to respond and came close on a number of occasions. On one occasion, they were held up illegally and Mike Jenkins sent a penalty through the posts to put the Seagulls on the board.

Whitland then went up the other end but after another foul, Setaro had a chance to extend their lead but his penalty went wide.

Setaro then made amends a minute later as he sent a penalty through the posts for a 15-3 lead.

From the kick off Whitland knocked the ball on giving Fishguard possession and after kicking to touch, Mike Jenkins offloaded for Jamie Lewis who scored in the corner. Jenkins then added the extras to bring the Seagulls to within five points of their opponents.

Fishguard came forward again with Chris Shousha making a darting run and after losing one of his boots he was brought down. Another Whitland foul saw Jenkins send a penalty through the posts to make the score 13-15 to the visitors.

Whitland again responded but Fishguard’s Luke Freebury intercepted the ball illegally, according to the referee and Whitland had another penalty which Setaro scored.

On the stroke of half time, Whitland kicked the ball forward and Seagulls’ Robbie Jones struggled to take the ball cleanly in the bright sun. That put Fishguard back and Whitland were able to win the ball back. Setaro again broke the tackles and passed to David Ebsworth who was brought down before the line but was still able to reach over for the try.

The conversion caused a moment of controversy as it was given by the Whitland touch judge and not given by the Fishguard touch judge. After the confusion was cleared up the conversion was not given and Whitland held a 23-13 lead at the break.

In the second half, Mike Jenkins went on a mazy run but he was penalised for holding onto the ball. Whitland chose to kick to touch but the kick didn’t go out and Fishguard attacked again.

They were then given a penalty and Jenkins again sent the penalty through the posts to bring them to within seven points of their opponents.

Whitland responded in kind and a penalty from Setaro restored his side’s ten point lead.

A knock on from Whitland saw Fishguard pick the ball up and play the advantage but they were unable to break through.

Whitland had a scrum five metres out but Setaro’s clearance kick barely cleared the 22 and Fishguard attacked again. They came close but a knock on ended their attack.

Moments later Setaro broke out and a series of passes found Jonny Thomas who touched down in the right corner. Setaro added the extras for a 33-16 lead.

Another penalty from Jenkins closed the gap once more and with ten minutes to go, Fishguard attacked and the ball was played to Osian Lewis who went over in the corner for a try. Jenkins added the extras to bring the Seagulls back to within ten points of Whitland.

Five minutes from time Setaro added another penalty and with the clock ticking over the 80-minute mark Sean Coles intercepted the ball in his own half and ran on to score the try. Setaro added the extras giving Whitland a 46-26 victory.

Sport

Nicky Hayen: European football is the goal for Haverfordwest County

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HAVERFORDWEST COUNTY return to action this weekend as they take on Newtown in the JD Cymru Premier.

Football in Wales had been suspended following the announcement of Welsh Government restrictions but they have now been relaxed and football can once again get underway.

The Bluebirds face a tough test against the side that sits in second place in the table but new manager Nicky Hayen will not be in charge for the game against Newtown as his work permit has not come through.

He will be watching on though as Gary ‘Waggy’ Richards takes temporary charge and Nicky told the Herald that he is fully confident that his assistants can get a good result.

When the sides last met in October the Bluebirds came out on top with a 1-0 win thanks to a goal from Alhagi Touray Sisay.

Speaking ahead of the game on Saturday Nicky told us about his plans for the team, his ambitions and how he wants to work closely with grassroots teams in Pembrokeshire and with the community.

Nicky may not be able to take charge just yet but he has already been observing training sessions and been gathering information on the other teams in the JD Cymru Premier.

Asked what attracted him to join Haverfordwest County, Nicky said: “First of all, the ambition of the chairman, this is the most important thing so he had a project for three years to reach European football. I like projects and when you’re digging into stuff from the club, you can see that is a good combination.

“I saw some games of the team and I saw two different teams, one team who play with confidence and played the football that I like, building out from the back and trying to find the football solutions on the ground, and I saw a team that didn’t have confidence that was clearing every ball and wasn’t winning contests so I saw that they have the skills to do what I have in my mind.

“So this combination, the ambition of the chairman, the team that is playing at this moment, I think we have to be capable of performing better than the position in the league at this moment.”

The ultimate aim for the club is to reach European football but Nicky isn’t thinking about that just yet.

“The ambition is to make it to the first six positions, it will be almost impossible for this season so we want to avoid relegation and then have a good pre-season and we’ll see what happens next season but finishing in the top six is a nice goal.

“To reach this you have to win your first game and then your second game, I just take one game at a time, starting with the game at Newtown, we’ll try to win and then I hope I can be on the bench for the Penybont game.

“The short term project is staying in the league, but the project is much bigger and it includes building bridges with the grassroots teams with the Pembrokeshire League, with the community so what we want to do is to create an environment over here that is more than football.

“The academy is something that is really important, we want to improve our players and everyone can see that we give chances to players to develop in the squad and this is what we are already doing now.

“The one thing I don’t want to do is change the club culture. We have to keep the culture but we have to add some value and create an identity that is clear for the next fifty years.”

Nicky is settling in well in Haverfordwest and is looking forward to seeing more of the area but says he is focussed on the football for now.

Haverfordwest’s game with Newtown takes place on Saturday, January 22, kick off at 2:30pm.

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Sport

Five-star Milford sink Pennar

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MILFORD UNITED moved up to seventh place in Division 2 on Saturday (Jan 15) as they beat Pennar Robins seconds 5-1 at Marble Hall.

The club had worked up until 1:00 pm to prepare the pitch for the encounter with Pennar Robins and their efforts were matched by the players who put in a very good performance to overcome a youthful and capable Pennar team.

Milford started sprightly, attacking down both flanks. But it was a break down the middle by Liam Parks, which first opened up a Pennar defence, which was well marshalled by Gideon Hockin.

Parks ran through on goal and when he was closed down by the Pennar keeper, he slipped it to the right for Liam Parr, whose shot from a difficult angle, hit the post.

The Pennar keeper was busy and pulled off a number of good saves. Milford looked destined to open the scoring when Ben Lewis squared a ball for Lewys Tee inside the box, only to see his shot canon off a Pennar defender making a last ditch block.

But it was Pennar who opened the scoring in the first half. A free kick was conceded by Milford on the half way line, who then failed to deal adequately with it. The ball fell kindly for Liam Williams, who executed a lob perfectly to score against the run of play.

Milford were still in the game though and they finished the first half putting more pressure on the Pennar back line, one attack resulting in a corner. Morgan Picton whipped in a far post cross, which was met sweetly by the on rushing Jacob Horn to level the game.

Pennar made a couple of tactical changes at half time and started the second half well. It was a good shot from Pennar, from which Ferdy Stevenson pulled of an equally good save, diving down low to his right.

Milford began to gain control of the game and created several good opportunities, which they couldn’t quite take. But a good interchange with Lewys Tee, opened up the defence for Ben Lewis, who managed to get his shot off and scored from just inside the box.

At 2-1 there was still a game to play for but the pressure was mounting and a Milford corner was not fully cleared and was picked up by Horn just outside the box. He managed to fashion a little bit of space and supplied an excellent cross to the back post. It was met by his centre half partner, Scott Griffiths, who rounded off an accomplished performance by the pairing, by heading home the third and decisive goal.

This gave Milford a chance to get fresh legs on. Owen Wilson, Lewys Tee and Liam Parr came off for a well deserved rest. All three contributing well to an impressive performance.

The new arrivals ensured that the home side kept their foot on the gas. A darting run by Liam Parks into the penalty area looked dangerous and a Pennar defender couldn’t get to ball and brought him down for a penalty.

Ashley Mathias stepped up confidently to take the spot kick and dispatched it into the bottom right corner.

Milford were enjoying their football now and continued to dominate possession and a ball played over the advancing Pennar defence fell to Scott Griffiths, who, with two touches, put the ball into the back of the net, only to be correctly ruled offside and denied a brace.

It was now time for another one of the substitutes to get nvolved in the action after a ball was played into the box by Jacob Horn. The defence didn’t quite get their line right, which left Milford’s Tom Blockwell unmarked in the middle of the box. He still had a lot to do though, but having chested it down he shot from 10 yards out to score the final goal.

An impressive performance and result from the Milford Robins against a good Pennar Robins side, who had previously won 4 of their last 5 games.

Sorry sent in error. Cont.:-Get involved in the action after a ball was played into the box by Jacob Horn. The defence didn’t quite get their line right, which left Milford’s Tom Blockwell unmarked in the middle of the box. He still had a lot to do though, but having chested it down he shot from 10 yards out to score the final goal. An impressive performance and result from the Milford Robins against a good Pennar Robins side, who had previously won 4 of their last 5 games.

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Sport

Bridge and Clarby settle for a point

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CLARBESTON ROAD and Merlins Bridge were forced to settle for a share of the points on Saturday (Jan 15) as their game finished 1-1.

The two sides had met at the Racecourse in November with that game finishing 3-3 and it was another close game on Saturday.

Matthew D’Ivry opened the scoring for the Wizards inside 5 minutes after latching onto a short back pass and firing into the top corner.

Will Haworth missed great chance to double the lead for the visitors and at the other end Ben John forced Bridge keeper James Dickson into a save.

Within seconds of the restart, Dickson was again called into action in what was the save of the afternoon.

Midway through the half, Clarbeston Road were level as Charles George powered in a header from a set piece.

Shortly afterwards, Ben John had a goal disallowed for Clarbeston Road but there were no further chances and a draw was a fair result.

On Saturday, January 22, Merlins Bridge travel to Goodwick United while Clarbeston Road travel to Fishguard.

Clarbeston Road: Matthew Davies, Josh Wood, Greg Brown, Tom Glover, Matthew Griffiths, Jake Booth, Charles George, Ben John, Jason Griffiths, Steffan Thomas. Subs: Joules Ward, Matthew Ellis, Keegan Summers.

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

PHOTO by MW10 Sports Photography

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