Chepstow Town 3 Haverfordwest County 4
CHEPSTOW Town’s Welsh Cup run came to an end when they were narrowly beaten 3-4 at home against 1st Division side Haverfordwest County.
The game was in doubt up to an hour before kick off but following a tremendous two day snow clearance effort by club volunteers the referee declared that the match could go ahead.
The heavy pitch made it difficult for both teams to play their normal passing game but despite this the match was full of incident from the first whistle.
Chepstow went into the match full of confidence and were not in awe of their more experienced opponents. However Haverfordwest soon showed why they are near the top of the First Division and began to take control of the game with their defenders making sure that Chepstow did not cause any problems for goalkeeper, Peter Blaim.
After 15 minutes Haverfordwest took the lead when central striker Ben Steel took advantage of some loose defending to put the ball past home keeper, Callum George.
Within 5 minutes Chepstow found themselves 2 goals behind when central defender Tony Shier deflected a wicked cross from the right into his own net.
Despite these setbacks Chepstow began to get into the game and created enough chances to reduce the deficit before half time. However the Haverfordwest defence stood firm and the away side took their 2 nil lead into half time.
Manager Russell Griffiths’s half time talk seemed to do the trick as Chepstow put their opponents under pressure right from the kick off and were unlucky not to score on several occasions.
Chepstow then suffered a further setback when Haverfordwest were awarded a free kick on the edge of the penalty area and substitute Anton Owens placed the ball wide of keeper Callum George to give the away side a 3 nil lead.
Within a minute however Chepstow reduced the lead when striker Jason Thorne evaded several tackles to score an excellent goal. The match was now turning into a real cup tie with Chepstow doing everything they could to score a second goal.
This opportunity came when Jason Thorn was fouled in the penalty area but unfortunately the same player failed to score when he put the penalty wide of the post.
At this point Haverfordwest were struggling to contain Chepstow but the home side received a further setback in the 75th minute when central defender Andrew Wenzel received a straight red card for a tackle on his opponent. The referee’s decision seemed unjust but seemed to spur Chepstow to even greater effort.
Within a minute of the sending off Haverfordwest’s lead was further reduced when they also conceded an own goal when midfielder Chris O’Sullivan put the ball past his own keeper.
Five minutes later Haverfordwest went back into a 2 goal lead when a rare attack gave Stefan Williams the opportunity to take advantage of a defensive slip and score his side’s 4th goal.
There were now goalmouth incidents at both ends and Haverfordwest also showed how nervous they were when they also missed a penalty. Both sides were now looking very tired due to the heavy pitch but there was still further excitement to come when Chepstow captain Mark Dunn had the final touch of the ball when a shot from Jason Thorn hit the post and the ball stuck in the mud on the goal line.
With 5 minutes to go and the score at 3-4 Chepstow bombarded the Haverfordwest goal and there was even one more incident when the Haverfordwest coach was sent off for impeding Ashley Palmer as he was about to take a throw in.
Try as they might Chepstow could not score that all important equalising goal to take the game into extra time and the final score remained at 4-3 in favour of Haverfordwest.