Yesterday the 5th December, Druids put on one of their finest displays so far this season in a dominant but heart wrenching 1-1 draw away at 6th placed Haverfordwest County AFC. We made the long trip south to Bridge Meadow for a crucial game to improve on our table position. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be in the end as Druids should have picked up all three points but a free kick in the final seconds for the Bluebirds ended the game all square.
Druids looked lively before the match even started, throughout the warming, encouraging one another and it seemed everyone knew how important this game was for our season. Our opponents had been enjoying a fine run of form, so we needed to be ready from the first whistle, and we were. Druids pressed together immediately, not allowing our opponents a second to breath and winning the ball back quickly. In possession, everyone was giving options and keeping the ball on the ground, playing our possession-based style for extended periods.
It was clear which team was on top and our possession began to lead to chances. The first real chance came after 10 minutes when striker Chris Aziamale turned well inside the box for his left footed strike to sail inches over the top corner. Shortly after, winger Sam Phillips cut inside on his right foot for his attempt to also go over. The Bluebirds did threaten our box at times with a rightfully disallowed goal for offside and a low cross and strike sailing over the bar. However, Druids kept dominating possession and towards the end of the first half we made 2 more clear-cut chances as a low cross and 1 on 1 for Aziamale were both saved by Haverfordwest keeper Gajda.
We went into half time frustrated as many would have felt the game should have been 3-0 and over at that point. However, we didn’t give up, and came out for the second half determined to create more and finish our chances.
That’s exactly what happened as almost directly from kick-off, Ryan Kershaw struck a fine cross field diagonal to winger Joe Faux, who took it down with his chest and beat the oncoming full back and centre half before his low strike went in under the opponent’s keeper. The Druids bench and players erupted, and we were determined to go get another and finish the game off. Shortly after, Faux put Aziamale through on goal again, for his chance to be smothered by Gajda and the centre half moments before he struck.
A big turning point in the game came in the 60th minute when midfielder Ryan Kershaw was shown a second yellow after a tackle in midfield and Druids were forced to play the final 30 minutes with 10 men. Cartwright and Reed entered the game in an attempt to hold out the Bluebirds and take 3 points. Our opponents began getting into the game with the extra man and floated balls into our box, but centre half duo Phil Mooney and Jacob Wise put in excellent performances, heading balls clear and restricting our opponents to only half chances. Druids began to sit back and play on the counter attack which almost finished the game off when Faux struck a 40 yard diagonal ball to find substitute Charley Edge 18 yards out, the ball bounced once and Charley unleashed a powerful volley right at goal, only for keeper Gajda to again pull off a fine save to keep his side in the game.
It seemed The Ancients were going to do it as the clock ran down and we continued clearing ball after ball that came into our box. However, on the 93rd minute, literally one of the final moments of the game, Haverfordwest were awarded a freekick 22 yards out. Midfielder Scotcher’s shot deflected off the Druids wall, past Jones and into the net for a heart-breaking finale to the game.
The referee blew for full-time shortly after in a disappointing game for Druids who felt they were the better side and should have gotten all 3 points. However, football can be a cruel game at times, and we will need to be more clinical with the chances we create in future, if we are to escape the bottom of the table.
We welcome Caernarfon to The Rock on Tuesday night in another massive game.
We keep going!
More than just a football club