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(FM11) A most excellent adventure (or a very bogus journey!)

368 posts in this topic

Performing brilliantly with Haverfordwest so far,excellent performance against Deportivo in the Europa League as well as brilliant result against TNS in the cup.

Cheers, man. Really enjoying it so far, looking good for another crack at Europe next year.... a slightly more fortuitous draw and who knows?

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February

WPL Haverfordwest 2-1 Bangor City

A pair of Nathan Rooney goals set up the win, although we did concede our first goal at home in the league.

WPL Llanelli 2-1 Haverfordwest

Just not good enough against the side who are our closest challengers. We were 2 down before we even started, but when the chances came we couldn't take them. Reilly and Hopkinson both had their worst performances in a Haverfordwest shirt (5.4 and 5.6 respectively) so I'm looking to change things for the next game. Rooney scored our only goal.

WPL Haverfordwest 1-1 Port Talbot

More dropped points, which is frustrating. Hopkinson with our goal, but that lead at the top is getting much slimmer. :(

Welsh Cup Q/F Port Talbot 1-4 Haverfordwest

Much, much better. Despite falling behind early on, we ran riot. Matty Collins, Tim Hopkinson and an Alan Lynch double sent us into the Semis.

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Not so bad, all things considered.

Yeah I guess, but I was 11 points clear at one stage....

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March

WPL TNS 1-1 Haverfordwest

The poor form in the league continues, and we were only rescued by a ridiculous own goal. Getting quite nervous now...

WPL Haverfordwest 2-0 Aberystwyth

Two Nathan Rooney rockets won this one, and a much needed win that it was too.

WPL Bangor City 1-1 Haverfordwest

More points dropped, although at least Laurence Gaughan rescued a draw with an injury time bullet header. We now haven't won away from home in the league for two months.

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April

WPL Port Talbot 0-1 Haverfordwest

Rene Howe at last ended his awful run of form and grabbed the decisive goal.

Welsh Cup Semi Final Airbus 1-4 Haverfordwest

At last a bit of form, and a brilliant personal display from Tim Hopkinson. He scored a hat-trick, and James Ashmore scored a screamer to cap the win off.

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Interesting choice of venue for the game. The stadium is the home of Llanelli's rugby club, so maybe not quite so neutral a venue!

WPL Haverfordwest 0-0 TNS

I'm really getting sick of my team not putting sides away. Again we missed a hatful of chances, and the title race is down to the wire. To make matters worse, we lost Matty Hughes to a red card. We now lead Llanelli by 2 points, with two games to play.

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Down to the wire against them in both competitions.

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Welsh Principality Premier

Match week 31

Saturday 28th April 2012

Haverfordwest County Vs Llanelli AFC

Bridge Meadow Stadium, Haverfordwest

And so it comes down to this. An 11 point lead blown, and Llanelli have whittled down my lead to have their fate in their own hands, knowing that a victory will take them to the top of the table. They are unbeaten since December, when they lost the last time they played at Bridge Meadow, so they are in exceptional form. Here's the table before kick off:

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However, we haven't lost at home all season, and in 8 meetings between the two clubs since I've been at the club, we have won 6 of them. This is a close as it gets to a cup final, hence this update. I'll be back soon with the result!

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WPL Aberystwyth 0-0 Haverfordwest

Nine changes made ahead of the cup final, and it was a pretty dour encounter. Still, we didn't lose.

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Great work edging the double.

Not won the double yet...just the title, but cheers. I went through the wringer though in that game. 2-0 up to 2-2, only to win it late on. Rene Howe became one of my all time favourite FM players in that moment!

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The Welsh Cup Final

Saturday 5th May 2012

Haverfordwest County AFC Vs Llanelli AFC

Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli

Having just pipped Llanelli to the title, the two best sides in Welsh football will go head to head to decide the Cup. Thankfully, after securing the title I was able to rest pretty much my entire first 11 for the last league game, giving them a chance for some much needed rest. My side will be largely at full strength, although Matty Collins is missing from midfield. That injury has made my choice of system for me, and so much like last year I'll play 4-3-3 in a cup final and just go for it. However, I'm expecting fireworks.

First half

We've had total control in the first half, yet we've not been able to break the dead lock. The closest we've come so far is Nathan Rooney hitting the post from 30 yards, but we've largely snuffed Llanelli out. Now we just need to take a chance.

Haverfordwest 0-0 Llanelli

Second half

The second half started quickly, and 9 minutes in, Rene Howe's shot was deflected in by Llanelli defender Graham Hockless to put us in front. That was how it stayed until we switched off from a free kick, and Dean Lisles smashed home a leveller. That was how it finished, and off to extra time we go.

Haverfordwest 1-1 Llanelli

Extra time

Extra time was a tired affair, with only one chance each. Alan Lynch's 35 yard effort cannoned back off the cross bar for us, although Llanelli managed to miss an open goal! To penalties it goes.

H: James Ashmore scores

L: Hamilton MISSES!

H: Louis Swanson scores

L: Robinson scores

H: Shane Sweeney scores

L: Jones scores

H: David Cowan MISSES!

L: McGrath MISSES!

H: Danny Murphy SCORES!!

Haverfordwest 1-1 Llanelli (aet 4-2 on penalties)

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Haverfordwest County AFC: Season Summary 2011/12

League

Media prediction: 3rd (of 12)

Finished: 1st (champions)

Cups

Welsh Cup: Winners

Loosemore League Cup: Semi finalists (beaten by Prestatyn)

Top scorers

Rene Howe (40 apps/ 19 goals)

Tim Hopkinson (29 apps/ 14 goals)

Alan Lynch (36 apps/ 12 goals)

Martin Reilly (36 apps/ 12 goals)

Nathan Rooney (44 apps/ 10 goals)

Positives

Well, it's been another brilliant season, and by the skin of our teeth we've grabbed two more trophies. Retaining the league looked on all season, but a slight slip and the immense form of Llanelli kept the title alive, and I think just how close we were was really emphasised by the cup final going to pens. Still, absolutely delighted. I've been really happy with a most of the signings I've made, although Howe, Rooney, Williams and Hughes stood out. I do need to try and maintain some form for my front men though, as they all seemed to struggle at the same time. Howe's injury was a bit of a killer as he was in top form before that, and I'm pretty sure he can get 20 and more next time out. However, I do need to strengthen in the middle of the park in the summer.

Concerns

Well, other than throwing away a good lead in the league cup semi, I can't think of too many.

Ambitions

More of the same. Three in a row is the obvious target, although another cup would be a bonus too. Still think it's a little early for Europe, but if I get a favourable draw, who knows?

League table

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Surprise of the season

Once again my U19s finished second, and only by 2 points. More shocking was the 3rd place finish of my reserves, though.

Player of the season

David Cowan

Average attendance

373 in the league (increase of 35)

467 in all competitions (increase of 117)

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Well, was right after all ;)

"Strong with the Force, young Skywalker is" ;)

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Haverfordwest County AFC: Season preview 2012/13

Media expectation: 3rd

Board expectation: qualify for Europe.

So the new season approaches and the hang-over from last year's double is wearing off. Now the hard work starts all over again as we look to secure the championship for a third time, and maybe add a cup along the way. Much like last season, I'm looking for evolution in the squad, not revolution, so no major changes planned. First then, the budget:

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As you can see it's a fairly healthy increase from last season, and money to spend too! However, I'm not convinced the board have got that quite right, especially as they've both relaid the pitch AND announced plans for a brand new youth academy. The sensible option then was to look to the Bosman market, not that I'm convinced the club's reputation is ready to attract the kind of names transfer fees dictate, so it's probably for the best. There are a couple of areas I was looking to strengthen, although midfield was my priority. Having said that, I also had to target a couple of other areas after two or three fringe players told me they'd had enough of warming the bench, not to mention the deliberate move to allow a pair of contracts to expire. For a change then, the players who left the club first:

Ray Lally to Farnborough

Leon McSweeney to Gateshead

Gareth Mullan released

Vinny Perth retired

My reserve keeper David Oldfield was also attracting a lot of interest, and so I decided the best plan was to make him available for loan. As a result though, my first new signing was a goal keeper as cover for Phil Imray. However, the player I'm most impressed with is this signing:

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Higgins will undoubtedly come straight into the side, although I'm not quite sure of which role in the midfield 3 he will take just yet. Also coming in were:

33 year old AM Marc Bridge-Wilkinson (ENG)

24 yo GK Scott Christie (SCO)

18 yo CM Danny Stenning (ENG)

18 yo CM Jarret Rivers (ENG)

18 yo ST Nigel Nieta (ENG)

I also signed three more players to youth contracts, although I'm hoping the youth academy will allow me to bring my own players through rather than signing the necessary youngsters to meet the league criteria in the next few years. I'm particularly impressed with Nieta, who should offer genuine competition for my 4 strikers. Despite finding 2 strikers who my assistant manager suggested would do a better job than the 4 I have, I've decided I'll stick with my current options for one more year at least. I would expect the signing of Bridge-Wilkinson, who is a set-piece specialist, will add another 4 or 5 goals for all of them.

Unlike last year, I'm now happy with my squad and it's only July 15th, so I would be surprised if I decide to make any other signings (with the possible exception of a left back.) I will add them to the list though if necessary.

Champions League draw

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Moldovan opponents then. Looking forward to it already.

Captain

The retirement of Vinny Perth has ensured I need to appoint a new captain, and so I've taken the easy route of promoting vice-captain David Cowan to the role. Young midfielder Nathan Rooney will step up to the VC role, and both have gone down well within the squad.

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Best 11

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Just thought I'd add this now I've had a couple of years... I'd expect at least 3 players to make their 100th appearance for the club this season, too.

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Another fantastic season,good luck against Sheriff :thup:

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Another fantastic season,good luck against Sheriff :thup:

Cheers, man!

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European qualifiers

CL 2nd Qualifying round 1st leg

Haverfordwest 4-1 Sheriff

Wow, another brilliant home performance. Despite falling behind early on to their rapid striker Vladimir Gohring, we ran riot. Goals from Hopkinson, Bridge-Wilkinson, Reilly and an OG put us in a strong position for the second leg. Fingers crossed.

CL 2nd Qualifying round 2nd leg

Sheriff 3-1 Haverfordwest

An atrocious second leg display, but we made it by the skin of our teeth. Tim Hopkinson's away goal was ultimately decisive, but defensively we had an absolute shocker.

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What matters is being through, you don't get any advantage from a comfortable victory/qualification.

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European qualifiers (cont)

CL 3rd Qualifying round 1st leg

Rapid Wien 2-2 Haverfordwest

What a game this was! Nathan Rooney gave us a shock lead in the first half, drilling home from 18 yards after great work from Hopkinson. Heavy pressure from the home side told though, and in the 78th minute they grabbed a scrappy equaliser, only for James Ashmore to fire in a "Roy of the Rovers" style rocket. However, they then grabbed another scrappy equaliser 7 minutes into 4 minutes worth of added on time. Gutted.

CL 3rd Qualifying round 2nd leg

Haverfordwest 1-1 Rapid Wien

Talk about nerves! We came into this game without a recognised left back following knocks to both Murphy and Williams, and it was a mistake from Matty Collins who was playing there that cost us the opener after 10 minutes. Nevertheless, we hung on in there, and after going all out attack in the final 20 minutes, Tim Hopkinson's 81st equaliser was enough to take us through.

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What matters is being through, you don't get any advantage from a comfortable victory/qualification.

Very true, although confidence can drop after a shocker. Fortunately we were ok though.

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Wow, tight as anything. Aalesund should be managable, not a big side in Norway.

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Wow, tight as anything. Aalesund should be managable, not a big side in Norway.

Yeah, I have to say I was fearing the worst so I was quite pleased. It's just a shame the first leg is at home. However, whatever happens now I'll be playing European football this season, which is brilliant.

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I prefer home first legs, so it probably doesn't really matter either way.

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Right, any good story leaves you wanting more, so I'll be back to this in a bit. Bloody real life, getting in the way of FM...

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Not a fan, then? Must say after seeing his £400 a week wages, I'm not a fan either!

exactly. His wages alone are reason enough. Every time I start a run with Haverfordwest I always try and move him and it never works. He just ends up sitting on the bench all year in favour of players making 5% of his wages.

Nice work so far. Sad part about playing in Wales is that its easy to dominate the league and then all that matters is the champions league, however if you don't win there then you'll never generate funds to improve. Also, it becomes boring during the league season.

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Goodluck in europe. At least you've made the Euro cup group stage.

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Congrats on getting past Rapid Wien in the Champions League,at least your guaranteed more European football this season with whatever happens your next tie :D

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August

WPL Haverfordwest 4-2 Bala

A brace from Tim Hopkinson, a powerful Laurence Gaughan header and a Martin Reilly tap in ensure a victory in our first league game.

Champions League Play off first leg

Haverfordwest 2-1 Aalesund

Despite falling behind to an Erik Skosgrud header, we responded really well. Martin Reilly levelled the match up by turning in from close range, before another James Ashmore screamer put us in front. We'll need to score in the second leg, but I'm getting very excited!

WPL Aberystwyth 0-1 Haverfordwest

Finally got a win at the home of our rivals, but it was tight. Tim Hopkinson scored the game's only goal 4 minutes from time.

Champions League Play off second leg

Aalesund 1-4 Haverfordwest

A dream of a performance! Within 30 seconds, the away goal was cancelled out by Laurence Gaughan's header, before Marc Bridge-Wilkinson thundered in a free kick from 35 yards. After an hour, Martin Reilly grabbed a third and killed the tie, blasting in from 18 yards before we conceded from a corner. However, the icing on the cake came two minutes from time when Ruaidhri Higgins smashed in his first goal for the club. We're in the CHAMPIONS LEAGUE!

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:eek:

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Congrats on getting through to the group stages,I suppose the group could have been worse,they could have gave you Real Madrid or Barcelona :D

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September

WPL Haverfordwest 4-0 Afan Lido

Two goals each for Martin Reilly and Tim Hopkinson set up another great home win.

WPL Neath 1-0 Haverfordwest

Didn't really perform here, and a stunner from Lee Trundle condemned us to defeat.

CL Group C

Bayern Munich 8-0 Haverfordwest

Ouch. No need to say anything else...well, other than this:

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WPL Haverfordwest 1-0 Bangor City

Alan Lynch with the only goal of a scrappy game.

WPL TNS 0-1 Haverfordwest

Higgins with the only goal of the game.

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Congrats on getting through to the group stages,I suppose the group could have been worse,they could have gave you Real Madrid or Barcelona :D

To be honest, whoever I got I was going to struggle with. Even so, those three sides were pretty difficult!

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Congrats on the group stage. Have your team gone pro yet?

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Well done, I knew you'd manage it.

Cheers, man.

Congrats on the group stage. Have your team gone pro yet?

We're going pro in the summer, which is a bonus. I'm now trying to get them to upgrade youth and training facilities, but not having much joy despite the £6.5m in the bank!

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October

CL Group C

Haverfordwest 1-4 Benfica

Our first CL goal scored by Higgins...although our 27 month unbeaten home record has gone at last.

WPL Haverfordwest 3-1 Prestatyn

Despite losing Alan Lynch to an 18th minute red card, we just about ground out the win. We fell behind just before half time before Martin Reilly responded straight after the break, and from then on we were very much on top. A late free kick from Danny Murphy got us the lead, his first goal for the club in his 95th appearance, before Rene Howe ended his fifteen hour goal drought in stoppage time.

Loosemore League Cup first round

Haverfordwest 0-0 Aberystwyth (aet, 4-2 on penalties)

Pretty poor performance, but worst of all was a pair of injuries to James Ashmore and Matty Hughes, which will see both out for about 6 weeks. Still, we got through in the end.

WPL Port Talbot 0-3 Haverfordwest

Another solid win, inspired largely by Bridge-Wilkinson. He scored a rocket early on before Laurence Gaughan nodded in his free kick. That was the way things stayed til stoppage time when Martin Reilly nodded home from close range.

CL Group C

Marseille 4-0 Haverfordwest

Well, we only conceded half as many as our last away trip...

WPL Llanelli 1-0 Haverfordwest

Had to make lots of changes for this one, and in the end we were a bit of a mess. A deserved Llanelli winner after an hour, although I got myself a touchline ban in my press conference. Brilliant.

Loosemore League Cup

Airbus 2-3 Haverfordwest (aet)

Well this one was tough, and as I was serving my touchline ban it was almost impossible to watch! We fell 2 behind early on, although before half time Rene Howe got us back into it. It took until injury time to grab the leveller though, when Alan Lynch thumped in from 20 yards, and Lynch himself won it in extra time.

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Definitely a bit of harsh CL experience.

Yeah, it's fair to say I was expecting very little from my European adventure, but it's been a bit of a lesson so far. Still, hopefully with the club going full time next year I'll be add a few better players in the summer.

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Just the basics this month as I lost my normal typed stuff thanks to the server...

November

WPL Haverfordwest 3-2 Carmarthen

Lynch (2) Howe

CL Group C

Haverfordwest 0-5 Marseille

Welsh Cup

Haverfordwest 3-1 Goytre

Reilly (2) Swanson

Loosemore League Cup semi final 1st leg

Prestatyn 0-3 Haverfordwest

Lynch, Reilly (2)

WPL Bala 1-2 Haverfordwest

Lynch, Reilly

Loosemore League Cup semi final 2nd leg

Haverfordwest 2-0 Prestatyn

Lynch, Stenning

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WPL Haverfordwest 2-2 Aberystwyth

Rooney, Higgins

CL Group C

Haverfordwest 0-4 Bayern

Sigh...nearly out my misery now...

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December

WPL Afan Lido 1-2 Haverfordwest

Martin Reilly and the returning Tim Hopkinson were the difference here.

WPL Airbus 3-4 Haverfordwest

A mental game, with three goals conceded from corners (:mad:) Luckily though we had just enough thanks to a Rene Howe brace, James Ashmore's thunderbolt and youngster Jarrett Rivers' first league goal.

WPL Haverfordwest 1-0 Neath

Tim Hopkinson with the game's only goal, although I'm seriously considering freshening my striking options up in the summer. This was a huge win though as it opened up a lead at the top the first time in months.

CL Group C

Benfica 6-1 Haverfordwest

Phew...at last, it's over. Rene Howe with our second ever CL goal.

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Oww. My pride.

WPL Bangor City 0-3 Haverfordwest

Another great league win, with Bridge-Wilkinson, Rooney and Rivers on the score sheet.

WPL Haverfordwest 2-2 TNS

Another one of those games, and another one where I need the option of punching players at full time! Once again we fell behind, but Reilly and Jones had us cruising in the second half. However, we missed so many chances which ultimately cost us: yet another header from a corner in the 97th minute. I really need to strengthen up front as we should have been out of sight.

WPL Haverfordwest 6-2 Llanelli

Much, much better. 2 goals each from Jones and Lynch, with a goal apiece from Hughes and Hopkinson set up a great win against our rivals.

WPL Prestatyn 0-5 Haverfordwest

A great way to end the year, this was a thumping win. Goals from Hopkinson, Bridge Wilkinson, Reilly, Jones and Mitchell ensured we ended 2012 on a high.

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Mid season report 2012/13

Another interesting season then, although the European adventure was a little bit rough on the players. Whilst I didn't expect to take a point, conceding a massive thirty one goals was a bit of an eye-opener, so certainly something I'll need to address. As for the league, we've been a little bit inconsistent so far, largely down to poor morale following on from European games, so for next year I'll need to look at a few serious additions to the squad, and turning professional might help attract a few better players. I've already decided the first change, and that's to replace the infuriating Rene Howe who I've already made available. I do think I'll need to a make a few more difficult decisions too, but for now, I'll stick with what I have unless I find the perfect signing.

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Pretty tight between us and Neath, so I'm in for an interesting end to the season.

I'm delighted to be in another league cup final this year too, and I've got my fingers crossed in the other cup. However, the best news so far is off the field, where the board have at last agreed to build better training and youth facilities. That way I might finally be able to bring through a couple of my own players, too.

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Destroyed in europe but at least your getting some big wins in the league.

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January

WPL Haverfordwest 1-0 Port Talbot

Bridge-Wilkinson's penalty was enough to secure the win, although we looked very goal-shy.

WPL Carmarthen 3-2 Haverfordwest

My first defeat against our big rivals, so the fans not too impressed. Cracker of a game though, with Hopkinson and Reilly scoring for us.

WPL Haverfordwest 2-1 Airbus

Utterly infuriating match, but we got the win in the end. An OG and a late Tim Hopkinson tap in secured the points.

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