Haverfordwest County Triumph In Nail-Biting Europa Conference League Qualifier

Harry Corish - Sportin Journalist

Haverfordwest County has booked a place in the first qualifying round of the 2023-2024 UEFA Europa Conference League after a nail-biting penalty shoot-out victory over Newtown.

The drama unfolded at Latham Park on Saturday, with a crowd of 1,862 – the largest attendance of the JD Cymru Premier season.

The victory marks Haverfordwest’s first foray into European competition since 2004 and adds to what has been an impressive season for the club.

The match went all the way to penalties with the sides being unable to be sepearted at 1-1 after extra time. It was Haverfordwest’s goalkeeper Zac Jones who emerged as the hero once again after saving Aaron Williams’ spot-kick.

This set the stage for Corey Shephard to score the decisive penalty, making it 4-3 to the Bluebirds at the end of a thrilling encounter at Latham Park.

Jones had been instrumental in getting his side to the final, producing a string of saves in the semi-final shoot-out against Cardiff Met to take Haverfordwest through.

Despite the heroics of Jones, it was Aaron Williams who levelled the scores in normal time after Jack Wilson had put Haverfordwest ahead early on.

The two sides could not be separated in extra time, setting the stage for a nerve-wracking penalty shoot-out at Latham Park.

Corey Shephard held his nerve to score the decisive penalty and send the Bluebirds into raptures.

Manager Tony Pennock will be thrilled with his side’s never-say-die attitude, as they secured a memorable victory and book their place in the Europa Conference League.

Haverfordwest will now join fellow Welsh sides The New Saints, Connah’s Quay Nomads and Penybont in the European competition next season, as they look to make their mark on the continental stage.