Haverfordwest County are through to the UEFA Europa Conference League first qualifying round after a thrilling penalty shoot-out win over Newtown at Latham Park on Saturday.

In front of a packed crowd of 1,862 - the biggest JD Cymru Premier attendance of the season - Tony Pennock's held ther nerve to reach Europe for the first time in 19 years. 

It was still all square at 1-1 after extra-time, after Jordan Davies' first half goal for the Bluebirds had been cancelled out by Aaron Williams before the break for the Robins. 

Keeper Zac Jones, the hero in Haverfordwest’s shoot-out semi-final win over Cardiff Met, denied Aaron Williams, and a miss from Henry Cowans put Haverfordwest in control.

Dylan Rees, Jack Leahy, and Jordan Davies scored, and despite Dave Jones keeping out Ben Fawcett’s effort, Corey Shephard kept his cool to slot home the decisive penalty.

“I am so chuffed for the board, for the supporters, it's massive for the club," a delighted Pennock said after the match.

"The conditions were tough for both teams, it was so hot out there, it wasn’t as high tempo as it normally is. But lady luck is on our side thankfully, so we’ll take it.

"Commiserations to Newtown, they’re a great football club, one of the best in this division, and they have been for a long time.”

“We knew it was going to be tough, after finishing seventh, and having to go away from home against Met and today at Newtown. The boys have been fantastic.”

After a cautious opening, the Bluebirds opened the scoring on 24 minutes when Dylan Rees lofted the ball into the penalty box and top scorer Davies turned it home. 

Newtown's Jake Walker surged forward from the kick-off and saw his shot blocked by Oscar Borg, and Zeli Ismail volleyed over the bar as the Robins pushed for an equaliser. 

Seven minutes before the break Newtown were level as skipper Craig Williams crossed to the back post, where Aaron Williams nodded home his 19th goal of the campaign. 

In the opening minutes of the second half, Bluebirds' goalkeeper Jones saved well from Ismail, and Nicky Rushton fired over after the ball had been worked back into the box.  

Haverfordwest, however, stepped up with Corey Shephard going close just before the hour as his ferocious strike from distance was bravely deflected wide Shane Sutton.

A superb through ball from Shephard then sent Jack Wilson away down the right and he flashed a ball across the box, which Davies could not quite get on the end of. 

Wilson had perhaps the biggest chance of the second half when Henry Jones played him in with a neat ball over the top, but the Haverfordwest academy star blazed wide. 

Neither team could find a winning goal in extra-time, with chances at a premium, despite Haverfordwest substitute Ioan Evans seeing a curling effort saved by Dave Jones. 

Once again the Bluebirds held their nerve in the spot-kick drama, sparking scenes of jubilation from all who had travelled from Pembrokeshire on this glorious day.

NEWTOWN: D Jones, Sears, Sutton, Rushton (Hughes 71’), Robles (Torry 116’), A Williams, Cowans, M Jones (Roberts 85’), C Williams, Ismail (Aris 91'), Walker. Subs: M Williams, Mills-Evans, Taylor.

HAVERFORDWEST: Z Jones, Abbruzzese, Rees, Shephard, H Jones (Evans 86’), Davies, Veale (Leahy 78’), Jenkins, Wilson (Fawcett 105’), Borg (Watts 54’), Hawkins. Subs: Idzi, Humphreys, John.

Following Haverfordwest County's penalty shootout victory over Newtown in the play-off final, the JD Cymru Premier's four representatives in European competition for 2023/24 have been confirmed.

The Bluebirds, who will compete on the continent for the first time since 2004, enter the UEFA Europa Conference League first qualifying round alongside Connah's Quay Nomads and first-time qualifiers Penybont, who finished second and third in the JD Cymru Premier respectively.

Meanwhile, as a result of winning their 15th JD Cymru Premier title, The New Saints will enter the UEFA Champions League first qualifying round.

The draw for the UEFA Champions League first qualifying round is on Tuesday 20 June, in which TNS will be seeded.

The first legs will be played on 11–12 July, and the second legs will be played on 18–19 July. The draw for the UEFA Europa Conference League first qualifying round is also on Tuesday 20 June.

Connah's Quay Nomads will be seeded, while Penybont and Haverfordwest County will be unseeded. Clubs cannot be drawn against each other.

The first legs will be played on 13 July, and the second legs will be played on 20 July.