Caernarfon 2 Barry 0
Welsh Cup hopes snuffed out at The Oval
An early effort and a contender for Goal of the Season ended Barry Town’s Welsh Cup hopes at the weekend, as Gavin Chesterfield’s men were beaten 2-0 at The Oval by a fired-up Caernarfon Town.
Watched by a crowd over 1,000 strong, the Huws Gray Alliance leaders were worthy winners of the televised tie and will now advance to a Fourth Round meeting with The New Saints in the New Year.
Having made the long trip to Gwynedd a day prior, Barry started strongly at The Oval; and looked to open the scoring with two minutes played, as Kayne McLaggon outraced Caernarfon’s Rhys Roberts.
Full-back Joe Williams then slid in and McLaggon hit the deck; but match referee Mark Petch would dismiss Barry’s claims for a penalty, leaving the former Merthyr marksman bewildered on the floor.
Then, within moments, the pendulum would swing in favour of Caernarfon, as Jamie Breese skipped the challenge of visiting skipper James Saddler, before dispatching his effort into the bottom corner.
With the home crowd roused by their team’s fourth-minute opener, Caernarfon Town ramped up the pressure, taking the game to a Barry XI who occasionally struggled with The Oval’s grass surface.
After Nathan Craig’s free-kick forced an excellent, right-handed save out of Barry Town goalkeeper Mike Lewis, the visiting shotstopper did well to block Danny Brookwell’s follow-up shot with his feet.
However, while the Canaries seemed both comfortable and dangerous in possession, Barry would sporadically threaten to punish their hosts; McLaggon played a neat ball through to Jordan Cotterill, only for his brisk pass across a gaping goal to elude teammates Macauley Southam and Drew Fahiya.
As the hosts continued to chase a second, another set-piece from Craig set up former Cefn Druids captain Gareth Edwards, whose goalbound header was lifted over the crossbar by leaping Lewis.
At the other end, McLaggon continued to cause problems for the Caernarfon Town defence; Barry’s leading goalscorer showing strength to fend off two defenders, despite fleetingly losing his footing.
Forcing goalkeeper Alex Ramsay into action, the ball then broke loose in the six-yard box; only for a recovering Ramsay to make an improbable, close-range save from Fahiya’s side-footed attempt.
As the chaos continued, Chris Williams’s clearance then rebounded off teammate Gareth Edwards, but before the ball could cross the line for an unfortunate own goal, the impressive Kevin Roberts powered in and hoofed the ball out, sparing his teammates’ blushes and preserving their lead.
After a difficult first half, Barry had finally begun to gain a foothold. Unfortunately, their comeback would be derailed mere moments from the break, as the home team scored a spectacular second.
Penalising Paul Morgan for upending opponent Edwards, referee Petch handed Caernarfon a free-kick 30 yards from the Barry goal. Then, with 44 minutes and 55 seconds played, Canaries captain Craig fired a perfect strike from distance, curling his effort right into the top corner, eluding Lewis.
With the travelling contingent stunned into applause, Caernarfon’s second was sheer quality; a goal worthy of winning games at any level, though arriving at a crushing time for Barry’s cup aspirations.
In the second half, Barry showed fresh hunger to turn things around, with Callum Sainty’s powerful shot being tipped over by Ramsay and Fahiya seeing an effort come cannoning back off the post.
Nevertheless, Barry never quite had that rub of the green to force the pivotal breakthrough, and Caernarfon battled hard to hold onto their advantage, as the sun continued to set in North Wales.
In a final chance of note for the Canaries, Clive Williams found himself clean through on goal, only for Lewis to make another double save, capping a dynamic display in defeat for the Barry Town #1.
As the full-time whistle sounded and Barry’s enthusiastic supporters contemplated their long trip home, Caernarfon celebrated what some might see as a scalp for the feeder league frontrunners.
In reality, the Gwynedd-based side are a JD Welsh Premier League outfit in all but name; their Welsh Cup credentials clear for all to see, having advanced all the way to the semi-final stage last season.
For Barry, a return to Jenner Park this Saturday could prove just the tonic to revive their December, yet more tough North Walian opposition awaits, as Bangor City come to town in a 2.30pm kick-off.
With former English Premier League forward Gary Taylor-Fletcher among their standout names, the Citizens have been on a roll of late, winning 2-0 at Connah’s Quay Nomads and beating Bala Town 5-0 in Nantporth to sit third in the JD Welsh Premier League, a mere five points adrift of leaders TNS.
Nevertheless, eighth-placed Barry hold a league victory over Bangor already this campaign; Kayne McLaggon’s late strike proving the difference in September’s 1-0 win on the North Wales coast.
Admission this Saturday for Barry vs Bangor is £7 (adults), £5 (senior citizens/students) and £3 (children) at the Gladstone Road and Barry Road turnstiles, with refreshments available on site.