Barry Town Ladies made the long journey to Aberystwyth for their third game of the Welsh Women’s League following an impressive start to the new campaign with wins over Merthyr Town and Cascade YC.
Both teams went into this fixture with 100% win records to maintain following Aberystwyth’s two victories and something had to give in what was billed as a crunch match between two of the promotion hopefuls this season.
This was always going to be a tight encounter and a tough proposition for Barry with their opponents going undefeated last season despite finishing in second place and with both teams drawing the two league encounters last season.
The match started with Barry settling the quicker of the two teams and striker Daisy Evan-Watkins went close with a shot across goal but both teams were showing lots of desire but lacking clear cut chances. As Aber settled down into the game, the home side started putting some pressure on the Barry goal. A number of corner kicks were well dealt with by the visitors Goalkeeper, Erin Brennan who was also on hand to make a smart save low down from an in-swinging free kick.
Barry also threatened when Chelsea Deacon raced onto a through ball but her effort was well saved by the home goalkeeper Ffion Ashman. The score remained 0-0 at half time with Aber finishing the half strongly.
The second half saw Barry make a tactical change going with two strikers in a bid to provide support for Evan-Watkins who was a constant menace with her physicality and pace up front and eventually it would reap its rewards.
However it was Aber who drew first blood when a hesitant Barry defence allowed Tania Wylde to get in behind and she calmly slotted ball into the net on 49 minutes.
The goal saw a change in personnel for the visitors as Sian Rees came on to replace Ellen Phillips and the substitute was to make an instant impact as Barry grabbed a fine equaliser on 63 minutes. Rees picked up the ball 30 yards from goal and played a through ball to Evan-Watkins down the left and her pinpoint cross found Deacon at the back post who volleyed home to make it 1-1.
With the visitors on level terms, the game saw more twists and turns in a 5 minute period that had two goals and a red card. First, a poor back pass from the home side saw Deacon race through on goal and her initial shot was saved but the rebound was blocked on the line by the hand of Aber defender Josie Pugh which resulted in a red card and penalty kick. Up stepped Barry Captain, Charlotte Preen who smashed the ball home to put Barry into the lead at 2-1.
Despite Barry now having the numerical advantage, the home got back on level terms just 3 minutes later with a goal of the season contender. A ferocious 30 yard shot from Wylde struck the underside of the crossbar and bounced into the net to make it 2-2 on 68 minutes.
Despite the setback, Barry continued to probe away at the Aberystwyth goal in search of a winner and the numerical advantage started to take its toll on the home side in what was a physically tough encounter for both teams. Evan-Watkins shot wide but it was Substitute, Rees who would have the final say on the match when she wriggled into the penalty area before beating the defender and slotting home under the goalkeeper to record a fine 3-2 win for Barry.
It was the first defeat inflicted on Aberystwyth in the Welsh Women’s League in what was a great advert for the second tier of women’s football.
The result put’s Barry at the top of the League after 3 matches played and after the match Barry Town Manager Luke Williams commented, “It’s a fantastic result for us and just shows what we are capable of this season. We were not at our best today but the players showed great desire and to come away with the 3 points is a huge boost for everyone. It was a match between two good sides at this level and we must use this as a platform for the rest of the season.”
Barry will now have a few weeks without a fixture and they will return to action on 7th October with an away trip to Dafen Welfare.
Updated 13:29 - 17 Sep 2018 by Barry Town Utd Ladies FC