“We are delighted with the three points and the way the players responded after going a goal behind to take control of the game. There were some very positive signs on the field today and of course things we can improve on.”
Luke Williams (1st Team Manager)
Barry Town Ladies travelled to Penydarren Park on Sunday 2nd September for the opening day of the Welsh Women’s League season taking on newly promoted Merthyr Town FC.
The ladies have seen a major overhaul during the summer with a total of 10 new signings at the club and restructure of the coaching setup provided a new look and feel to the senior team. Merthyr themselves have been in a period of transition during the summer and have made some strong additions to their line-up with a number of former Welsh Premier League players joining their setup.
With that in mind, Barry knew this was always going to be a difficult task and so it proved in the opening minutes when Merthyr took the lead after just 3 minutes. A lofted ball found new signing Alicia Davies and the former Cardiff City FC Player raced past the visitors defence before shooting from distance beating stand in goalkeeper Ruth Stanley.
Not the start that Barry had envisaged and the home side almost made it two soon after but this time Stanley was on hand to make a fine save with her feet. Barry started to settle down after the opening 10 minutes, looking more composed in possession and getting some excellent joy in wide areas with Olivia Townsend and Laura Lewis a constant threat in the attacking third of the pitch.
Captain, Charlotte Preen and midfield partner Alex Allen were instrumental in laying the foundations for the majority of Barry’s attacks and on 11 minutes the visitors got on level terms with an excellent goal building from the defensive unit before a switch of play down the right hand side sent Laura Saliba racing down the wing and she delivered a fantastic cross for Chelsea Deacon to slot home a well taken goal.
The goal was a huge confidence boost to Barry who started to dominate possession and just four minutes later they found themselves 2-1 in front with a carbon copy of the opening goal. Another ball out wide found Saliba down the right hand side and another pin point cross found Ellen Phillips who smashed home from close range to put the visitors into the ascendancy.
Despite Barry maintaining possession well and having the majority of the ball, Merthyr were a threat during the first 45 minutes and the Barry goalkeeper had to be alter on several occasions with high balls into the penalty area and Stanley made a second fine save with her feet mid-way through the first half.
Striker Emma Cannon went close with a fine individual effort but her shot just went post the post and the score remained 2-1 to Barry at the break.
The second half saw Barry control most of the possession as Merthyr started to defend in a deeper block allowing the visitors to dictate play whilst trying to hit Barry on the counter attack. The visitors probed away at the Merthyr goal trying to get a third and secure some breathing space and Deacon and Cannon both went close with efforts which were saved by former Barry Development keeper, Molly Facey.
On the hour mark, new signings Daisy Evan-Watkins and Courtney Martin-Luce entered the field and within a matter of minutes Barry took a 3-1 lead with another well taken goal. Some good build up play and a through ball found Cannon on the right hand side of the penalty area, and her cross was met which an excellent first touch finish by Evan-Watkins.
The third goal for Barry proved to be a killer blow as the visitors managed the final 25 minutes of the game comfortably although Merthyr did have a few late attempts at goal but overall it was a deserved three points for Barry and a great effort from the hosts on their Welsh Women’s League debut.
After the game, Manager Luke Williams commented, "We are delighted with the three points and the way the players responded after going a goal behind to take control of the game. There were some very positive signs on the field today and of course things we can improve on but to come away in a difficult opening fixture and get the result is very pleasing. We have a lot of new players in the squad and naturally it is going to take time for everyone to settle into the way we want to play but we have a great bunch of players who are keen to learn and develop."
Barry will next play on Sunday 9th September with an eagerly anticipated home fixture with Cascade YC at Jenner Park Stadium. Come along and support the Ladies 2pm kick off.
Updated 10:30 - 11 Sep 2018 by Barry Town Utd Ladies FC