Barry Town Utd 6-2 Merthyr Town
Barry start 2019 with an impressive win against Merthyr.
Barry Town Utd Ladies kicked off their first league match of 2019 with a home fixture against Merthyr Town on Sunday looking to build on strong first half of the season.
The fixture was to be the reverse match from the opening game of the season where Barry came away with three points after a 3-1 in September and went into this game knowing Merthyr would offer a stern test following a 4 week break.
The home side made several changes to the starting line-up with Taylor Page, Emma Cannon coming back into the team. Chloe Clarke also returned following a 6 week injury lay-off and Development Ladies Goalkeeper, Ruth Stanley was also called up for first team action.
Both teams started the game with a good intensity, and with plenty of attacking threat at both ends of the pitch this was a game seem destined to see plenty of goalmouth action.
It was the home side that took the lead on 15 minutes when a perfect set piece delivery from Captain, Charlotte Preen was converted by Sian Rees at the far post giving Barry the perfect start. Merthyr however responded well and just 3 minutes later found themselves back on level terms when a swift counter and cross field ball was headed in first time over Goalkeeper Stanley to make it 1-1.
Both teams were looking to take the initiative but the game became a scrappy affair who both teams guilty of giving possession away on a regular basis but Barry did restore their lead on 31 minutes when Preen’s through ball found Rees who broke the Merthyr offside trap and she confidently chipped the ball over the advancing goalkeeper Molly Facey.
The home side were back in front but again their lead didn’t last long as Merthyr once again responded. A through ball found Alicia Davies who raced away but Emma Thompson made an excellent recovery tackle but the Barry defence failed to scramble the ball away and Isabelle Kaler rifled a shit into the top corner from 20 yards to make it 2-2.
Barry were clearly frustrated with their failure to hold their lead on two occasions and continued to press the visitors and they once more found themselves in front on the stroke of half time. Preen with a spectacular effort from 25 yards looping the ball over the goalkeeper to make it 3-2 at half time to the hosts.
With the game still very much in the balance, Barry settled down in the second half and looked to dominate possession and they gave themselves some breathing space early in the second half with a fourth goal on 50 minutes. A cross from the left gave Cannon a chance to score but she was denied by a fine block with the ball rolling to Olivia Townsend who placed the ball into an empty net.
The home side were looking far more comfortable at this point dictating the majority of the play and breaking through the Merthyr midfield at regular intervals. Cannon though she had made it 5 when she chipped the ball over the goalkeeper but it was ruled out for off-side. Rees also had the chance to seal her hat-trick when Barry were awarded a penalty for a handball but her spot kick rebounded off the inside of the post to keep the score at 4-2.
Barry used all 3 substitutions during the second half with Ellen Phillips, Tracey White and Harriet Hurrell all entering the field as Barry looked to see out the final stages of the game which they managed and also notched a further two goals. Townsend capped a strong second half performance with her second of the game with a well taken finish to make it 5-2 in the 90th minute and Chelsea Deacon topped an industrious display when she raced through on goal and chipped the goalkeeper in injury time to make the final score 6-2.
A good performance a result for Barry against a Merthyr side that have improved as the season has progressed and following other results Barry now find themselves back into second place and just 1 point behind leaders Caldicot who Barry will travel to play next weekend.
Following the match, manager Luke Williams was pleased with his team’s performance commenting; “It’s a good start to the new year after a 4 week break. First half I thought we were sloppy and careless at times in possession and it was disappointing to concede on two occasions after taking the lead. But I have to give credit to the players who gave us a reaction in the second half with a much better display all over the pitch against a good Merthyr team.”