Barry Town aiming to get season back on track against Pontardawe Town
8:30am Thursday 10th January 2013 in Sport
BEATEN BY TATA: Barry Town had a bad day at the office when, after leaking two soft first-half goals, they went down 2-1 at Tata FC (Port Talbot) on Saturday.
BARRY TOWN entertain Pontardawe Town in the MacWhirter Welsh League on Saturday (January 12), hoping to put their season back on track after a series of setbacks either side of the Christmas break.
With long-serving striker Josh Bell moving on to pastures new and top scorer TJ Nagi picking up a hamstring injury against Haverfordwest County, another blow came last week with the move of fellow forward Christian Doidge to Welsh Premier outfit Carmarthen Town.
Doidge scored 26 goals in his 15-month spell with Barry Town, including a Jenner Park hat-trick against Goytre United in September and a string of vital braces that helped beat titleholders Bryntirion Athletic and eventual champions Cambrian & Clydach at the tail-end of last season.
With Doidge linking up with Mark Aizlewood’s side at Connah’s Quay, Barry manager Gavin Chesterfield was required to make changes for his team’s visit to bottom-placed Tata FC in Port Talbot last weekend.
Ryan Jenkins and Michael Hartley both started up front, with the reshaping of the Barry team giving an opportunity to newcomer Lewis Grant in defence.
Unfortunately, it was to be a bad day at the office for Barry, who found themselves with a considerable mountain to climb after leaking two soft first-half goals.
Former Barry striker Morgan Harris proved a constant nuisance for the newly-promoted home side, with his trademark endeavour causing problems that were amplified by a Town defence lacking in first-half assurance.
Tata are still to fully find their feet in the division, but with three points in sight they held on tight - Geraint Frowen’s goal for Barry proving scant consolation.
The 2-1 outcome could have been quite different – Town’s multiple corners flustering the Tata defence and the introduction of fan favourites Dale Howarth and Nickie Jones injecting further life into the second-half comeback attempt.
However, the Barry Town revival was hindered by a knock to captain Dan Clare and the straight-red dismissal of Ryan Dorrian for reasons unclear to the spectators.
Pressing forward in pursuit of the equaliser, Barry at one stage had nine men in the Tata penalty area - yet their closest effort saw the ball cleared off the goal line in stoppage time.
The defeat saw Barry drop to fifth as Tata clawed themselves off the bottom of the pile.
With eighth-placed Pontardawe Town in town on Saturday (2pm), Barry have an immediate opportunity to bounce back, yet will be weary of showing their hand fully against the visiting side, who are due to return to Jenner Park by the end of the month for a vital Welsh Cup showdown.
Following their 2-0 win against Goytre at the weekend, a fixture fulfilled at the fifth time of asking after a series of postponements, Pontardawe will provide Barry’s opposition in the fourth round of the tournament – with a place in the quarter-finals at stake.
This Saturday’s Welsh League encounter, however, will be more than a dress rehearsal as manager Gavin Chesterfield attempts to stop the rot and reverse Barry fortunes in this first Jenner Park match of 2013.
In the corresponding fixture last season, Barry ran out 2-0 winners after a 2-2 draw in Pontardawe earlier in the campaign.
A fan contingent from Port Talbot is due in town to cheer on the Barry side, returning the favour after Barry fans lent their own support earlier in the season.
Meanwhile, Barry players, management and supporters will also be paying their respects to the legendary Charlie Dyke, who passed away in the last week.
Kick-off on Saturday is at 2pm, with entry on the turnstiles at £5 adults, £4 OAPs, £3 students, £2 children and accompanied children for free.
* Finally, the Barry Town Supporters' Committee would like to publicly thank supporter Rhys Deans, who braved the cold waters of Barry Island on New Year’s Day to kindly raise funds for their cause.
The BTSC, an independent, non-profit community enterprise, is continuing to run Barry Town football in 2013, with all monies raised at the gate and via programme sales helping them to continue their work across the coming year.