Old rivalry is renewed as Bridgend visit Barry at Jenner Park
5:03pm Thursday 14th February 2013 in Sport
A HISTORIC rivalry will be renewed on Saturday at Jenner Park, when Barry Town entertain Bridgend Town in the MacWhirter Welsh League (2pm kick-off).
Bridgend have been visiting Barry for football since September of 1920 - the year of their formation. However, Saturday’s visit may prove to be their last, with plans afoot for a controversial merger with neighbours Bryntirion Athletic.
Bridgend, much like Barry, are a former Southern League outfit, winning the competition in 1980 and enjoying a handful of Welsh Cup semi-final runs either side of this landmark success.
Their achievements in Wales, however, have never matched those of Barry, and despite significant investment, the ever-ambitious club from 20 miles west has struggled to make a lasting impact in the MacWhirter Welsh League.
Finishing eighth last season, Bridgend were leapfrogged by Barry on the final day of the season, the Dragons winning a dramatic seven-goal thriller at the Brewery Field.
Ironically, the winner that day was scored by striker Josh Bell who now leads the line for Bridgend after leaving Jenner Park before Christmas in search of first team football.
On Friday night, while Barry were slumping to defeat at home to leaders Taffs Well, Bell was bagging a brace in Bridgend’s 3-2 defeat to Monmouth, and the Vale-based forward is expected to be a key threat for the visitors this weekend.
Bell is not the only familiar face in the ranks, with a number of the Bridgend party having donned Barry colours; perhaps none more famously than manager Mattie Davies and coach Tom Ramasut, who both turned out for the Dragons in the European era.
Currently 15th, Bridgend have endured a difficult campaign, with the departure of prior management team Craig Lima and Tony Bird, and heavy defeats to Haverfordwest County, Taffs Well and Cambrian & Clydach adding to their misery.
Respite has been rare; although wins over Caerleon, Aberdare Town and Goytre United have kept the Sky Blues off the foot of the table.
Barry manager Gavin Chesterfield will expect a reaction from his players after their disappointing performance last week, especially considering the visitors’ league position.
With the crunch Welsh Cup quarter-final against Flint Town United everlooming, a positive result this weekend would be a welcome push in the right direction.
Entry on the turnstile is £5 adults, £4 OAPs, £3 students and £2 children, with accompanied children admitted free of charge.
The Barry Town Supporters’ Committee, which is putting on the match, will also be selling their acclaimed matchday programme at both gates, priced £1.
Finally, seats are still available on the coach to Flint on Saturday, March 2.
Call the Barry Town supporters’ committee on 07557 665 847 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to book.