Barry in last four of Welsh Cup
10:37am Thursday 7th March 2013 in Sport
FLINT TOWN UNITED 0 BARRY TOWN 2
BARRY TOWN strode into the semi-finals of the Welsh Cup on Saturday, with a 2-0 win at Flint Town United.
Goals from Ryan Evans and Ryan Jenkins each side of half-time were enough to see off the home side and make Gavin Chesterfield’s fully-amateur team the only team from outside the Welsh Premier League left in the Welsh Cup.
Despite less than an hour of preparation time, after almost a five-hour journey, Barry showed no sign of fatigue and chased every ball from the off; spurred on by their vociferous travelling support.
With the Silkmen’s Cae-YCastell pitch worse for wear after a string of recent Cymru Alliance matches, a physical contest was anticipated and so it proved; with the Barry side ending up with numerous bumps and bruises.
To combat the surface, Flint attempted a long ball game in the opening 20 minutes, though centre backs Lewis Cosslett and Ryan Evans dealt well with the aerial assault.
The long ball proved Flint’s undoing on 25 minutes, when Nickie Jones intercepted Nathan Peate’s clearance and passed to danger man TJ Nagi.
Nagi’s shuffled through the Silkman defence to find teammate James Saddler, carving out Barry’s first clear route to goal.
Saddler, who put in a tremendous shift, was then knocked over for what looked to some like a penalty kick, but referee Huw Jones to rule the offence has occurred just outside of the area. However, Ryan Evans, punished Flint with a left-footed free-kick straight off the training ground.
As Nagi peeled off the edge of the wall, Evans’ perfect shot flew past the United goalkeeper, Mike Jones and into the net – sending the Barry fans wild on 27 minutes.
At the other end, Barry goalkeeper Dan Bradley was enjoying his finest game of the season, dominating the box and clawing many a high ball from danger, from set pieces and open play.
With full backs Geraint Frowen and Lee Baldock providing strong support, Barry were able to see out the first half in relative comfort.
United started the second half well, forcing a quick save from Bradley and pushing up in pursuit of an equaliser, but Chesterfield’s tactics kept the home side at bay until the moment his Barry team could deliver the killer blow.
It came on 54 minutes, and much mirrored the goal that saw off Pontardawe Town in the previous round – right down to the goalscorer.
With no apparent danger to speak of, Flint forward Sam Jones passed a routine ball back to Peate, who misjudged his attempted clearance on the bobbly pitch.
This gave Ryan Jenkins the opening he needed to capitalise.
Jenkins raced beyond Peate into a goalscoring position, before rolling the ball past the outrushing goalkeeper Jones to make it 2-0.
Sensing the writing was on the wall, Flint manager Paul Davies made three substitutions in three minutes, introducing Stewart Carroll, Jonathan Rush and Ryan Hedges.
Hedges, the captain of the Wales U18 side, was presented with caps before kick-off and caused some problems with a cross from the right, though the combination of Bradley’s punch and Baldock’s clearance was enough to avert any threat to goal.
Rush, the son of the former Wales international, Ian Rush, was watched from the stands by his father, but the ex-Liverpool striker left before the final whistle as Barry held on to their twogoal cushion.
In the latter stages, both Nagi and substitute Dale Howarth had opportunities to seal the result, though fortune was never quite on the side of either, with the former, who ran for miles all match, denied a penalty kick and the enthusiastic Howarth thwarted by the feet of goalkeeper Jones.
Barry’s Ryan Dorrian also had a chance of his own, but the midfielder was unable to cap a strong display with his first cup goal of the campaign.
Nevertheless, it was to be Barry Town’s day.
After four minutes of stoppage time, fans spilled onto the pitch, overcome by delight at the outcome.
Manager Chesterfield embraced his players, before an oversized Welsh flag was draped across his shoulders.
Commenting afterwards, Chesterfield said: “The boys showed immense character to come to a very difficult place and churn out a fantastic result.”
This is the first time a fully-amateur Barry outfit has reached the Welsh Cup’s semi-final stage.
This season’s tournament, which began with 182 clubs, is now down to four; with fan-run Barry flying the flag for South Wales amidst a trio of professional and semi-pro North Walian contenders.
Their opponents in the semi-final will be Welsh Premier outfit Prestatyn Town, defeated Carmarthen Town 3-2 in extra-time at Richmond Park.
The match will be played on a neutral ground, to be announced, on the weekend of April 6.
TNS and Bangor City will contest the other place in May’s Welsh Cup Final.
Final score – Flint Town United 0 Barry Town 2 (Ryan Evans 27’, Ryan Jenkins 54’).
Barry Town: Dan Bradley, Geraint Frowen, Lee Baldock, Lewis Cosslett, Ryan Evans, James Saddler, Nickie Jones, Ryan Dorrian, TJ Nagi, Ryan Jenkins (Troy Greening 87’), Michael Hartley (Dale Howarth 77’).
Subs: Dan Clare, Paul Morgan, Damon Searle.
This Saturday, attention reverts to the MacWhirter Welsh League, when Barry travel to Pontardawe (2pm).