Unbeaten sides share the spoils
9:01am Thursday 10th October 2013 in Sport
BARRY TOWN UNITED 2
WHILE Barry Town United continued their unbeaten Macwhirter Welsh League run with this draw against an excellent Llanwern side at Jenner Park on Saturday, Gavin Chesterfield's men will be disappointed not to have taken all three points after leading 2-0 at half-time.
Barry began well, and only five minutes had elapsed when forward TJ Nagi shook off close Llanwern defending and fired a low shot agonisingly wide.
Strike partner Jordan Cotterill also broke through in the ninth minute before being denied by the Llanwern goalkeeper, and a Troy Greening run was unlucky not to bear fruit.
After a 20th minute free kick was gathered well, Ryan Jenkins’ set-piece from the right four minutes later was whipped in with precision and Lewis Cosslett headed just wide.
However, Barry’s pressure ultimately paid off when winger Dale Howarth opened the scoring in the 34th minute, beating Llanwern's offside trap and finishing with composure.
Two minutes later, Cotterill set up Nagi, whose premature shot ensured a comfortable save.
Llanwern also had their share of first-half chances, rounding Barry goalkeeper Dan Bradley on 41 minutes, only for impressive full-back Geraint Frowen to clear for a corner. The subsequent cross caused further problems, and this time centre back Ryan Evans came to Barry’s rescue with a goal line clearance.
Having weathered the storm, Barry mounted a counter-attack with spectacular results. Breaking forward and slotting the ball through the goalkeeper’s legs, Cotterill doubled Barry’s advantage in the 44th minute before celebrating with a trademark cartwheel flip. In terms of time remaining and the way the match was progressing, there could hardly have been a better time to score.
Riding a wave of momentum, Howarth started another Barry attack. With Nagi stampeding forward in the middle, the winger opted to shoot, and seemed to have made it three, but his low effort bounced off the post and frustratingly out of the danger zone.
This proved a pivotal moment in the match; at 3-0 Llanwern would surely have been beaten. Instead, Gareth Morgan’s side went in just two goals adrift, having created enough themselves to feel slightly aggrieved at the deficit.
From the restart, Barry tried to continue where they left off, with Cotterill’s early second-half effort cleared off the line. Howarth then hit the post for the second time with a wicked drive, with the rebound falling to an ambitious Llanwern midfielder, whose audacious shot from all of 70 yards dropped over the top of the retreating Bradley’s crossbar.
Nevertheless, within five minutes Llanwern were right back in the match when Nick Hooper knocked in a header at the back post after a textbook cross.
Attempting to stifle the comeback, some trickery from Nagi seemed to have forced an own goal in Barry’s favour, only for yet another goal line clearance to deny the attacker.
Llanwern racked up a number of corners in pursuit of the equaliser and, while Barry stood their ground, it appeared almost a matter of time before matters were level. An unmarked Llanwern assailant appeared to fire home the vital strike, only for Barry captain James Saddler to interject with a block at the near post, but resistance proved temporary, and Mike Bishop popped up to salvage a point for the visitors and deny Barry a sixth consecutive league victory.
While the surrender of a two-goal lead was inevitably frustrating, the draw was probably a fair result and leaves Barry and Llanwern as the division’s only undefeated teams.
In sharing the spoils, Llanwern stay third in the table, while Barry remain in second place, three points adrift of leaders Risca United, who drew 3-3 at Llanelli on Friday night - albeit with three games in hand.
The Llanelli v Risca match was notable in that former Jenner Park favourite Gary Lloyd was forced to step in as a makeshift substitute goalkeeper for the Reds – and ended up saving a penalty!
This Saturday Barry tackle Taffs Well in the first round of the Welsh Cup. Kick-off at Jenner Park is at the earlier than usual time of 2pm. Barry and Llanwern will lock horns again at Newport Stadium in November.