Barry 3 Cwmaman 2
PROMOTED Barry Town United came from behind not once, but twice at the weekend to see off a determined Cwmaman Institute and win their final Saturday match of the season.
Supported by a colourful and vocal Jenner Park crowd, Barry started brightly on a challenging surface but soon became unstuck against their valiant visitors from the Cynon Valley.
The Town, who won comfortably in torrential rain at Cwmaman in January, fell behind early on, when an error from long-serving goalkeeper Dan Bradley gifted the visitors a fortuitous opener.
Gavin Chesterfield's side were back on terms by the break though, as defender Lewis Cosslett headed home the equaliser; becoming the club's 19th goalscorer in league and cup action this season.
24-year old Cosslett, in his 189th career outing for the Barry first team, had surpassed father Mike's own appearance total in the narrow defeat at Cwmamman United three days earlier.
That evening saw former Cardiff City favourite Damon Searle enter a Man of the Match performance and while the evergreen Searle restricted his role to a coaching capacity at the weekend, fellow ex-Bluebird Lee Jarman took on his mantle; playing an assured role at the heart of the Town defence.
Towering veteran Jarman, a title-winner in 2002 and 2003, almost made an impact at the other end, with only a goal line clearance denying him his first Barry goal for over a decade.
Meanwhile, striker James Dixon went close to scoring on several occasions, albeit to no avail; his best efforts running wide by inches.
The second half commenced in disastrous fashion for the home side, when a Cwmaman attacker beat Bradley to the ball at the near post, heading in a fine corner to deflate the Barry crowd.
With a number of players ruled out in recent weeks, it appeared that this 45th fixture of a marathon campaign might have been a game too far for the newly-promoted Town.
Nevertheless, the spirit that has carried the club to much success this season would refuse to be extinguished, and the Barry players, inspired by the likes of midfielder Ryan Dorrian, winger Dale Howarth and Man of the Match full-back Paul Morgan, dug deep to rescue all three points with a dramatic surge in the final 20 minutes.
Firstly, Dixon scored a pivotal equaliser, finishing coolly to reward his persistence up front. Then within minutes, the hometown forward put the Town ahead; riding a tackle, rounding the Cwmaman goalkeeper and firing home a right-footed strike from an acute angle.
With the full quota of points within their grasp, Barry then saw out the 90 minutes to claim their 15th win at Jenner Park in this centenary season.
The club was due to play its final home match of 2013-14 on Tuesday evening, only for visitors Rhoose to pull out of the fixture the night before, citing their inability to field a team.
At press time, the ramifications of this were unclear, with Barry now preparing for their last away trip of the campaign next Thursday at Newport Civil Service (6.30pm kick-off).