BARRY VETERANS 3
LEAGUE runners-up, the Barry Veterans soccer side - all over 50 - lifted the Wales Veterans Over-45s Cup with victory over Cardiff opponents at Cambrian's 3G pitch on Sunday.
Racing out of the blocks, the Barry side were 2-0 up within 11 minutes and, unlike Hull City in the FA Cup final the previous day, were able to complete a famous victory.
The opener arrived after a scant two minutes and involved the entire back four. Full-back Dave Murray (Cogan player on Saturdays) passed to (Sully Sports manager) Jimmy Blackie and Paul Averies (Cadoxton Barry) then fed Rhoose coach and former Barry Town manager Steve Hill. ‘Hilly’ surged forward to pick out Ronnie Rahman and the winger’s delightful reverse pass found striker Mike Fredericksen who quickly made a return pass for Rahman to cut back from the by-line. Mikey Bobbett (Cadoxton Barry player-manager this season) gleefully smashed home the cross.
Continental very nearly equalised within two minutes, but were hit again in the 11th minute when Bobbett swivelled near the penalty spot to fire home.
With Continental in disarray, things went from bad to worse for them on the quarter hour mark when the lively Rahman floated a ball over the defence and Fredericksen nipped it away from the outrushing 'keeper and slid it into an empty net from the edge of the area.
That, effectively, was that; two-goal Bobbett left the field to answer a call from work, and Dave Hodgkinson came on in midfield.
Barry pulled in their horns, just a little, and Continental, whilst able to play some neat possession football in the middle of the park, lacked the cutting edge necessary to penetrate a well-organised Barry back four. Indeed, Barry 'keeper John Dawson could well have made good use of a deckchair.
The leaders did come forward on a few occasions, with Jeff White’s well-timed run giving him a half chance which almost brought a fourth goal asMurray went on the overlap to fire in a decent cross. Similarly, Fredericksen went agonisingly close to adding another.
"Keep your shape” and "keep the ball" were the oft used words of wisdom from Barry coaches Dickie Batt and Trevor Taylor at half-time and so, obviously, the team spent the first 10 minutes of the second half doing the opposite.
However, Continental did not look like scoring and, although managing a couple of corners, posed little threat.
Suitably encouraged, Barry poured forward repeatedly, with Murray, Rahman and Bobbett (phone call over) trying to set up the hard-running strikers. White was stopped by an offside decision, and then shot just over, and Fredericksen sent in a low drive, but was denied by a cracking save.
Barry brought on their subs - Christoforato (Cadoxton Barry), ‘Hodgy’ again and ‘Fuzzy’ Webb - for Hill, Mark 'Jonah' Jones (ex-Barry Town, etc) and White and, while Continental also made changes, there was surprisingly little difference to the run of play as Barry strove to keep a clean sheet.
The final minute brought a last chunk of disappointment for the Cardiff side as a 30-yard thunderbolt crashed against the woodwork.
Barry’s professionalism certainly won the day, with Bobbett deservedly voted man of the match and edging out Murray, Rahman and Continental’s Lee O’Brien
Maybe next season Barry will be playing a cup final on a brand-new 3G pitch in the town. Well, if Merthyr, Bridgend and little Cambrian can have one, why not the largest town in Wales?
And, maybe two Barry teams could compete, with a brand new over 40s team set up. There are certainly enough players playing in the local league to form a side.
BARRY: John Dawson, Dave Murray, Jimmy Blackie, Paul Averies, Steve Hill, Mikey Bobbett, Alan Huish (capt), Mark Jones, Ronnie Rahman, Jeff White and Mike Fredericksen. Subs: Dave Hodgkinson, Mark Christoforato, Richard Webb, Dickie Batt (coach) and Trevor Taylor (coach).