EXPECTING to play Caerau Link, who finished second in the top division of the South Wales Amateur Soccer League last season, Cadoxton Barry, in fact, faced a much sterner test against Caerau FC, a side relegated to the Welsh League Third Division at the end of last season.

Playing at the well appointed old Caerau Athletic ground, CB were playing their first pre-season friendly and early exchanges were fairly even. There were moments of optimism for the visitors and, in the 12th minute, Dawson went on a run down the left and skipped past a number of challenges before taking on one too many. And Blackmore did something similar - unfortunately, with a similar outcome.

A 25th minute break to take on water seemed to help Caerau a little more than CB and an unmarked Ryan Jones headed home. Page added a second before the break.

Playing down the slope in the second half, CB enjoyed more possession and, after a foul in the box, Weekley reduced the arrears from the spot.

Manager Harvey gave all his large squad a run out, but one bout of changes saw CB living dangerously, with Harker pulling off a couple more quality saves before Page made it 3-1. A clever nutmeg from Jones gave him the space to run around his marker to score a clever goal from a difficult angle.

However, that was comfortably eclipsed as the goal of the game, when excellent play from Royle saw the ball find Dawson. And, from 25 yards out, he dummied before striking home a screamer.

Back in the game and, with the score at 4 - 2 with 20 minutes left, CB were looking at the possibility of a respectable scoreline against a side that played out last season three levels above them.

But another quality cross from distance saw Page convert with another tap in, and a CB error in taking a throw in gifted Caerau's sixth to Page.

Whilst the score may not sound terribly impressive from CB's angle, the experience that their large rotating squad would have gained from this rigorous, if unexpected, workout against a Welsh League side playing its fourth pre-season friendly, cannot be underestimated.

Next Saturday CB entertain Hirwaun at Bryn-y-Don.

Meanwhile, a mixed 2nds and 3rds side lost narrowly to newly-promoted Vale Premier side Island Marine.

* The club much appreciates two recent grants from the Barry and Vale councils which will go towards the purchase of essential equipment – in particular first aid supplies for its five sides (including two junior).