Report written by Joshua Slack
Barry Town United maintained their lead at the top of the Welsh League Division One, and took a step closer to the Welsh Premier League with a 3-0 win at Port Talbot with goals from Curtis Watkins, a penalty from Louis Gerrard, and a fine finish from Jordan Cotterill.
With Barry playing in green, and left to right the visitors started the brighter, and good work from Chris Hugh almost threaded through TJ Naji, but his pass was over hit, and the chance came to no avail. It was a game being played at a high tempo, and it would be Port Talbot who would threaten next, but the ball which was fizzled across Barry’s box couldn’t find anyone In the blue of Port Talbot.
Jordan Cotterill was dictating play from deep early on, and his neat foot work created a chance for Town, but his effort rose just over Rory McReesh’s goal. In the opening exchanges, it was quite even, but Barry were getting the better of the chances. Callum Sainty was the next to have a chance, and is always a threat in the air, which he showed last week when scoring in the 2-1 home defeat against Goytre, but his header from a free-kick fell just over the Port Talbot bar.
Port Talbot, though, were a threat up front, and got behind the Barry back-line far too easily, but Mike Lewis was there to make a smart save to put the ball behind for a corner. Curtis Watkins who was again playing again in an unfamiliar role with the absence of Ryan Evans cheaply gave the ball away, and if it wasn’t for Mike Lewis in the Barry goal it could have easily been a goal – he’s come to Barry’s rescue on so many occasions this season, and today was no different.
Going forward Barry always had a threat, and good work from Jordan Cotterill and TJ Nagi created a chance for Drew Fahiya, and with the goal gaping, he fired his attempt just over Rory McReesh’s goal. In an end-to-end affair, it would be Port Talbot who would trouble the Barry’s defensive line next, but they just couldn’t find a way past the excellent Mike Lewis in the Barry goal.
The game itself started to die out as the first-half came to a close with no real chances to note, however TJ Nagi did have the ball in the back of the net, but the linesmen adjudged it to be offside. Going in at half-time neither side really had a foothold of the game, but it was definitely entertaining with both sides having a host of chances at both ends of the pitch.
Going into the second-half, and it looked to have the same feel as the first-half, with both teams threatening at the respective ends of the pitch. Superb chasing down from port Talbot’s striker, and captain Luke Bowen forced the vulnerable Curtis Watkins into a mistake, but as the striker carried on to press Mike Lewis he was pelted full force in the face with the ball, and it looked to be serious, but after a while the striker found his feet, and was able to carry on to the relief of the Port Talbot supporters inside The GenQuip stadium.
Barry’s tempo like in the first-half was quick, and Drew Fahiya broke clear, although he looked a few yards offside, but his effort was straight at Rory McCreesh in the Port Talbot goal, and the goalkeeper blocked well to keep his goal intact. Barry were the better team in the second-half, and they were having the better chances like in the first-half. It was James Saddler, Barry’s captain with the next chance, but his effort was drilled into the ground from a corner, and Curtis Watkins was unable to react to convert the ball into the back of Rory McCreesh’s net.
Barry who have been so defensively sound all season, were looking vulnerable at the back, and it was Luke Cooper who next gave the ball away cheaply, but luckily for Barry, Port Talbot couldn’t convert. Barry needed something fresh, and as a result Gavin Chesterfield made a double substitution, bringing on Louis Gerrard, and Tyrell Webbe for James Saddler, and Drew Fahiya.
It had an immediate impact as Louis Gerrard won the free-kick, which was put in, and headed home by Curtis Watkins. 1-0 to Barry – a massive goal in the title race. It got worse for Port Talbot as manager Paul Evans was sent to the stands, and not long after Barry were 2-0 up after Jordan Cotterill was brought down in the box. Substitute Louis Gerrard converted coolly to put Barry in a commanding position to take back all three points back to Barry, and it was sealed in stoppage time when Jordan Cotterill finished low into the bottom right-hand corner. A superb win on the road for Barry, and a step closer to promotion to the Welsh Premier League.
Star Man: Louis Gerrard
Was excellent when coming on, and completely changed the game. Won the free-kick which led to Curtis Watkins’ headed goal, and kept his cool from the spot when called upon. A superb display from the midfielder.
Barry weren’t at their best by any means today, but getting the three points was vital in the race for promotion.
You must give huge credit to Gavin Chesterfield for bringing on Louis Gerrard and Tyrell Webbe who were both excellent when coming on, especially Gerrard whose impact was imminent – winning the free-kick which led to Barry’s first, and scoring Barry’s second from the penalty spot.
It was vital Barry kicked off March with three points, and that’s exactly what they did. Now the hard work starts with Cambrian & clydach, Haverfordwest County, and Caerau (Ely) all to come at home, as well as a tough away trip to Taffs Well on the 18th of March to contend with.
If Barry can come out of this month top of the Welsh League First Division they’ll have every chance of obtaining promotion to the Welsh Premier League, and they’ve started in the right manner with a win at Port Talbot today, and have put themselves in good stead going into a tough month.
Port Talbot Town: R McCreesh, C Thomas, ( R Whitelock, 56’), R Thomas, A Biddlescombe, L Holmes, C Jones, A Jenkins, S McCoubrey, L Bowen, J Hood, A Rawlings
Subs not used: J Harris, P Finneral, P Evans, M Stanton
Barry Town United: M Lewis, P Morgan, C Hugh, L Cooper, C Watkins, J Saddler, (L Gerrard, 77’), T Greening, C Sainty, TJ Nagi, J Cotterill, D Fahiya, ( T Webbe, 77’)
Subs not used: K Leigh, M Hartley, D Bradley
Referee: Teifion Cook