There was no denying this was a big game for Barry after back to back defeats , in the League to Vale of Glamorgan rivals Llantwit Major and in the Welsh Cup to Pen y Bont. You could physically feel the momentum and excitement surrounding the club. And it’s not just pre Semi Final excitement, it’s growing around every game, League and Cups alike, there’s a definite shift in how convincing these boys look on the field.
The game kicks off, on possibly the wettest November evening possible. True to form, Barry’s strong Supporter’s Club make their support heard, you can’t deny the passion backing this town’s team, with a strong 500 here to witness.
10 minutes in and Carmarthen drive their first real shot at Mike Lewis, forcing a corner with Lewis making the save defiantly. Barry come back with a corner of their own, taken by Michael Hartery that falls short of its target.
It seemed there was to be no let up from both the rain and Carmarthen’s push towards Lewis’s net in the first twenty minutes as both teams begin to settle into the game. As Lewis makes another necessary save, the Barry wingers react by bringing the ball along, with some seriously fancy footwork by Drew Fahiya in an attempt to shift the play into the visitor’s half. With notably quality passes by skipper James Saddler, it’s fair to say that Barry are certainly deserving here of getting on the scoresheet. Barry’s Ryan Evans reignites the home supporter’s with a strong shot at goal on the turn of the half hour, brought about by some seriously quality football by Chris Hugh, he really does read the game well.
It would be fair to say that both sides look fairly evenly matched and driven as they move up and down the field equally in the first half. It’s really wet out there and whilst Barry lose the ball at their feet juxtapose that to Carmarthen losing control of it by playing a long ball. I noted on Twitter that Declan Carroll, Carmarthen’s number 7 could be quoted to say they were expecting a tough clash; Carmarthen certainly came with physicality and pace. That said, Barry are strong defensively, with Fahiya to name just one who reads the gaps well, if giving a little too much on his crosses to the box, but I maintain that that is the result of the drive and perseverance within this team. They’ve got sights on the road to the final, after an unlucky, uncalled, ‘niggly’ first half, with it’s share of scuffles, knocks and player clashes that were let go. Both sets of fans could be heard ‘encouraging’ the ref to acknowledge and boldly make decisions that would be standard to other referees in Wales. Which left me with a feeling of ‘What if…?’ knowing that both sides had capably held the other back, so had decisions been made, thus leading to free kicks, just what could that have created?
Back out for the second half of this semi final clash in the Nathaniel MG cup, after some quality goals scored by ‘Mini Town’ during the break – really entertaining and disciplined.
It feels and looks a similar game to that in the first, so I stood there in hope that Chesterfield’s half time talk and the substitution plan would change it up enough to force Carmarthen Town into making a mistake we could break through on. Sure enough, around the 60th minute, Barry’s number 10, Jordan Cotterill is fouled, he hits the 3G and the Ref calls a free kick, beautifully positioned enough to be called a long penalty, I’d say 25 yards out (actually, my Dad said that, but who’s the writer here?) and it sails past Carmarthen keeper Lee Idzi to make it a rather beautiful 1-0 at home – what a kick on the lad!
— stevie campbell (@coach_steviemc) November 8, 2016
The next fifteen minutes are highlighted with substitutions, goal scorer and subsequent man of the match Cotterill replaced by Briers, Dixon on for Nagi.
By the 88th minute this game has become physical, with Carmarthen town seeking desperately to level up with Barry, leaving us gasping and thoughts of ‘don’t concede now…’ but it has to be said, despite the pressure, the pace, the elbows and the pulls, Barry’s defence remained defiant and strong, with very few times the ball actually making it through to necessitate involving the keeper. Barry maintained their lead and history was made by reaching the final of the Nathaniel MG Cup, facing either TNS or gap Connagh’s Quay…bring on the final!
The Daily Vale’s Ryan Sutton interviews Gavin Chesterfield and Luke Cooper
By Welsh Girl On The Ball