Barry Town Utd Ladies went into their third game of the Welsh Women's League looking to maintain their strong start to the season when they took on Cardiff Bluebelles at the weekend.
This fixture against newly promoted Bluebelles, led by former Barry manager Adam Hewings, was set to be a close encounter with the visitors fielding a number of former Barry players and having strengthened during the summer , they were always going to provide Barry with their toughest test so far this season.
Barry started the game on the front foot dominating possession for large periods but Bluebelles were disciplined and well organised defensively minimising the hosts to a handful of shots in the opening half an hour. Charlotte Preen went close with two efforts that went just over the bar as well as striking a post from a corner swung into the near post. Ffion James and Chelsea Deacon were a regular threat in wide areas but often the final ball lacked enough quality to cause a resolute Bluebelles defence significant problems.
Just as the first half was coming to a close, Bluebelles took the lead from a corner. Becca Jones delivered and in-swinging corner to the far post which Barry failed to clear and Mollie Bailey got the final touch to make it 1-0 at the break to the visitors.
The second half followed a similar pattern with Barry dictating the lions share of possession as they went in search of an equaliser and they squandered two great chances in the opening 15 minutes. First Shannon Evans got in behind the Bluebelles defence and struck a shot from just inside the box that was well saved by Kirsty Lewis and then a great passage of play saw Preen have an effort from 12 yards but her turn and shot was well saved again by Lewis.
The home side used all three substitutes with Holly Vowles, Laura Saliba and Olivia Townsend entering the game and changing shape in search of a goal but the Bluebelles defence continued to frustrate Barry. As the game entered the final stages, Barry pushed more players forward and inevitably this gave the visitors opportunities to counter and put the game to bed. Rebecca Cornelius and Hannah Moger went close to sealing the three points and the final moments saw Barry put more pressure with balls into the penalty area but the Bluebelles stood firm and held on to record their second win of the season.
The defeat for Barry is a setback but with a game in hand on the majority of teams, a win would take them to within a point of current leaders Cascade YC.
After the game, Barry Town Manager Luke Williams commented; "We are disappointed with the result today, particularly as we felt we had control of the game for large periods but we were not good enough today in the final third of the pitch which is unlike us. I felt our build up play was excellent and defensively we were rarely troubled but i have to give credit to Adam and his team who defended very well and frustrated us. We lacked creativity today and made things too predictable so it's something we need to work on and improve but one defeat is not going to define anything at this stage. It's a reality check for our players and we will look to bounce back next week."
Barry's next fixture will see them travel West to take on Llangyfelach Ladies on 29th September.