Barry Town Ladies went into their second match of the season on Sunday, returning to Jenner Park Stadium for what was billed as a crunch league fixture against fellow promotion hopefuls Cascade YC.
Following a good start to the season with a 3-1 win at Merthyr the previous weekend, the Vale based club knew they would face a sterner test of their league credentials against an opponent that finished just two points behind Barry last season.
The game kicked off at a frantic pace and the home side took the lead after just two minutes when a through ball found new signing, Daisy Evan-Watkins who raced through the visitors defence before placing the ball into the corner to give the hosts a dream start.
However their lead was short lived as straight from the kick off Cascade responded. A lapse in concentration at the back resulted in Cascade similarly playing a through ball for the on rushing forward to slot home past goalkeeper Erin Brennan to make it 1-1 after just 3 minutes.
Just four minutes later a third goal of the game arrived. Midfielder Ellen Phillips won a free kick 30 yards from goal and up stepped captain, Charlotte Preen with a trademark effort that lobbed the Cascade goalkeeper to make it 2-1 to the home side.
Barry started to take a real stranglehold of the game looking confident in possession in all areas of the pitch with the pace of Chelsea Deacon and Evan-Watkins causing havoc particularly against a high defensive line. Evan-Watkins spurned a great chance to grab a third from Barry when put through on goal but she was denied by an excellent save from the Cascade goalkeeper. Deacon also went close with an effort that was thwarted by another fine save low down. Phillips also had a goal disallowed for offside a Barry as the home side continued to look for a decisive third goal.
The score remained 2-1 at half time with the only negative from Barry’s perspective was the fact they were not out of site given some great opportunities.
The second half also started at a fast pace with Barry still enjoying the vast majority of possession but the visitors always looked a threat on the counter. The pressure eventually told when on 52 minutes, Phillips reacted quickly in the box to give Barry the cushion they had been searching for. Evan-Watkins, making her first start for her new club, put the game to bed on 64 minutes when she raced onto a through ball and this time made no mistake firing past the goalkeeper to make it 4-1. That’s three goals in two games for the striker making an impressive start for the ‘Town’.
Preen and Tracey White were the architects of most of Barry’s excellent build up play with the energetic Deacon and Phillips linking up well in the attacking half of the pitch. Defensively, Alex Allen was a colossus making numerous key headers and block tackles along with Emma Thompson and Chloe Clarke. Olivia Townsend and Alicia Cox were also putting in excellent shifts in wide areas.
As the half wore on Barry made a number of changes with Emma Cannon replacing Evan-Watkins, Taylor Page replacing Chloe Clarke and the returning Sian Rees came on for Phillips. Rees, making her senior debut took just 10 minutes to make an impact with a superb individual goal when she nonchalantly hit a left foot shot from the edge of the penalty area looping the ball over the goalkeeper.
To their credit, Cascade showed great desire throughout the game and did manage a late consolation goal to make the final score 5-2 to the home side.
After the game, manager Luke Williams commented: “We are really pleased with the performance today against a strong Cascade team. We put together some excellent passages of play, creating many opportunities and scored five goals but it was also pleasing to see the battling qualities and determination in what was an important game early in the season.”
A deserved win for Barry who will now travel to Aberystwyth on Sunday 16th September for another big league game on match day 3.