Barry Town Utd Ladies returned to League action on Sunday with a visit to Cardiff based club Willows Ladies looking to maintain their excellent start to the season.
The Vale based club were looking to bounce back following their FAW Cup exit the previous week and Barry went into this fixture knowing it wasn’t going to be an easy ride again one of the promoted teams into the division.
The visitors were also forced into a number of changes for this fixture with injuries and illness affecting the squad meaning a number of changes to the starting line-up. Laura Saliba came back into the team against her former club with Olivia Townsend and Emma Cannon coming into the starting eleven. Tracey White also slotted into the defensive unit as Barry went in search of maintaining their unbeaten league form.
It proved to be a frantic start to the match with chances falling at both end of the pitch. Willows had a shot from the edge of the area that struck a post and they also fired wide whilst at the other end Sian Rees and Cannon went close for Barry.
However the deadlock was broken on 23 minutes when a Barry corner delivered superbly to the back post by Captain Charlotte Preen, was met by defender Holly Vowles whose bullet header found the net to make it 1-0 to the visitors.
The breakthrough seemed to take the wind out of the home side and Barry were starting to control the game with the majority of possession, looking to play through the opposition on a difficult and narrow pitch. The defensive unit of Tracey White, Vowles and Alex Allen were dealing with any threat in behind confidently and the visitors had chances to double their lead before the break. Preen shot from distance went wide and Cannon, causing problems in wide areas delivered a great cross to the back post which Barry failed to convert. Barry remained a goal to the good at half time.
The second half saw a continuation of Barry having the majority of the ball but Willows having moments on the counter attack. Barry goalkeeper, Erin Brennan made a smart save with her feet and moments later Barry doubled their lead on the hour. Preen was involved again striking a delightful free kick over the goalkeeper to make it 2-0 and but Barry firmly in the driving seat.
Alicia Cox came on to replace Slaiba who put in a hardworking display down the right and Barry went in search of a third and just 12 minutes later it was 3-0. Some neat build up play so the ball fall to Rees who played a sublime through ball to Cannon who placed the ball into the net to mark her fifth goal of the season.
Taylor Page replaced Cannon as Barry looked to see out the final stages of the game, however there was late drama when Willows were awarded a penalty in the last minute for a handball. Barry goalkeeper, Erin Brennan however was to keep her clean sheet intact with an excellent save which meant the Dragons deservedly won the game but credit must go to the hosts who battled hard throughout and made Barry work hard for the three points.
Manager Luke Williams commented after the game “It’s an excellent three points for us at a difficult place to come and get a result. Our players showed a great attitude and took nothing for granted going into the game and after we got the first goal it settled us down and by the end of the game we thoroughly deserved the three points.”
Barry have now made it 7 wins from 7 fixtures in the league and the top of the table is looking like a three team race for promotion to the Welsh Premier League with Caldicot Town, Aberystwyth Town and Barry all in the hunt.
Sun 2 December: Barry Town v Willows Ladies (2pm Leckwith Stadium 3G)
Sun 9 December: Barry Town v Aberystwyth Town (2pm Jenner Park)