Barry Town Utd Ladies went into their Welsh Women’s League Cup Quarter-Final away to Splott Albion looking to progress into their second cup semi-final of the season.
The hosts went into the game in good form sitting in fourth place in the league table one place behind Barry and have made a great impact in the league in their first season in the second tier. Albion also recently forced a draw at home against former Welsh Premier League team Caldicot Town meaning this would always going to be a stern test for Barry.
The visitors went into the game with four first team players suffering from sickness, but were still able to put out a strong line-up for this encounter. Taylor Page and Ellen Phillips came back into the starting line-up and it was Barry who started the game on the front foot.
Barry looked comfortable in possession in the opening stages and it took just six minutes for the visitors to take the lead. A fine through ball found Sian Rees breaking down the right hand side and her cut back found captain, Charlotte Preen who smashed the ball home from 12 yards to give Barry the lead and mark her tenth goal of the season.
It was the perfect start for Barry but Splott soon started to amount pressure on the Barry defence. A number of lofted through balls caused uncertainty in the Barry defence and Splott has several opportunities to capitalise but couldn’t find the killer touch in front of goal.
At the other end Chelsea Deacon had an effort just wide but at the half time point came, Barry remained 1-0 in front.
The second half saw Barry probe away looking for the second goal and Deacon almost doubled Barry’s lead but couldn’t get a touch on the end of a fine cross by Page. Splott always looked threatening on the counter attack and they got themselves back on level terms just after the hour mark.
Barry attempted to clear a back pass which struck the hand of a defender and the referee awarded a penalty which was well taken by Laura Murray into the bottom corner to level matters at 1-1. Splott were now starting to get on top of Barry and minutes later went into the lead. A cross from the left struck the crossbar and a goalmouth was converted to give the hosts a 2-1 lead.
Barry were rattled but to their credit they regained their composure and started to take control of possession for the next 15 minutes which saw more twists and turns as the visitors scored two quick goals to take the lead for a second time.
First, some great combination play found Rees who calmly slotted the ball into the net to make it 2-2 and then substitute, Courtney Martin-Luce got on the end of a lovely Barry move and cross from Rees to put the visitors back in front on 80 minutes.
The third goal looked to have taken the sting out of the home side but they were to find one more big effort in search of an equaliser. Just as Barry looked to have taken control of the final stages, Splott grabbed an equaliser when a through ball found the on rushing striker and the initial shot was saved but the rebound was slotted home by Vega to make it 3-3 with two minutes remaining.
An entertaining game would go into extra-time and Splott made an early breakthrough when a defensive error let in Sophie Ford down the left and she smashed the ball past Erin Brennan to put Splott back into the lead to make it 4-3 to the hosts.
Barry rallied in an attempt to force the game into penalties, Preen and Rees shot wide but they couldn’t find an equaliser and it is Splott who go into the Semi-Finals of the League Cup.
After the game, Barry Town manager Luke Williams commented; “Naturally we are disappointed to lose what was an entertaining game. We certainly didn’t do ourselves any favours today defensively but I have to give credit to Splott who made it difficult for us and we made too many errors and were deservedly punished. To score three goals away from home and leading with two minutes to go, it’s frustrating not to win the game but we only have ourselves to blame. We have to work hard in training this week and make sure we are back to the standards we expect.”
Barry’s next fixture is the semi-final of the South Wales FA Cup where they will take on Cascade YC on Sunday 17th February at Cardiff University 3G in Llanrumney, CF3 4JN with a 13:30 kick off.