Friday 23rd August
Barry Town United 3 Aberystwyth Town 1
On a beautiful evening in the Vale Of Glamorgan Aber Town fell to a disappointing defeat away to UEFA Europa League Qualifiers Barry Town, for whom Kayne McLaggon proved the difference with two clinical match winning strikes. McLaggon opened the scoring in the seventh minute with an impressive 30 yard volley, and then Clayton Green edged Barry further in front on 32 minutes. When McLaggon notched his second with twelve minutes to go the game seemed over, but Town rallied and Paolo Mendes grabbed an 83rd minute consolation header which in itself retained the Black and Greens' Top Six status ahead of Monday afternoon's visit of Champions The New Saints to Park Avenue.
Ironically Aber started the better side and looked fully confident passing the ball round and threatening Barry’s back line. Wes Baynes’ deep right wing cross was met at the back stick by the outstanding Matthew Jones who header brought a smart save from George Ratcliffe. Geoff Kellaway was denied by a last ditch tackle and things were looking promising. Then however McLaggon picked up the ball 40 yards out, burst forward and unleashed a super 30 yard volley which Connor Roberts on his Aber debut could only watch sail into the far corner. Roberts then did very well to deny Tom Fry and McLaggon again at close range and suddenly Barry were looking good. Matthew Jones delivered a ball for Stuart Jones to head wide but then Roberts was back in action pushing Jack Compton’s free kick wide. Then Clayton Green found some space in the left channel and sent in a hopeful shot which despite Roberts’ best efforts nestled into the far corner for 2-0, and Aber were up against it. Back came the Black and Green with Kellaway blocked, and Ratcliffe again doing well with a double save to deny Mendes’ close range header. He was again called into action to save Kellaway’s snap volley, Marc Williams saw a shot blocked and for Barry Robbie Patten’s shot was deflected wide – and an eventful half with Aber possibly deserving better than a two goal deficit.
Kellaway saw yet another shot blocked after the break, and Roberts again denied McLaggon. Chris Hugh fired wide after a mesmerising run, before Aber brought on Rio Ahmadi and Alex Boss to freshen up the side, and Aber improved again with Matthew Jones creating chance after chance with searching crosses causing consternation in the Barry back line, with hard working Luke Boundford heading one opportunity just wide. Sadly for Aber with twelve minutes remaining that man McLaggon turned in the box and sent a low volley into the net, and the game was definitively won at 3-0. Boundford it was who flicked on a header for the tall Mendes to nod home Aber’s response with seven minutes to go and an unlikely siege of the Barry box was on the cards. Sub Joe Phillips had a shot blocked and Boundford headed wide again, while Roberts denied a certain fourth at the other end, but credit to Barry’s defence who held out well for a 3-1 win which on the basis of their clinical finishing they probably deserved.
After a positive start to the season last night’s result was somewhat of a setback, and Aber will be hoping for better in two days time on Bank Holiday Monday when Champions The New Saints come to Park Avenue for a 2.30pm kick off. A repeat of last season’s momentous 1-0 win would be very much what the Doctor ordered!