Saturday 12th January
Barry Town United 2-1 Aberystwyth Town
Aberystwyth Town's second half fightback was not enough to see them avoid their sixth successive JD Welsh Premier League defeat as they lost 2-1 to Barry Town United at Jenner Park on Saturday night. A Momodou Touray brace (2, 19) inside the opening 20 minutes put the hosts in firm control, but a sumptuous second half strike (65) by Rio Ahmadi gave Aber a lifeline in a much improved second half performance that fell just short of another epic comeback in South Wales.
There were three changes to the Aber starting eleven after last weekend's defeat to Connah's Quay, with Steff Edwards, Joe Phillips and Ash Ruane replacing Jack Rimmer, ad suspended duo Mathew Jones and Declan Walker. Despite their attacking line-up, Aber started on the back foot and were behind within 2 minutes as Macauley Southam-Hales surged down the right flank before crossing for Mo Touray to slot home the opening goal and make it 1-0. It was yet another early goal conceded by the Seasiders who faced an uphill battle to get themselves back into the game. The hosts took control of the game after scoring the opener, without creating many clear cut opportunities, but on 19 minutes they doubled their lead as Southam-Hales again broke free on the right flank and found Touray once more who slotted home his second of the game to make it 2-0. It looked set to be another dismal night for the Black and Greens, as they struggled to cope with Barry's fluent passing and movement. Indeed, despite a few corner kicks, Aber's first meaningful effort didn't arrive until the 36th minute as Joe Phillips dribbled inside before firing a right footed effort over Mike Lewis' goal. The hosts entered the break with a two goal advantage, after a first half that saw Aber lacking in urgency and creativity.
Despite their poor first half showing, the visitors slowly edged their way back into the game after the break with Ash Ruane testing Lewis with a right footed effort on 57 minutes. Lee Jenkins replaced Steff Edwards on the stroke of the hour as Aber opted for a change of shape, and they began to create better openings in the final third. On 65 minutes, Ruane was fouled on the edge of the penalty area setting up a free kick in an inviting position. Rio Ahmadi duly stepped up and curled a sublime right footed effort into the top corner to reduce the deficit and make it 2-1. Suddenly, Aber's supporters sensed there was a glimmer of hope, and just five minutes later they almost witnessed an equaliser as Joe Phillips cut inside and struck a low effort against the base of the post. The hosts appeared to lose a yard of pace and sharpness from their first half performance, as Aber pressed further up the field, and on 75 minutes the Seasiders fashioned another opportunity as Ahmadi swivelled in the box and fired an effort inches over the crossbar. On 81 minutes Nash Blake replaced Geoff Kellaway in Town's final throw of the dice, and with just minutes remaining Blake earned another free kick in a dangerous position on the edge of the penalty area. Ahmadi stepped up once more but this time dragged his right footed effort wide of Lewis' far post and it looked like that might be that. As the game entered stoppage time, Alan Goodall was given his marching orders after picking up his second yellow card, appearing to block Southam-Hales' marauding run down the right flank, and Aber would leave Jenner Park empty handed despite their second half efforts.
It's been a difficult end to the first phase for the Seasiders, who will now play their final 10 league games in the bottom half of the table. Nevertheless, Town can be proud of their second half efforts against the league leaders at Jenner Park on Saturday night, and must rally for a strong finish to the season now as they look to fight for the lucrative 7th placed spot in the league table and aim to make it back to back JD Welsh Cup Final appearances. The Seasiders face a two week break from action now, before facing Cardiff Met in the JD Welsh Cup Fourth Round at Park Avenue on Saturday 26th January.
Barry Town United: Lewis, Southam-Hales, Cooper, Watkins, Hugh, Greening, Patton, Fry (89), McLaggon, Gerrard, Touray. Subs: Fahiya, Morgan, Kendall, Hood, Press (89), Baker.
Aberystwyth Town: McCormick, Baynes, Goodall, Wollacott, S Edwards (58), Mendes, R Edwards, Phillips, Kellaway (80), Ruane, Ahmadi. Subs: Rowe, Blake (80), Berner, Jenkins (58)