Barry put five past last year’s Welsh Football League Division One winners Cambrian & Clydach in a dominant display but events off the pitch are still a threat to their very existence.
I wasn’t sure what to expect as I went through the turnstiles at Jenner Park. A once proud football club is fighting for its very existence on its 100th birthday. Not against the usual suspect HMRC but their owner, Stuart Lovering, who has threatened to pull Barry out of the league in December if a buyer isn’t found for the club.
One might expect doom and gloom to be lingering around the ground but it wasn’t evident tonight as a paid my £3 (student price). The (small) crowd were having a good laugh on the terraces and the team put in a display for them to be proud of. I even heard my new favourite football chant “Chinese, in his underpants Chinese, in his underpants (etc.)” a reference to a bloke who was on a job interview at the club and came across a homeless man sleeping in one of the clubs buildings.
Barry’s Nickie Jones got the scoring underway after 10 minutes when his low firm shot squeezed its way through ‘keeper’s gloves and trickled in. Cambrian reacted well though and a series of poor Barry clearances led to a succession of chances for the away side. The best of which fell to their number 5 who headed wide from four yards when totally unmarked in the box.
Then a soft foul on the edge of the box on 30 minutes saw a Cambrian goal after a wicked deflection left Barry’s keeper unable to twist his body around enough to get a decent hand on it. Cambrian went close again a few minutes later with their number 9 shooting over from an acute angle.
But the rest of the half was almost all Barry. Firstly Christian Doidge latched onto a slide rule pass to net into the far corner on 40 minutes and then four minutes later Anthony ‘TJ’ Nagi prodded one home after a huge scramble in the box from a corner leaving it 3-1 to Barry at the break.
The next half started very slowly and attention in the stands turned away from the football to the conversation on the terraces. Topics ranged from whether the birthday of the club was actually today (27th Nov) or not (they decided that it was today as long as they won) to who had the weirdest dream about inflicting GBH on Mr Lovering to what they would call themselves if they had to start again (they decided to call do what TNS have done and change the meaning of the letters. Ie. Total Network Solutions became The New Saints so for Barry Town they would become BARRY Town which stands for Barry Are Really Really Yellow).
Christian Doidge then woke everyone up by sliding a shot just past the right-hand post from 12 yards. Cambrian then got back into the game thanks to a brilliant, looping, glancing header from their number 10 that lobbed the keeper after some brilliant work to get the ball away from two of Barry’s defenders by their 11 on 68 minutes.
Cambrian then had the chance to equalise but number 11 put a simple header just past the post.
Barry made the game safe however on 83 minutes after a wonderful solo effort by ‘TJ’ Nagi. He flicked the ball over two players and beat another before a cool finish beating the keeper at his near post.
There was time for one more goal from substitute Michael Hartley. Another wonderful run from ‘TJ’ Nagi saw him win the ball by the corner flag, breeze around a defender before putting it on a plate for Hartley who couldn’t miss from a yard away. Final score Barry 5 Cambrian & Clydach 2.
The attendance was a fairly disappointing 88 but the way the Barry fans were talking about their club you could tell that even if they are pulled from the league in December they will all be back next year. They’ll just be watching their beloved Barry Town trying to scale the heights of the Welsh Football League instead of fighting for honours at the top of it.