On Saturday the 19th December, Druids made the long journey south to play 5th placed Barry Town in a quick turnaround following our victory over Flint midweek. Reflecting now two days later, it was a tough game for Druids, our opponents showed their quality and were clinical in front of goal, deserving of their 4-1 victory. Druids had solid spells throughout though, especially at the beginning of the second half, where maybe we could have turned the game around. However individual quality within the Barry team and a few errors by Druids resulted in a convincing win for our opponents.
Druids came into this game with a barebones squad due to a multitude of injuries and suspensions, which gave the opportunity for academy prospects Jack Weston and Josh Hughes to step up into the first team squad. It was also a first start for Jonny Taylor up front after his comeback from an ACL tear.
The match began quite evenly with both sides attacking their opposite defensive lines and getting balls into the box and shots on goal. The best chance in the opening period fell to Druids in the 12th minute when Alex Darlington found Jonny Taylor at the back post with a great cross. Taylor’s header was low and on target with the Barry keeper doing extremely well to scramble across and block it inches before it crossed the line. The early exchanges gave Druids confidence on the ball, however in the 20th minute, Barry’s slick move down the wing resulted in a pinpoint cross and volley by forward Kayne McLaggon, putting them 1-0 up and taking control of the game. Following the goal, Barry were on top. They began dominating possession and threatening our goal. Five minutes from half time, they had another. A ball into the box was deflected right into the path of McLaggon again, who made no mistake and smashed it home from 5 yards, putting Barry 2-0 up going into the break.
Druids hadn’t been particularly poor in the first half, having solid spells of possession and creating a good amount of chances. Barry were just clinical with the chances they created and punished us. We needed to reset and try to get the ball down and keep playing our game. We came out for the second half with an immediate reaction and within 2 minute we had one back! Alex Darlington rose extremely well to meet a Josh Green cross and head into the top corner. That’s 2 in 2 games for Darlo and Druids were right back into it. This was our best period of the match with Druids hunting for an equaliser. Darlington was getting dangerous balls into the box for Taylor and Ryan Kershaw also struck a fierce shot from 25 yards, forcing a solid stop from the keeper. Just as we thought we may get an equaliser here and turn this game around, Barry went 3-1 up. A corner whipped in from our opponents was loose in the box and Jacob Wise, attempting to clear, inadvertently struck it into our net, dashing our hopes of a comeback.
Following on, Druids made a series of substitutions with academy player Jack Weston coming on for his first team debut and putting a solid shift in he can be proud of. However, following their third goal, Barry continued applying pressure, creating a few more very good chances. Michael Jones kept us in the game with some great 1 on 1 saves. Druids struggled to create anything until the 92nd minute when a ball over the top sent Weston through. The Barry keeper came out quickly to smother the ball before Weston could get there, however it fell to Harry Brazel with the keeper in no man’s land. Brazel’s long ranged lob looked good, but the Barry defenders got back to clear just before it crossed the line.
The final nail in the coffin came seconds before the full-time whistle with midfielder Sam Bowen riding a few challenges on the edge of our box and finishing well into the bottom corner to make it 4-1 and putting the game to bed.
The full-time whistle blew moments after, and Druids returned home disappointed. However, we stay above the relegation zone following the defeat, equal points with Flint Town in 9th. It doesn’t get any easier though when we travel to our neighbours and league leaders TNS on boxing day, in our final match before the short Christmas break.
The journey continues!
More than just a football club