Yesterday the 6 March, Druids returned to Cymru Premier action in a very tight encounter with Barry Town. Unfortunately ending 1-0 to our opponents due to a penalty just before half time.
Both sides came into this match full of energy and excitement due to the league finally restarting after 11 long weeks without football. The match began and as expected, was very tight with Barry working the ball along their backline waiting for an opening, playing long diagonal balls into their front line. The Druids defence with Phil Mooney and Aaron Simpson in the middle were very organised, not allowing the Barry forwards to get any meaningful opportunities early on. At the same time, Druids were being positive every time they won the ball back, looking threatening down the wings with a multitude of balls into the area and shots from distance.
The first half was very even with a mainly half chances for either side but no clear cut opportunities as of yet. Towards the end of the opening period, Barry began to apply more pressure on Druids and up their tempo. Moments before half time, a Druids goal kick was head back into a Barry midfielder who provided a through ball for striker Nat Jarvis in on goal. Druids defender Aaron Simpson attempting to block the ball collided with Jarvis and the referee decided to award a penalty to Barry. The yellow card for Simpson will mean he will be suspended for one game. Barry midfielder David Cotterill scored the penalty and we went into half time 1-0 down.
The second half was not much different early on. Again, very tight with few big chances going to either side. However, on 75 minutes, Druids winger Joe Faux picked the ball up on the edge of the area, making room for himself onto his right foot for his strike to sail inches over the bar. As the game reached its final minutes Druids began to commit more bodies forward in search of an equaliser, leaving themselves somewhat exposed at the back. Barry town countered on us a few times in this period, but again Phil Mooney, Aaron Simpson and keeper Dawid Szczepaniak produced some important blocks and saves to keep us in the game.
In a last-ditch effort, Druids decided to bring on Chris Aziamale and Jacob Wise to offer some added height and strength up front in search of a goal. Moments before full time, that decision almost paid dividends as Wise flicked on a floated cross into the box for his header to go inches wide of the top corner. Druids never gave up and continued pressing for a goal until the final moments however the full-time whistle blew with the match finishing 1-0 to Barry Town.
Overall, an extremely close game in which both sides would have accepted a draw as a fair result. Druids can be happy to produce a performance like that against a top 4 side. A similar intensity against the teams around us would put us in good stead to move our way up the table. We turn our attention now to a massive fixture Tuesday night at the Rock against Newtown FC.
We keep going!