A youthful Druids squad travelled down to south Wales yesterday afternoon and again put in a solid, hardworking performance. A close score line, but ultimately a Barry goal in the second half was enough for the hosts to take all 3 points.
With a multitude of absentees due to illness and injury, 8 of our EDS players were given the opportunity to step up into the first team squad on the day. The EDS lads have been outstanding all season, often training with the first team and all fully deserved this opportunity.
The match kicked off at Jenner Park and there were some chances at either end early on. Druids got some solid crosses into the Barry box but were unable to get anything on the end of them so far. Barry had a few shots from range and some crosses of their own, but the final product was either wide or saved by Michael Jones in the Druids’ goal.
As the half progressed, it was the hosts who really applied the pressure on Druids in search of a goal. We were forced to sit back a bit and stay organised to keep them at bay. Phil Mooney and Isaac Lambert were solid at centre half, blocking shots and clearing crosses, while Jones was looking sharp in goal. Just before the break we created some opportunities ourselves. Connor Rogers did well to flick a near post cross towards goal, then minutes later struck from outside the area, just going wide.
The referee blew for halftime shortly after. Barry had the majority of possession and chances, but Druids were showing tremendous organisation and work rate to block and clear everything that came at them! We just needed some more quality up top to up the pressure on our opponents.
The second half began and Barry were going all out to get that opening goal. They were committing men forward and getting a lot of balls into our box. However still, the Druids backline was solid as a rock, clearing the danger and frustrating our opponents. The EDS lads who started the game, Mitch Williams, Vinnie Cooke, Eric Durnell and Pete Evans were all getting stuck in and working their socks off for the team.
Niall Flint created a decent opportunity just before 60 minutes. Making a yard of space for himself, he bent one towards the far corner but just went wide of the post. However, Barry kept pressurising our goal and finally got the breakthrough they were looking for on 67 minutes. A long ball from the back was flicked towards goal by a Barry forward, it bounced in our box and Rhys Abbruzzese pounced quickest on the loose ball to stab it home, giving Barry the 1-0 lead.
Frustration for Druids who had been so organised and solid up till that point but couldn’t clear the loose ball quick enough. However, we showed a great reaction following the goal, Eric Durnell picked up the ball straight away and fired from just outside the box. Minutes later he put a good delivery in to Niall Flint, who’s header was just off target. The lads weren’t giving up and EDS players of Fred Whiles, Dan Cabral and Josh Walker came on to offer fresh legs.
We were in the final minutes now as Druids began committing men forward for an equaliser. A long ball in from Jones was flicked toward goal by Phil Mooney, only for the Barry keeper to claim. More balls into the Barry box, but ultimately the referee blew for full time shortly after as the hosts earned their 1-0 victory.
Disappointment for Druids, who were solid and organised for large parts of the game, but just couldn’t get back into it after going behind. Credit must go to the 8 EDS players who were involved in the squad. All of them were outstanding on the day, showing a great attitude and were a credit to the club.
The lads will need to reset and recover quickly as we welcome Connah’s Quay Nomads to The Rock this Tuesday night!
More than just a football club.