from Pantperthog to Knockando

Friday, February 12, 2016

Football review: Barry Town United v The New Saints (Welsh Cup round 4) - Saturday 6 February 2016

Ah, the romance of the cup. Feeling the need for a break from university work and wanting to watch a football match combined to take me and my match-going compadre, Connor, to Jenner Park to watch Barry Town United take on the undisputed kingpins of Welsh domestic football, The New Saints.

The Welsh Cup is one of the oldest cup competitions in the world. Barry, in their previous incarnation before they were resurrected by fans from the grip of a megalomaniac owner and added United to their name, had won it six times previously. TNS had won it five times. But this wasn't a battle of equals. In fact, it was probably Barry's biggest game since coming back from the brink of extinction. All this history was summed up nicely in the souvenir programme produced for the game.

Just £2. Bargain.
It was a cold night and the weather had been bad all day. There was a break in the rain as the teams came out to line up. The sky really was that blue #nofilter.

Just before kick off

TNS were 1-0 up soon after kick-off. But Barry equalised a minute later and after fifteen minutes were in the lead with a lovely header from a set piece.

Then some weather happened.

Stereotypical Welsh weather

TNS seemed to specialise in low passes across the box and tapped in two more to make it 3-2 at the break. This led to a chorus of "You only score shit goals" from the small singing section in the block along from us. Their other songs of note were an a capella version of 'I've got a fire in my heart for you' by the Super Furry Animals and 'God gave Barry Town to you' as alternate lyrics to a well-known Kiss tune.

Half time and we scrummed into the clubhouse along with several hundred other people. Sgorio were in there as the game was live on S4C. (Making this the second game in a row broadcast live on the Welsh language channel.) They were very professionally carrying on with the punditry as a mass of humanity shuffled past towards the bar.

Sgorio pundits talking pêl-droed

The draw for the next round was going to happen after the game. There was a large fishbowl ready for the occasion.

Ready for the draw

The Welsh Cup itself, meanwhile, was safely out of reach, if not out of sight, behind the bar.

Welsh Cup

We managed to get a cup of coffee and Conn even made it to the restroom during half time. We made our way back outside just as the players were arriving back on the field and the kids half-time kickabout was finishing.

Back for half time

TNS scored two more in the second half to finish as comfortable 5-2 winners. Their fourth goal was pretty good. They had more chances, and Barry could have got at least one back if their finishing had been better. All in all, it was quite a good game, played more on the floor than you'd think, lots of pass-and-move link-up play and played at pace. A good advert for Welsh football and a very enjoyable evening out.

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