Cardiff City Ladies U16's 1 - 2 Barry Town Ladies U16's
Our second home game of the season saw our girls take on the League and Cup Champions from Barry Town. After an opening day defeat, the team were ready to take up the challenge and what followed was an excellent game of football from two quality teams.
From the outset, it was clear that Cardiff were up for the Cup winners. The midfield of Freya, Chrys, Katy Trotman and Alissa snapped straight into gear which meant a fast and determined start in which the front pairing of Katy Williams and Erin were prominent. We have often started slowly against Barry Town but not on this occasion, so when Barry threatened, the back four plus Talia, our keeper, were all equal to the challenge.
The game was fairly even to begin with. Barry enjoyed a fair amount of possession without really getting near our goal. This was partly because the midfield were working hard but also because the back four dropped a little deeper than last week thereby allowing better cohesion between them and the keeper. Talia’s positional play has improved immeasurably over the summer and she was quickly off her line when needed, thereby allowing the back four to have the confidence to hold their line. It really was an excellent start to the game from everyone on the pitch.
After a few long range efforts from Chrys and from Erin, Katy W ran onto an excellent through ball from Katy T to finish confidently and Cardiff took the lead in the game. This was just reward for Katy W who had seen a few efforts saved by the opposition keeper beforehand.
With Alissa covering acres of ground and with the back four of Lauren, Carys, Meg and Eloise marshalling the Barry attack effectively, it took a powerful run down our right to unlock our defence for the equaliser. Despite Talia’s best efforts, the ball into the box found their striker who stabbed home the equaliser. Barry had always been looking to counter attack and whilst it was a little hard on our girls to be hauled level, it simply reflected what an excellent game this had turned out to be. Half time came with the scores remaining at 1-1. Both teams headed off for a well-earned breather.
The second half started in the same manner as the first with Erin and Katy W hassling the opposition defence, both having shots saved as we dominated early exchanges. There were so many good things on show, it’s proven impossible to summarise them all. In midfield Freya and Katy T held sway with determination and skill. Down the left, Alissa and Erin were combining effectively to cause mayhem down their right hand side. Chrys on our right had a fabulous game combining with Katy W, who ran her heart out through the game.
Forward attacking play of course cannot happen without a solid foundation and the determination and positional play of Lauren and Carys at the back were vital. Eloise and Meg were quite simply outstanding, barely missing a tackle in the whole of the second period and negating opposition forward runs. How we didn’t add to the scoreline in the second half is a mystery as physically we were bossing the game with enthusiasm and energy yet it was against the run of play that Barry took the lead. A stabbed effort rolled agonisingly into the bottom corner of the net to put our girls 2-1 down with time running out.
From that point onward it was virtually all one way as attack after attack on the Barry goal saw shots either roll the wrong side of the post or in Erin’s case, actually striking the post and rolling to safety. Further shots from Freya, Katy W and Katy T were either well saved or went wide so when the referee blew the whistle for full time, it felt very much like the better team had lost the game.
Despite the result, the manner of the performance and the unity of the team meant that Cardiff Ladies were the ones walking back to the changing rooms with a spring in their step, parents and players alike buoyed by arguably the best performance in recent years. The fact that they didn’t get the result they deserved was partly down to back luck and partly down to the fact that Barry are a quality team who always threatened throughout the game and who took their chances.
Congratulations therefore to all players who took to the pitch and for a game played in excellent spirit. It was good also to see Cherry take to the field for a short time too as she returns from injury.
Whilst we can all enjoy the game and bemoan the eventual result, the final footnote to this report goes to the fund raising “Bacon butty van” that arrived with the visitors. They were raising funds for one of their players’ sisters’ cancer treatment – a cause we all supported, buying welcome food and drink during and after the game.
Needless to say all involved with the Under 16’s send our best wishes for a speedy recovery to the family. The game certainly graced the occasion and we look forward to the return fixture.