Adran Premier Report | Cardiff City 1-0 Barry Town United
City finished their calendar year with a dramatic 1–0 victory over Barry Town United.
With the contest locked at 0-0 heading into the final proceedings, substitute Megan Saunders netted an 89th minute winner for the Bluebirds in extremely tough weather conditions at Cardiff International Sports Campus on Sunday afternoon.
Head coach Iain Darbyshire made three changes to the side that defeated Abergavenny Women last time out, with Ffion Price, Sophie Norman and Danielle Green coming into the starting XI.
City started brightly and created early chances, as striker Phoebie Poole raced through, but fired just wide of the post. In another positive attack, Rhianne Oakley drove forward and forced a save out of goalkeeper Erin Brennan. From the resulting corner, the ball came out to Green on the edge of the box, whose powerful effort at goal was also saved by the Linnets’ keeper.
The Bluebirds continued to create chances, with midfielder Danielle Broadhurst beating the offside trap and lifting the ball over the goalkeeper, only for her effort to drop just wide. With Poole also played through, the City attacker was denied by a fine save from Brennan.
Shortly before the break, wing-back Green cut inside and fired a great strike at goal, which Brennan kept out to ensure the half-time score was goalless. It was a confident display from the Bluebirds, but they couldn't find a breakthrough.
As City pushed forward in search of an opener after the restart, Oakley drove down the right, but her dangerous low delivery into the box just evaded Poole. As the Bluebirds’ front two combined once more, a brilliant cross from Oakley found Poole in the area, but her effort at goal was just wide.
With just 15 minutes remaining, City side forced a huge chance through tireless midfielder Broadhurst. She rounded goalkeeper Brennan, before firing just past the post. As the hosts continued to apply pressure, defenders Hannah Power and Megan Bowen both went close with efforts from distance.
It felt like it might not be City's day at Cardiff International Sports Campus. But, despite conditions worsening, the Bluebirds were rewarded for their persistence, breaking the deadlock in the 89th minute. Substitute Saunders found space in the box and fired City into the lead, which proved to be the crucial winning goal.
FINAL SCORE: CARDIFF CITY 1–0 BARRY TOWN UNITED
Cardiff City: Chamberlain, Price, Power, S Walsh ©, Bowen, Green, Norman (Billingham 60’), Watkins (Saunders 77’), Broadhurst, Poole, Oakley (Hughes 90+6'). Subs not used: Owen, Major.
Barry Town United: Brennan ©, Jenkins, Trivett (Davies 90+5’), Houghton, Olden, Pearce, Phillips (Hamed-Jones 77’), Mulenga, Fahey-Pennell (Robinson 87’), Jones, R Thomas. Subs not used: Coles, L Thomas.
“That could be one of the biggest goals of our season,” Iain Darbyshire began, speaking to cardiffcityfc.co.uk after match. “We couldn’t play any football. We were worried about the pitch being frozen, but it was fine, then the rain was that bad, it was like something out of a movie! Meg’s been working so hard and she deserved that moment. That’s why you have a squad. We kept going and kept going, we deserved the three points and got there in the end.
“We’ve got a couple of weeks off now. The girls will have their own programmes and they’ll be doing bits in the next few weeks, but we need this break now. We’ll enjoy these two weeks and come back in January ready for the second half of the season.”