On Saturday 11 September, in front of a lively Jenner Park crowd, we celebrated Gavin Chesterfield’s record-breaking 491stgame in charge of the Town with a 1-0 win against the reigning league champions Connah’s Quay Nomads.
Hours before kick-off, supporters began to arrive at the ground to celebrate the achievements of Gavin. When 14:30 struck and the referee blew his whistle to commence the match, Jenner Park was host to over 1200 fans who supported the team tremendously throughout the game.
Connah’s Quay began the game brightly and were awarded a soft penalty in the sixth minute after a late Clayton Green challenge in the box. However, Barry goalkeeper Mike Lewis denied Callum Morris from the penalty spot with a terrific save low to his right which was met with a roar from the home supporters.
As the game progressed, the home side’s presence in the final-third began to grow. In the 25th minute, after a Luke Cummings long-throw into the Nomads area, Rhys Kavanagh latched onto a second-ball and fired a volley into the bottom corner of the net to put the Town 1-0 up. The cheer of the sizeable Jenner Park crowd when the ball hit the net was something we’ve all missed over the last 2 years!
Both sides began the second-half positively, Barry looking for that all-important second goal and the visitors searching for an equaliser. What was arguably the chance of the half fell to Nomads as striker Byron Junior Harrison found himself one-on-one but, on his weak left foot, saw his shot sail over the Barry crossbar.
In the 56th minute, in what was arguably a game-changing moment, goalscorer Rhys Kavanagh was hacked down by Nomads defender John Disney, denying Kavanagh the chance to unleash an attack on goal and prompting the referee to dismiss Disney for a straight red card.
However, the away-side fought valiantly after going down to 10 men and continued to push for the equaliser through a number of balls into the Barry box. Nevertheless, Barry looked dangerous on the counter-attack. In particular, in stoppage time, after some impressive work by both Evan Press and Kavanagh on the right-wing, substitute Brandon Griffiths found himself in space in the box and his subsequent shot looked certain for the net until a last-ditch block deflected the ball onto the crossbar.
Ultimately, we were able to see out the game without reply and mark Gavin Chesterfield’s record-breaking match with an outstanding 1-0 victory. Gavin spoke of being ‘immensely proud’ of his achievements in his post-match interview and both the support of the crowd and performance of the players were only fitting to celebrate a momentous occasion for Gavin and the club.