Tag: JD Cymru Premier

George Ratcliffe: “I aim to go to the top”

While the Wales senior team have two crucial Euro 2020 qualifiers this week, there is also an important fixture for the Under-21 side, as they face Moldova in qualification for the 2021 European Championships.

Lining up in goal for Paul Bodin’s side will be Barry Town United goalkeeper George Ratcliffe, on loan from Cardiff City. “It feels amazing,” the 19-year-old said when asked about being named in the squad. “I’m just glad that they’re seeing how well I’m doing with my club. Getting selected is an honour, as always.”

Having earned 11 caps for the Under-19 side, Ratcliffe made his debut for the Under-21s in June before featuring in both of their qualifying games against Belgium and Germany in September. “It’s been challenging,” he said. “I’ve made the step up from the Under 19s to the Under 21s now, so it’s a challenge, but I’m happy.”

Ratcliffe joined Barry in June, just as the club was preparing for the UEFA Europa League preliminary round tie against Cliftonville. It gave the goalkeeper the chance to bond with his new teammates straight away, as he explains: “It was a bit strange. I was a new boy and I hadn’t even trained, but I had to go away with the boys for the friendly out in Northern Ireland and then the European games. Obviously I didn’t play, but it was just about getting used to the team and gelling with the boys.”

Now, after four months at the club, Ratcliffe is loving life at Jenner Park. “It’s been amazing really,” he said. “I’ve settled in really well, getting to know the boys has been really good. I knew Gav before I came here so I had a relationship with him, and the same with Kends [Lee Kendall, goalkeeping coach] because he was my goalkeeping coach at Cardiff when I was younger. I think I’ve performed pretty well with the games I’ve had and enjoyed it.”

He has certainly impressed in his seven games so far, helping Barry hold the joint best defensive record in the JD Cymru Premier with three clean sheets. But Ratcliffe was keen to applaud those in front of him first and foremost: “I feel like the defence has done very well. They’ve been very organised and defended as well as they could, throwing their bodies on the line when they needed to. I’ve had to pull out a few saves here and there, but I haven’t had much to do to be honest, so most of the credit goes to the defence.”

The goalkeeper was also quick to praise the efforts of supporters so far this season: “They’ve been amazing. Home and away. Every away game feels like a home game because they’re so loud. They’ve been class to be fair, definitely the loudest fans in the league, I know that.”

One of Ratcliffe’s best performances so far came in the 1-0 win over The New Saints, as he made a number of impressive saves to keep out the perennial champions. “It was amazing,” he said of the victory at Park Hall. “I don’t really know the league as well as everyone else, but the way we talked about TNS before the game, I thought if we get a win then I’d be happy, never mind a clean sheet. So to come out with a clean sheet and a 1-0 win, there was no better result.”

Ratcliffe is one of a number of young players currently playing key roles at the club and spoke about playing senior football for the first time: “It’s a lot different to what I had when I was playing at Cardiff as I was playing Under 18s a lot. It’s a lot more physical, such as when you come out for crosses, that’s what I’d say is the biggest difference.

“It’s not so much quicker or more technical, but you’ve got to be more sensible with your decisions because every game is important. You have to be careful and try not to make any mistakes or do anything stupid.”

Last season, Ratcliffe was named as Cardiff City’s Academy Player of the Year after helping the Bluebirds’ Under-18 side win the Professional Development League 2 South title for the first time. Speaking about winning the award, he said: “To be honest I didn’t quite expect it. We won the league, so obviously you’d expect one of our strikers to get it. So when they did say that I’d won it I was surprised, but I felt like I had a good season, I was solid throughout and consistent in my performances. I was really happy.”

Despite the accolade coming as a surprise to the teenager, it showed him that next on the agenda should be securing experience in senior football, as he explains: “I feel like I needed to make the step up to senior football. Whether I was ready or not was irrelevant.

“I want to go right to the top, and I know you can’t just jump there straight away. You need to build your way up, and I feel like this was the right time to make the first step.”

Ratcliffe is clearly a determined individual, with his sights set firmly on accomplishing all he can in football: “I’ve been at Cardiff since I was eight, and my first aim is definitely to break into the first team. I aim to go to the top really, and you try not to settle for anything else.”

It’s an ambitious goal, but one you would not bet against Ratcliffe achieving.

Penybont fixture postponed

Barry Town United can confirm that our JD Cymru Premier fixture with Penybont on Saturday 12th of October has been postponed.

We are delighted that Sion Spence has joined George Ratcliffe in being called up for the Wales Under-21 squad against Moldova, but with Mo Touray on standby for the game as well, the club have invoked a rule that allows us to postpone a league fixture.

The decision was also made following injuries in our win over Newtown on Saturday, which added to the number of players already sidelined.

Gavin Chesterfield said: “Whilst I know supporters will be disappointed with the postponement of the game, it is fantastic to see both George and Sion selected for international duty. Both have made really good starts to their loan season with us and I’m delighted for them. It’s fantastic also to see FAW staff continuing to look at young players doing well in the JD Cymru Premier.”

The club apologise for any inconvenience caused, and a date for the rearranged fixture will be announced in due course.

Newtown AFC vs Barry Town United | JD Cymru Premier Preview

It’s a second away game in a row for Barry Town United this afternoon, as we travel to face Newtown AFC in the JD Cymru Premier (kick-off 2:30pm).

Gavin Chesterfield’s side will be aiming to build on last week’s superb 1-0 win over reigning champions TNS, secured by Evan Press’s thunderbolt in the 24th minute. The victory extended our lead at the top of the Cymru Premier table to four points, whilst also maintaining our unbeaten start to the season and 100% away record.

That accomplishment will be put to the test this afternoon though, as Newtown beat Barry in three of the four meetings between the two sides last season – including 2-0 and 3-0 triumphs at today’s venue, Latham Park. There was however a 4-1 victory for Barry at Jenner Park last December, which supporters will remember more fondly, with goals from Macauley Southam-Hales, Drew Fahiya, Luke Cooper and Jordan Cotterill.

Going into today’s meeting, Newtown sit seventh in the Cymru Premier table, having won two, drawn three and lost three of their eight games so far. Last weekend they were defeated 1-0 by Caernarfon Town at The Oval. Chris Hughes’s side are the lowest scorers in the division but do have the fourth best defence, so don’t expect many goals this afternoon – especially considering there hasn’t been more than one in any of Barry’s last five fixtures!

Troy Greening, Jonathan Hood, Robbie Patten and Callum Sainty all remain unavailable due to injury today, although Patten has returned to light training. Jordan Cotterill is still suspended.

Previewing today’s match, Gavin Chesterfield said:

“Newtown have got a really good record at home, they’re a really well coached team and we’ve had some good games against them in the past.

“It’s a really difficult challenge but a challenge we look forward to. We go there full of confidence, we’re eight games in now and five clean sheets is a really positive step and hopefully that will continue.

“The secret to all our success so far, particularly away from home, has been humility, hard work, togetherness and sticking to the game plan. If the lads keep that going, then hopefully we can get something positive.”

Tickets at Latham Park this afternoon will cost £7 for adults, £5 for OAPs, 16-18 year-olds and students, and just £1 for Under 16s.

The New Saints vs Barry Town United | JD Cymru Premier Preview

The top two in the JD Cymru Premier League go head-to-head today as Barry Town United visit The New Saints (kick-off 2:30pm).

TNS held the top spot for 24 hours last weekend as they came from 2-0 down to beat Carmarthen Town 6-2 on the Saturday, but Barry reclaimed pole position on the Sunday as Chris Hugh’s superb solo goal defeated Cefn Druids 1-0. The victory maintained our unbeaten start to the league campaign, something we’ll be hoping to continue this afternoon in addition to our 100% away record, with three wins from three on the road so far.

Of course the challenge ahead of us is a tough one, with Scott Ruscoe’s side the perennial champions of the Welsh top flight, having won the title in each of the last eight seasons. They have lost just once in the Cymru Premier so far in 2019/20 – a 3-1 defeat to Bala Town on matchday two. Since then, TNS have scored 21 goals in five league matches, with two apiece from Aeron Edwards, Greg Draper and Kurtis Byrne seeing them to victory against Carmarthen last weekend. Their most recent fixture though, a Nathaniel MG Cup clash against Bangor City on Tuesday, ended in disappointment, as they lost on penalties to the Cymru North side after a 1-1 draw in normal time.

Our last visit to Park Hall had a dramatic finish, as Jonathan Hood’s 96th minute bullet free-kick back in February secured a 2-2 draw against a TNS side who had won six league games in a row without conceding a goal beforehand. Kayne McLaggon had earlier pulled a goal back from the penalty spot after we went two goals behind. The Oswestry-based side won the other three league meetings between the two clubs last season, as well as beating us in the Welsh Cup semi-finals.

Ahead of this afternoon’s game, Gavin Chesterfield’s attacking options have been boosted by the expected returns of both Jack Compton and Keyon Reffell from injury. Troy Greening and Robbie Patten remain sidelined, while Callum Sainty was stretchered off against Cefn Druids last week and is also unavailable. Jordan Cotterill is suspended.

Tickets at Park Hall for this game will cost £8 for adults, £4 for concessions and £1 for juniors.

Barry Town United vs Cefn Druids | JD Cymru Premier Preview

Barry Town United are back at Jenner Park this afternoon, with Cefn Druids the visitors in the final JD Cymru Premier fixture of the weekend (kick-off 2:30pm).

Kayne McLaggon scored his fifth goal of the season last weekend to secure a 1-0 win over Airbus UK, maintaining our 100% away record in the league and taking us top of the table in the process. However, both TNS and Cardiff Met won yesterday afternoon against Carmarthen Town and Bala Town respectively, meaning we will begin today in third place with the chance to go back to the summit with victory.

Cefn Druids meanwhile have won just once in six games so far this campaign – a 3-1 victory over Airbus on matchday two. Last weekend they played out a thrilling 3-3 draw with Carmarthen, with Ramirez Howarth grabbing three sensational goals for Huw Griffiths’s side as they led twice against the Old Gold but couldn’t find a way to come out on top. They have also got credible draws at Newtown and Caernarfon this season, so there’s no doubt today will be a tough test.

Barry won in dramatic fashion when Druids visited Jenner Park last season, as Mo Touray scored in the 92nd minute to secure a 2-1 victory. Gavin Chesterfield’s side had previously trailed before Jordan Cotterill’s equaliser. Cotterill then got a hat-trick in the reverse fixture at The Rock, as Touray netted again along with Kayne McLaggon in a 5-2 triumph.

Captain Cotterill unfortunately remains unavailable for today’s fixture, but the club have confirmed that we will appeal the six-month suspension he has been handed by the FAW. Meanwhile, Troy Greening, Robbie Patten, Keyon Reffell are unavailable because of injury. In more positive news, Jack Compton is back in training.

Speaking ahead of the game this week, Gavin Chesterfield said:

“I’m delighted with the start. If the season ended now, I’d be over the moon, but there is still a long way to go. We’ve got another tough game against Druids to look forward to.

“I’m really happy with the lads and their application, but we are nowhere near hitting our straps, there is so much more to come. We are gradually getting better and gradually getting stronger.”

Tickets at Jenner Park this afternoon will cost £8 for adults, £5 for concessions and £3 for kids.

Airbus UK vs Barry Town United | JD Cymru Premier Preview

Barry Town United face Airbus UK Broughton for the very first time this afternoon in the JD Cymru Premier (2:30pm kick-off).

Our 0-0 draw with Caernarfon Town last weekend, a second clean sheet in a row, maintained our unbeaten start to the league season and kept us at the top of the table. However TNS’s 2-1 win over Newtown on Tuesday and Connah’s Quay Nomads’s 4-1 victory against Aberystwyth last night means we will start today’s game at The Airfield in third place.

Airbus meanwhile are currently in 10th position, having collected their first points of the campaign last weekend in a 2-1 win over Aberystwyth. It had previously been a difficult start to life back in the top-flight for The Wingmakers with four straight defeats.

It follows on from a hugely successful 2018/19 season for Steve O’Shaughnessy’s side, as they won both the Cymru Alliance and the Cymru Alliance League Cup. Their resulting promotion ended a two year stay in the second tier after relegation in 2017, the same year Barry were promoted back to the Welsh Premier League. It was the second time the two clubs had bypassed each other in the league system, following Barry’s relegation and Airbus’s promotion in 2004.

It was sadly confirmed yesterday that Troy Greening will miss the rest of the season with an ACL injury. We wish Troy all the best with his surgery and rehabilitation.

Fellow midfielders Robbie Patten and Jordan Cotterill also remain out through injury and suspension respectively. In more positive news, Callum Sainty is fit to return. George Ratcliffe will also return to the squad following his time with the Wales Under-21 side.

Speaking ahead of today’s game, Gavin Chesterfield said:

“We’re prepared well. Airbus got their first win against Aberystwyth last weekend and they’ve got some very talented, experienced players in the group. I feel as if before the season started they strengthened well.

“Looking at the manager’s comments, their performances have probably been better than their results so I’m under no illusions it’s going to be a real tough game. But it’s a game we look forward to.”

Barry Town United vs Caernarfon Town | JD Cymru Premier Preview

Barry Town United host Caernarfon Town in the JD Cymru Premier this afternoon (2:30pm kick-off) hoping to making it five games unbeaten.  

We are one of just three teams yet to lose in the league this season, and last weekend’s 1-0 win over Carmarthen sent us to the top of the table. Clayton Green’s 69th minute strike was the difference between the two sides at Richmond Park as Cardiff City loanee George Ratcliffe picked up his first clean sheet in the Barry goal.

Ratcliffe is away with the Welsh Under-21 side this week, meaning there is a return between the sticks for Mike Lewis, who will make his first appearance of the season following time on the sidelines with injury. New signings Sion Spence and Mo Touray could also feature after completing loan moves from Cardiff City and Newport County respectively on deadline day. Unfortunately we are still without Jordan Cotterill due to suspension and Troy Greening through injury. Chris Hugh is back in training.

Today’s opponents Caernarfon currently sit eighth in the JD Cymru Premier, having claimed their first victory of the season last Friday night against Airbus. The Cofis twice trailed against the newly-promoted side but substitute Jamie Breese scored in the 87th minute after being played through by a sublime Gareth Evans pass to win the game 3-2. It followed on from a 1-0 defeat to TNS in their opening fixture and draws with Connah’s Quay Nomads and Cefn Druids.

Sean Eardley’s team have Barry to thank for their fourth place finish last season, as Kayne McLaggon’s penalty in stoppage time against Newtown in the final game meant the Cofis went above the Robins on goal difference. It completed an excellent first season back in the top-flight for Caernarfon, who had endured a nine year exodus before winning the Cymru Alliance in 2018.

In the four meetings between the two teams in 2018/19, Gavin Chesterfield’s side came out on top on three occasions. The 4-0 win at Jenner Park in phase two was our biggest victory of the entire campaign, while Marcus Jones’s 88th minute winner at The Oval was one of the most memorable moments of phase one.

Tickets at Jenner Park this afternoon will cost £8 for adults, £5 for concessions and £3 for kids. It should be a dry afternoon in Barry, with light cloud and a gentle breeze.

Mo Touray Returns To Barry Town United

It’s official! Mo Touray is a Barry Town United player once again, having signed on a season long loan from Newport County.

Mo returns to Jenner Park following a successful loan spell last season, in which he scored 14 goals in all competitions and won a hat-trick of awards at the end of the campaign – Supporters’ Player of the Year, Manager’s Young Player of the Year and the ‘Champagne Moment’ for his goal at Bala Town that put us 3-2 ahead in the game to secure European qualification. In addition, he was named as the Welsh Premier League’s Young Player of the Year and included as a ‘substitute’ in the Team of the Season.

Born in Gambia, Touray has been capped at Under 19 and Under 21 level by Wales, and scored for the latter against Switzerland last October. Prior to his time at Barry, the striker also spent time on loan at Merthyr Town and on trial at Leicester City. He has made one senior appearance for Newport, coming off the bench against Carlisle United in League Two in May 2018. He spent pre-season this summer in the first team set-up at Rodney Parade, before joining National League side Torquay United on a one-month loan at the start of August.

Following the conclusion of that deal, the 20-year-old now links back up with Gavin Chesterfield’s squad, which he was a hugely popular part of last season.

Having completed the signing, Chesterfield commented:

“The opportunity to bring Mo back to the club came around quite late in the window but it was one we could not turn down. It’s no secret that Mo had a good season with us last year and that he was very well liked by all at the club. As such I’m delighted to be working with him again. My thanks to the board for their support and Mike Flynn and Newport County for their continued trust in us.”

Sion Spence Signs For Barry Town United On Loan

Barry Town United are delighted to announce the signing of 18-year-old Sion Spence on loan from Cardiff City.

The Barry-born midfielder arrives at Jenner Park for his first taste of senior football after scoring 11 goals in 15 appearances last season to help the Bluebirds’ Under-18 side win the PDL2 South title for the first time.

Spence has been with Cardiff City since the age of seven, and made his debut for the club’s Under-23 team at the age of just 16. In 2017/18, his first season as an Under-18 apprentice, the youngster scored 21 times to win the Academy Player of the Year award.

Described as “a clever midfield player” that is “known for his determination and ability to score a variety of goals”, Spence has also been capped eight times by the Wales Under-19 side, netting twice.

Commenting on the signing, Gavin Chesterfield said:

“Sion is someone I’ve worked with at international level and is a footballer that our supporters will enjoy watching. He’s rated highly at Cardiff City and it is hoped that this loan will stimulate his development further. Naturally I’m looking forward to working with Sion again and we thank Cardiff City for their trust.”

Carmarthen Town vs Barry Town United | JD Cymru Premier Preview

Barry Town United are aiming to finish August unbeaten as they travel to Carmarthen Town on matchday four of the JD Cymru Premier tonight (7:45pm kick-off).

Gavin Chesterfield’s side remain second in the table following Monday’s 2-2 draw with Bala Town, who are top of the league on away goals scored. We twice led against the Lakesiders at Jenner Park through Drew Fahiya and Kayne McLaggon, but goals from Lassana Mendes and Stuart Jones meant the game finished all square.

Carmarthen’s Bank Holiday fixture also ended level, as they drew 1-1 away to last season’s runners-up Connah’s Quay Nomads. Liam Thomas scored his second goal of the season to put the Old Gold in front, but Callum Morris bundled home to equalise 20 minutes later. It was Carmarthen’s first point of the new season, following defeats to Aberystwyth Town (3-2) and Newtown (2-1) in their opening two matches.

Barry won both encounters with Neil Smothers’s side last season, including a thrilling 3-2 victory at tonight’s venue, Richmond Park, thanks to goals from Jon Hood, Chris Hugh and a Kayne McLaggon penalty. Hugh was also on the scoresheet when the two sides had met at Jenner Park two months earlier – his 49th minute strike proving the difference in a 1-0 win.

The good news ahead of tonight’s match is that Jon Hood returns from suspension, hoping to add to his wonder strike against Penybont in the opening game. Unfortunately Jordan Cotterill’s ban continues, while Mike Lewis and Troy Greening remain unavailable through injury.

Looking ahead to the trip west, Gavin Chesterfield said:

“It’ll be a tough game as always at Richmond Park, they’re coming off the back of a good point away at Connah’s Quay. We know they’ll be organised, we know that they’ve added some players over the summer that bring a different edge to their team. But then again, so have we. It’s going to be a difficult challenge, but it’s a game we look forward to and a challenge we embrace.”

Ticket prices for tonight’s game are £7 for adults, £5 for concessions and £1 for under-11s. We’re expecting a dry evening at Richmond Park with light cloud and a fresh breeze.