Brave Barry bow out with dignity

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The Independent Online
Barry Town 3 Aberdeen 3 Aberdeen win 6-4 on aggregate

The deflowering of Scotland, or at least of the side leading the pursuit of Rangers and Celtic, was only briefly a possibility at rain-swept Jenner Park. But Barry, twice ahead on the night, departed the Uefa Cup with dignity after matching Aberdeen's internationals in almost every aspect.

Indeed, there was something embarrassing about the triumphalism of Aberdeen's fans at the end. To put their team's advance to the second round into perspective, it was achieved at the expense of a club whose next two games, at Welshpool and Ebbw Vale, are likely to be played before a total of fewer than 500 people.

Barry's performance, watched by the Wales manager Bobby Gould, reflected great credit on the much-mocked League of Wales. After seeing their early lead nullified and then overhauled by Billy Dodds, they hit back strongly to lead 3-2 with seven minutes remaining.

Aberdeen equalised immediately, and it said much for Barry's professionalism that they looked dejected as they took a lap of honour. However, their reward from six games in this season's competition may extend beyond near kudos, a minimum of pounds 200,000 having poured into the club's coffers.

Their player-manager, Gary Barnett, had speculated as to what effect a quickfire home goal might have; cats and pigeons were invoked. Barry, having survived a scare when Ian French cleared Dodds's shot off the line, duly ruffled their visitors' feathers after three and a half minutes. Chris Pike's aerial power, which troubled Aberdeen until a knee injury forced him to withdraw, set up the goal. The burly striker's header was parried by Nicky Walker into the path of Dave O'Gorman, who scored easily.

Walker redeemed himself by gathering a goal-bound header by Barnett, before two goals in 10 minutes mid-way through the first half enabled Aberdeen to plump up a four-goal cushion. On each occasion Dean Windass was the provider and Dodds the predator, two low shots taking his tally for the season to 14.

Windass, given the opportunity to settle the issue, mis-kicked badly on the hour. The reprieve spurred Barry to renewed effort, with Tony Bird wasting an equally simple chance and Richard Jones rattling Aberdeen's bar from 30 yards.

Brian Grant's trip on Darren Ryan was symptomatic of the Scots' defensive vulnerability, Ryan rising to score from the spot with 19 minutes left. When the same player's drive was spilled by Walker, who seemed intent on reviving a national stereotype, Bird tapped in to restore Barry's lead. David Rowson levelled instantly with his first senior goal, but Barnett's men could justifiably claim a moral victory.

Barry Town (4-4-2): Ovendale; Johnson, York, French, Lloyd; O'Gorman (Evans, 69), Barnett, Jones, Ryan (Huggins, 85); Bird, Pike (Griffith, h-t). Substitutes not used: Loss, Mountain (gk).

Aberdeen (4-4-2): Walker; Grant, Irvine, McKimmie, Tzvetanov; Young, Rowson, Kiriakov (Shearer, 85), Woodthorpe; Windass, Dodds. Substitutes not used: Craig, Kpedekpo, Buchan, Watt (gk).

Referee: L Michel (Slovakia).

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