This was quite simply an extraordinary match full of goals, excitement and added time drama as the rivalries between Ton Pentre and Barry Town United were finally rekindled at Jenner Park.
Ton Pentre and Barry Town were due to meet each other at the end of the 2012/13 season in a double-header, however, the matches never went ahead due to the Jenner Park club having to deal with off-field turmoil when their then owner pulled the club out of the Welsh League with two matches remaining to the season – both against the Bulldogs. As a result, their Division One record was expunged.
Following a legal challenge by the Barry Town Supporters Committee, the club were eventually reinstated to the Welsh League but in Division Three. However, following successive promotions they finally returned to Division One for the 2015/16 season and this match was the first meeting between the clubs since their doomed double-header.
This was therefore, a very significant match and it was fitting that this classic fixture between Barry Town United and Ton Pentre ended up being an eight goal thriller.
Both teams looked dangerous on the attack in this match but it was Barry Town United who seized the initiative in 10th minute when Jordan Cotterill ran through the defence to slot the ball into the Bulldogs net for 1-0.
Eight minutes later it appeared as though Rob Blatchford was set to score an equaliser for Ton Pentre when his curled shot was going into the top left hand corner of the goal, however, Daniel Bradley somehow got to the ball and tipped it over the bar.
This was an action-packed encounter and on the half hour mark, after the Barry fans celebrated a shot into the side netting thinking it was a goal, Tom Billing drifted through the 18-yard box and saw his shot saved by a fine Bradley save.
Less than a minute later Billing was on the attack again but was fouled a few yards away from the 18-yard box, but the ball broke free to Leon Jacka as the referee excellently played advantage. Jacka hit a powerful shot that neatly nestled in the bottom right-hand corner of the goal. It was a super strike for 1-1.
The Bulldogs appeared to be getting on top in this game by putting Barry on the back foot, however, Ton Pentre allowed them the opportunity to regain the lead from a corner kick in the 38th minute. As the ball was crossed into the box, Callum Sainty was allowed a free header to make it 2-1 to Barry Town United.
With a minute of the half remaining, the excellent Sam Small did well to release Billing one-on-one with Bradley. The Bulldogs striker calmly side-footed the ball into the goal for 2-2.
Barely a minute of the second half had been played when Ton Pentre took a 3-2 lead as Jacka launched another screamer off his boot and high into the net, leaving Bradley flat footed. The goal shook Barry and it took the Vale of Glamorgan outfit some time before they settled back into a rhythm.
Whilst on top, the Bulldogs should have increased their lead further when Jacka released Small in the box to go one-on-one with the Barry goalkeeper. On this occasion, Bradley pulled off a fine save to deny the Ton Pentre striker.
Barry were beginning to impress again and really should have levelled in the 61st minute as they hit the crossbar after the Bulldogs defence lost their concentration.
As the match approached the 90th minute, Barry were putting Ton Pentre under some considerable pressure but the Bulldogs seemed determined to withstand it, however, the referee awarded a dramatic penalty after Aaron Jewell was judged to have fouled in the box.
Michael Hartley stepped up for Barry and after sending Jarrad Howells the wrong way in the Ton Pentre goals he made it 3-3.
As if that late equaliser wasn’t dramatic enough, Ton Pentre immediately went on the offensive and from the edge of the 18-yard box Andre Griffiths hit a sweet strike that gave the Bulldogs a 4-3 lead.
It was so late in the game that it had to be the winning goal, however, there was another twist in this frantic match as Kareem Leigh levelled matters at 4-4 deep into added time.
It was an unbelievable match.
Ton Pentre are on the road again for their next match as they go to Briton Ferry Llansawel on Saturday, 20 February. The match kicks off at 2.00pm.