FIFA BIGWIGS DROP IN ON JENNER
FIFA president Sepp Blatter wished to see what all the fuss had been about. So the most powerful man in world football, along with Uefa general secretary, Leonard Johnansson and other grandees of the game, joined the fans at Jenner Park to sample the wares offered by the League of Wales.
As a break from the negotiations and junketings of the International Board, he doubtless enjoyed an entertaining match, but his fellow delegates may have derived more satisfaction from a game which offered credibility to their meeting agenda.
Too often shirt-tugging and obstruction wen unpunished, and proponents of the two-referee system will have felt that the players were making their point for them.
TNS gave Darren Ryan the captaincy for the day on his return to his old stalking-ground, and he showed that if none of his skills had diminished, neither had his inability to remain upright on the fringes of the penalty area.
Still, there was nothing untoward about the free-kick awarded when he was bowled over by Paul Mitchell in the 10th minute. The Barry defender earned a caution and was fortunate to escape greater shame when Ricky Evans fairly rattled the crossbar from the restart. Evans's powerful shooting was in evidence on the half-hour when he strode on to Ryan's pass to hit a drive which Dave Wells somehow pushed over the bar.
In between, the game had been no less eventful. TNS employed a tactic common to all visitors to Barry, packing the midfield and pulling all men behind the ball when not in possession.
However, their variation was that they brought speed and numbers to their counter-attack. So, although they endured difficult moments, notably when Eifion Williams waltzed through their defence, only to see his cross deflected by 'keeper Andy Mulliner sufficiently for Dewi Parry to clear from under Darren Davies's nose, they also kept the home defence honest with confident forward surges.
After Evans's free-kick, they struck the woodwork again when Gareth Wilson's spectacular overhead kick bounced off the bar.
It was almost a perverse act when Barry took the lead after 35 minutes, but it was also a goal of stunning athleticism. Danny Carter's cross from the left flank was drifiting away from goal when Lee Barrow threw himself towards it and contrived to head it in the reverse direction into the roof of the net.
It did not have the spectacular power which wins monthly awards, but the league will surely not see a better goal this season.
Barry's second goal descended from the sublime to the faintly ridiculous. Richard Jones, who had been their most potent attacker, flicked a cross over his head into the goalmouth where Williams paused to strike, but before the league's top scorer could put boot to ball, defender Mick Gallagher tried to intercept, only to stab the ball into his own net.