Two old enemies to collide at Jenner Park on Friday evening

Barry Town United will meet The New Saints at Jenner Park on Friday evening where the two most successful teams in the Welsh leagues will meet in the League for the first time in 13-years.

The two met earlier this year at Cardiff Metropolitan’s Cyncoed Campus, The New Saints prevailing eventually 4-0 in the Nathaniel MG Cup final.

However, this is a game on a much bigger scale for both sides. Barry Town United may not even be a club and just years ago their fate seemed sealed, but now they’re back, fighting with the big boys again. What a fairytale.

The visitors to Jenner Park saw an unbelievable winning run last season, beating Johan Cruyff’s Ajax 44-year record in the process but this season has already been so different to last already, with The New Saints suffering a shock opening day defeat to Bangor City, losing 5-2.

The New Saints really struggled against Gary Taylor-Fletcher’s side, especially defensively, where they were so solid last season under Craig Harrison, who has since been captured by National League outfit Hartlepool United.

However, it must be noted, The New Saints were much improved in their second game of the season as Wes Fletcher starred, scoring twice in a 3-0 win over Bala Town in front of the sgorio cameras.

Gavin Chesterfield’s side however slumped to their first defeat in their Welsh Premier League campaign, albeit in controversial circumstances against fellow newcomers Prestatyn Town, losing 1-0 after Mike Parker struck deep into injury time for the hosts.

The game on Friday evening has a lot riding on it, there is little doubt about that. The last time these two sides met in the Welsh Premier League at Jenner Park, the fans were treated to a five-goal thriller, which saw The New Saints prevail on that particular day, winning 3-2.

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A lot has changed since then and it can even be argued a lot has changed since the Nathaniel MG Cup final last season. There is little pressure on Gavin Chesterfield’s side, but even without Craig Harrison, there is still huge expectations for The New Saints to excel as they bid for an eighth straight Welsh Premier League title.

Many will argue that the Welsh Premier League is wide open this season. The Nomads could certainly pose a threat to The New Saints but after Bala Town were blown away by Ruscoe’s side, but who would dare bet against them? They’re after all a team of the highest quality, there is little doubt about that.

However, Barry Town United, who have endured their fair shares of ups and downs over the last few seasons, going from ceasing to exist to being promoted to the Welsh Premier League in just a few seasons and its about continuing to build for them at this present time and under the influence of Gavin Chesterfield and the way the club is being run, the future can only be bright for the Vale of Glamorgan outfit.

Barry themselves are a team who have endured a nostalgia past. They went through a spell of domination from 1995 right through to 2003 where they won seven Welsh Premier League titles on a bounce and they certainly aren’t here just to make up the numbers.

Other than The New Saints winning the Welsh Premier League a record 11 times, the next most successful team are Barry Town United on seven Welsh Premier League titles. For them at the moment its about progress but one day, they will hope to relive the glory days which saw them win seven Welsh Premier League titles on the bounce.

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The New Saints are the team to beat these days, but when Friday comes, all the pressure will be on the visitors in what is set to be an intriguing clash when two famous enemies go head-to-head at Jenner Park on Friday evening.

(Featured image: SameOldSmith)

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