St Athan 0-1 Barry Athletic
After a summer of transition and a productive preseason St Athan welcomed the first game of the season on the green, green grass of home.
Saints saw four high profile departures in the summer but recruited well and brought in five signings. One of which keeper Rob West cruelly saw his wrist badly broken in preseason. Saints handed competitive debuts to the silent assassin Ryan John and weird video posting Kieran Ashton.
With seven teams in the Premier Division this season playing each other three times, all the teams know it will be a combative affair and both sides showed it in these opening exchanges.
Both sides had half chances early on with Saints deflected effort well saved and Athletic’s free kick just wide.
Athletic saw the games first clear change but keeper come striker come keeper again Paul Lucas saved well, before St Athan carved open the games best opportunity.
Club legend and model Aaron Rogers’ clever flick pass put captain fantastic Jordan Mortimore in the clear, the skipper raced away but the Athletic keeper made an excellent save one on one.
St Athan finished the half with the better chances. Cross country runner Karl Steel put a cross wide after excellent work by wily left back Josh Harfoot down the flank, Ashton saw his shot narrowly wide and Mortimore saw a low drive saved by the keepers leg.
The second half saw a swing in momentum as Athletic got a firm foot hold in the game.
Athletic saw two chance wide but finally the away side made the break through. The number 9 got on the end of a low pass and saw a glimmer of the goal past centre half Brad Young and got a quick shot off which squirmed past Lucas in goal.
Saints were rocked and Athletic looked to double their lead and saw a header over the bar and then Lucas was forced into a finger tip save.
The Athletic’s number 9 was causing problems and he drifted in from the right but pulled his left footed shot inches wide.
Saints rallied and Mortimore saw an effort just off target. St Athan looked desperately for the equaliser but Athletic defended with their lives as Saints couldn’t get a clear site on goal.
The finale of the game ebbed and flowed back and fore as St Athan pushed to level and Athletic looked to break on the counter attack to wrap up the points but neither could convert.
Finally the full time whistle sounded and Athletic celebrated wildly after a hard fought three points were secured and leave St Athan bitterly disappointed.
Despite the defeat, Saints centre half partnership of Brad Young, broken nose and all, and Jamie Robinson both had fine games.
St Athan now face the long and winding road to Barry next weekend to play the much fancied, newly promoted Barry Belgrade as they look to get their season on track.
St Athan: Lucas, Pugh, Harfoot, Young, Robinson, Laing, Johm, Steel, Rogers, Ashton, Mortimore.