The Exiles suffered their first defeat of pre-season with a 2-0 loss at Barry Town United.
Kayne McLaggan scored both of Barry’s goals before half-time, in a game where Barry Town’s clinicality really stood out.
Mike Flynn elected to name a mixture of players in the starting team. First teamers Aaron Williams, Tom Owen-Evans and Jazzi Barnum-Bobb were joined in the team by scholars Evan Press and Jay Foulston, with the remaining players made up by trialists.
And Press would have to be alert to prevent an opener for Barry Town United in the opening 100 seconds, cutting out a decent looking Drew Fahiya cross.
But that would just be a warning sign to County as the home side took the lead on 4 minutes. This time Kayne McLaggan tapped home from another inviting delivery into the area – an early goal on what happened to be McLaggan’s home debut.
County looked to hit-back in the 9th minute as they had their first opportunity, but Trialist 5 didn’t really test the goalkeeper with his 20-yard strike.
Tyrrell Webbe then tried his effort for Barry Town United goal of the season moments later but his shot from half-way sailed well over.
That would be all for the action in the first 15 minutes, as the game appeared to die-down after an enthralling start.
Tom Owen-Evans tried a speculative attempt on 20 minutes from 25-yards that went over, before doing exactly the same thing a minute later.
Some neat work from Barry Town’s Chris Hugh and Tyrrell Webbe through the middle presented the latter with a chance to test the County trialist goalkeeper, but the winger completely scuffed his shot and it trickled out for a County throw-in.
But the goalkeeper would be called into action moments later, tipping a dangerous looking strike from Paul Morgan over the crossbar.
But unfortunately for County, the trialist could do nothing to prevent Barry Town from extending their lead on 33 minutes.
It would be McLaggan to get his second, volleying home superbly from Webbe’s cross-field pass.
Trialist 5 almost hit back immediately for County, but he couldn’t connect to Trialist 4’s drilled cross into the area.
Again the game seemed to die-down after a goal, Trialist 6 having a slight opportunity for County but he couldn’t control the ball to have a shot.
In fact, that would be the final opportunity of a first-half that despite the score-line, neither side particularly had control over – just a case of Barry Town United taking their opportunities when they arose.
County would make two changes to try to turn their fortunes, Trialist 6 being replaced by Trialist 9 and scholar Evan Press coming off for Trialist 7. That allowed Aaron Williams to take a more central position after playing the first-half on the right wing.
And Williams almost connected to a cross from the energetic trialist 4 in the opening minute, who seemed one of the stars of the first-half.
Trialist 3 would fire over from a free-kick moments later, before Williams came inches away from getting a goal back with his own 20-yard effort.
Ex-County player Troy Greening fired over for the home-side on 52 minutes before McLaggan would try his luck for the hat-trick but would see his effort curl wide.
That would be all for chances of note as the game approached the hour-mark, with Barry Town United making four substitutions in response.
On 66 minutes Williams had another opportunity to get County back into the game, but his effort was saved well by Barry goalkeeper Michael Lewis after a deflection.
Lewis was then substituted by the home side in one of two changes. County made three substitutions of their own, academy scholars Momodou Touray, Lewis Collins and Tom Savigar all taking to the field.
But shortly after, Barry almost extended their advantage. On 75 minutes, Jamie Bird sent a header back across goal that had the goalkeeper beaten and looked destined for the top corner, only for trialist 2 to somehow scoop it off the line.
McLaggan should have completed his hat-trick for Barry with a quarter-of-an-hour to go but misfired his attempt, before trialist 9 fired wide from 25-yards for County.
Trialist 10 would be unlucky to not get a goal back for the Exiles in the final minute, Massaro doing really well again to save a deflected strike.
That would be the last chance of note during the game, as Barry Town looked to see out a battling victory – ending County’s unbeaten start to pre-season.
But despite suffering that first defeat, manager Mike Flynn thought some players stood-out.
He said: “I thought there was three players that really stood out for me.
“I thought Jay Foulston was outstanding, he’s just turned 16 and I thought he was brilliant. Tom Owen-Evans was very good and one of the trialists played well.
“Jay Foulston will be with me now, he will be given a squad number and he will be a first-team player. He’s looking like a really good left central-defender.”
County have one remaining pre-season fixture this Saturday, at Northampton, and Flynn gave an update on the availability of the squad.
He commented: “It looks like Marlon will be out for 2-3 weeks, it’s really unfortunate because he has caught the eye and he’s been impressive.
“Ben Tozer is getting closer, he’s stepping up the training so that shouldn’t be too long and Jamie Turley hasn’t had any reactions coming off a long injury so it’s really encouraging.”
County: Trialist 1, Trialist 2, Press (Trialist 7 45’), Foulston, Barnum-Bobb (Trialist 10 73’), Trialist 3 (Collins 68’), Trialist 4, Owen-Evans, Williams (Touray 68’), Trialist 5 (Savigar 68’), Trialist 6 (Trialist 9 45’)
Subs not used: Bittner
Barry Town: Lewis (Massaro 61’), Morgan (Jones 68’), Hugh, Cooper (Watkins 61’), Evans (Cosslett 73’), Saddler (Bird 61’), McLaggan, Greening, Newman (Sainty 61’), Fahiya (Gerrard 61’), Webbe
Subs not used: N/A