‘It’s always good to get off the mark early’ – Barry’s McLaggon on opening his 20/21 JD Cymru Premier account

PICTURE by Mike James Photography.

EVER SINCE he joined the club in 2017, Barry Town United forward Kayne McLaggon has been leading the line well for his hometown club.

All in all, he’s scored roughly 39 goals for the club since arriving from Merthyr Town that year and has terrified many a defence in the JD Cymru Premier along the way too with his pace and finishing.

His latest goals came in Barry’s 3-1 win over Caernarfon Town at Jenner Park over the weekend (pictured above). A brace that day set him on his way to enjoying another fin goal-scoring campaign for The Dragons who also earned their first three points of the season that day, having bounced back from a 3-0 defeat to TNS on match day one.

Speaking to AFEFootballNews about those goals, McLaggon said: “It’s always good to get off the mark early in the season as it takes a bit of pressure off – as does getting off the mark points wise as well, so to both win and score on Saturday was great.

McLaggon, who turned 30 years old on Monday, enjoyed his best goal scoring season to date with Barry Town last season as he picked up 13 goals during a season which was eventually curtailed by the Coronavirus pandemic. Had the season continued, I’m sure he’d have had many more too. But, does he set himself a target to reach in terms of goals each season?

McLaggon said: “I always set myself a target of goals but never really share it with anyone as I’m quite the optimist so it would probably seem unrealistic to others. But, I use it as motivation and a way of ensuring I’m hungry to score week in, week out.

PICTURE: Mike James Photography.

“The League is full of really good defenders and I’m sure most strikers would probably name the same crop of defenders as the toughest to play against.
I always find it quite difficult to play against George Horan (Connah’s Quay) as he reads the game so well and uses his experience and quality to nullify most players, but I enjoy playing against him also as it’s always good to test yourself against the best defenders in the League.”

The former Southampton Academy forward’s first official goal for Barry this season came in their heavy 5-1 UEFA Europa League First Round Qualifying defeat to Faroe Islands-based side B36 Torshavn. In doing so, McLaggon became the club’s first European goalscorer since Jamie Moralee scored against Macedonian side Vardar Skopje in 2003.
The thick fog at the 5,000-seater Gundadalur Stadium in the Faroe Islands would have been enough to cancel most games. But it went ahead and Barry were put to the slaughter and fellow Welsh side The New Saints crashed out there on penalties in Qualifying Round Two just two weeks later.

McLaggon scoring against B36 Torshavn in Faroe Islands.

Asked about how tough that game and how disappointing that result was for Barry, McLaggon replied: “We received a lot of criticism after that match, but none more so than from ourselves. We know we weren’t good enough and I know with the character and belief we have in the squad that it will drive us forward to be better.
The conditions were obviously really poor but both sides had to deal with it and unfortunately on the day they dealt with them better so it’s a learning experience and hopefully if we are faced with similar conditions we will be better placed to cope with it in the future.

Back to the JD Cymru Premier again now and, having added their first three points to the board over the weekend, Gavin Chesterfield’s Barry Town United side will be hoping to keep some momentum going when they take on newly-promoted Flint Town United away on Saturday.

Barry were once the dominant side in Wales’ top-flight, particularly between 1995 and 2003 when they won seven league titles. But a demise in fortunes would follow and the club would slip down the leagues and nearly out of existence, following relegation from the top-flight in 2003/04. Years of heartbreak and worry were eventually put to bed when the club made its long-awaited return to the JD Cymru Premier for the 2017/18 season after a whirlwind journey back up the Welsh pyramid system.

Ever since then, they have finished 7th, 3rd and 4th in the top-flight table, qualifying for the UEFA Europa League qualifying rounds in the last two campaigns and they will no doubt be looking to make it a third time come the end of this season.

PICTURE: Mike James Photography.

McLaggon said: “I hope we can achieve a European spot however that may come – whether it be through the League or Cup. It would be great to have a cup run in either the Welsh Cup or Nathaniel MG as we haven’t done as well as we should have in cup competitions since I’ve been at the club so that’s definitely something we want to improve on going into this season.

“It’s always an honour to play for your hometown club and it’s great when your family and friends are able to watch you so every game for me is special because of that. It definitely means a bit more when you win, lose or draw when you have that connection with a club.

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