Former Weston-super-Mare and Cardiff City player Chris Barker, who passed away on New Year's Day. Wesston are at home to Merthyr Town on Saturday. Pic: CCFC

Weston-super-Mare Tribute To Former Player/Assistant Manager Chris Barker Before Martyrs Clash

Weston-super-Mare, who play Merthyr Town at home in the BetVictor Southern Premier on Saturday, have paid tribute to their former player/assistant manager Chris Barker.

The Yorkshireman, who played a key role when Cardiff City were promoted in 2003, passed away on New Year’s Day at the age of 39.

A club statement by Weston read: “Barks served the club in 2016-2017 and was much loved by everyone around the club.”

WsM manager Scott Bartlett said: “I am truly devastated. We have lost a true and proper person with brilliant morals and strong principles.

“As well as being a fantastic, caring person, Barks had an unbelievable football career and then made a successful transition into coaching at Aldershot and WsM before becoming a strong, inspirational youth coach at Forest Green Rovers.

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“Such was his dedication and loyalty to the scholars at FGR I was unable to prise him away in the summer.

“I, for one, am proud to have had him by my side for the last few years and have lost the very best of friends.

“Our thoughts are with his loving family and amazing daughter. We have lost a remarkable man.

“RIP mate. Scotty.”

Merthyr Town head across the Severn Bridge to Weston on Saturday aiming to extend their 2020 unbeaten run to three matches.

The Martyrs battled to a 2-2 draw against Swindon Supermarine with Gethyn Hill and Owain Jones on target, while they hit back with two goals in the last 10 minutes to earn a point against Harrow Borough.

Ben Tricker had scored twice to put Harrow in control with just over an hour gone before Hill (80) and a Tricker own goal (83) tied things up.

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Merthyr had had to reorganise when they lost Corey Jenkins injured during the warm-up with Eliot Richards replacing him. Manager Gavin Williams then re-organised again after half an hour when Jamie Veale took over from Richards.

Classy Ian Traylor creating a Merthyr chance after he twisted one way and then the other on the right before crossing to the far post where Jones headed wide.

Harrow defender Shaun Preddie made two excellent interceptions, one from Ben Swallow’s dangerous cross and then from a ball fired across the box by Traylor, to deny the Martyrs.

Harrow went ahead from their first effort on target after 11 minutes. Lewis Cole’s left-foot, inswinging free-kick was headed in from close range by Tricker – his first goal for the club.

Dan Summerfield went close with a Merthyr shot which flew just wide, while Harrow doubled their advantage just after the hour. Tricker turned and fired a shot past goalkeeper Alex Harris into the roof of the net.

The turning point came after 77 minutes when Harrow’s Marc Charles-Smith went down in a tussle with Merthyr’s Jarrad Wright and damaged a shoulder. 

Chinua Cole also went off injured and, with no defender among the substitutes, Harrow had to reorganise.

Hill headed in from a Merthyr free-kick after 80 minutes and then Tricker completed his ‘hat-trick’ by turning a cross into Harris’s goal – two for his own team and one for the Martyrs.

Teenager Tricker, a former Watford youth defender now with Fulham, is on loan at Harrow.

Now the Martyrs turn to their fixture at Weston-super-Mare, who defeated Hartley Wintney 2-1 in midweek thanks to goals from Lloyd Humphries (35) and James Waite (54), both on loan from Cardiff City.

Merthyr Town: Alex Harris, Dan Summerfield, Ben Swallow (Ryan Prosser 62), Lee Lucas, Ismail Yakubu, Jarrad Wright, Eliot Richards (Jamie Veale 33), Kieran Lewis, Gethyn Hill, Owain Jones (Gavin Williams 72), Ian Traylor.

Harrow Borough: Luca Ashby-Hammond, Josh Andrew, Chinua Cole (Kunle Otudeko 77), Ben Tricker, Shaun Preddie, Jordan Ireland, Anthony O’Connor (Excellence Muhemba 67), George Fenton, Marc Charles-Smith (Dylan Ive 77), Michael Bryan, Lewis Cole.

Referee: Bob Saward

Attendance: 392

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