FOOTBALL fans in Barry are in for a treat this Christmas period, as Jenner Park hosts a festive double-header; including a big Boxing Day blow-out!

For the first time in sixteen years, Barry Town United will open the gates for top-flight Boxing Day action, as Gavin Chesterfield’s team tackle high-flying neighbours Cardiff Met in a 2.30pm kick-off.

First though, the Town will be focused on winning a classic Welsh Premier League six-pointer, as former Welsh Cup winners Prestatyn Town travel to Jenner Park for the first time in their history (2.30pm).

While Barry’s record against Prestatyn reads played two, lost two, Chesterfield’s men will be eager to put things right this Saturday, after the North Walians sank the Town with a stoppage-time strike at Bastion Gardens in August and handed them a Welsh Cup semi-final defeat at Newtown in 2013.

More importantly, a win over the Cymru Alliance champions in this battle of the two promoted sides would put some breathing space between eighth-placed Barry and Prestatyn down in 11th, with the gap currently standing at six points.

Whatever the outcome though, the Boxing Day showdown with Cardiff Met then promises to be an entertaining affair, with a large crowd expected at Jenner Park for a day of merriment in the stands and the clubhouse alike, with refreshments, bingo, karaoke and a disco to see out the evening.

Barry warmed up for their festive programme with a 2-1 triumph at Richmond Park on Friday night, edging past a game Carmarthen Town to secure the club’s fifth league win of the 2017-18 season.

After his excellent performance in the 1-1 draw with Bangor City, Jordan Cotterill was handed the captain’s armband and the creative forward showed confidence to run at the Carmarthen defence, playing to the ball to Drew Fahiya, who set up Macauley Southam for Barry’s first noteworthy effort.

With managers Gavin Chesterfield and Mark Aizlewood each targeting a positive result, the opening quarter hour was full of end-to-end action, with bottom side Carmarthen containing their visitors until a seismic incident put the beleaguered hosts firmly on the back foot, with 16 minutes played.

After Callum Sainty delivered a delicious pass down the right flank for Kayne McLaggon to run onto, the club’s leading goalscorer found himself pulled back and bundled over, with a clear route on goal. Referee Bryn Markham-Jones showed no hesitation in handing home team skipper Lee Surman a straight red card and in a heartbeat the Old Gold were down to ten men.

A man up and sensing blood, visitors Barry chased the coveted opener, with Cotterill’s long-range effort luckily deflected into the path of Sainty, who sidefooted over the crossbar from seven yards.

However, the Town’s travelling supporters would have to wait little longer for a Barry breakthrough, which came after Cotterill held off his marker before lifting an exquisite left-footed ball over the top. Midfielder Southam then controlled with his chest to take it beyond Carmarthen goalkeeper Lee Idzi, before tucking the ball into the bottom corner from a tight angle to give Barry a 33th-minute lead.

One of Chesterfield’s several summer signings, Southam has been one of the season’s stand-outs, with former Cardiff City youngster more than deserving of his first JD Welsh Premier League goal.

The second half saw Southam and Cotterill at the heart of things once more, combining to release McLaggon, who turned his man and weighed up a shot through a cluster of Carmarthen defenders. One of them managed to connect with a foot, but there was enough behind McLaggon’s low drive to see it into the net, giving the prolific striker his tenth Welsh Premier goal of the 2017-18 campaign.

Ten points adrift at the bottom of the division, Mark Aizlewood’s Old Gold had little choice but to try and to pull themselves back into contention and they almost did it when midfielder Kieran Lewis forced a dynamic save out of Mike Lewis, after the returning Barry number 1 had punched away a corner.

Then, in the 85th minute, an in-swinging free-kick was met by Old Gold substitute Liam Griffiths, whose header was enough to get by Lewis and reduce the arrears, heading into the final stages.

Nevertheless, Barry would dig in to deter the hosts and resist their ten-man comeback, seeing the job through and increasing their Welsh Premier points haul to 21 heading into the festive period.

Admission for the JD Welsh Premier League matches at Jenner Park on Saturday, December 23 and Boxing Day is available on the gate at £7 (adult), £5 (senior citizen/student) and £3 (child) per fixture.

Any supporters with accessibility requirements are encouraged to contact the club, with carers welcomed free of charge.