IT WAS an unforgettable afternoon on Saturday near the Anglo-Welsh border, as Barry Town United stunned JD Welsh Premier League champions The New Saints with a heroic 1-0 victory at Park Hall.

The landmark result, which sent shock-waves across Welsh football, was only the second time the Saints had been beaten at home in a Welsh Premier League fixture since November 2012.

Coming into this Matchday 12 encounter off the back of four defeats, Gavin Chesterfield’s squad were positioned as rank outsiders, with their trip to the record-breaking, eleven-time champions and professionals portrayed in some quarters as an afterthought, its outcome a forgone conclusion.

The visitors though were in no mood to accept defeat on their modern Park Hall debut, pulling a remarkable result out of the hat instead and ending the hosts’ latest 14-game unbeaten run.

Captained by Ryan Evans, the travelling Town team put in a magnificent shift to contain their accomplished opponents, with defenders Luke Cooper, Chris Hugh and Paul Morgan working tenaciously alongside skipper Evans and Troy Greening fulfilling an important role in front of the back four.

As would be expected, the Saints created some quality chances, a testament to the attacking ability that has helped them capture no fewer than sixteen domestic trophies since the turn of the decade.

Having scored 28 times in this Welsh Premier campaign to date, Saints supporters thought they had made it 29 when forward Greg Draper smashed the ball into the Barry net, less than ten minutes in.

However, the former New Zealand international Draper had visibly used a hand to control Chris Sergeant’s flighted pass; an infringement picked up on by the officials, who disallowed the goal.

Dangerman Draper was denied again when he headed against the post from close range, yet it was far from one-way traffic at Park Hall in the first-half and Barry almost grabbed an opener of their own when Callum Sainty’s header at the back post flew narrowly wide of the goal.

Heading in at the break with their heads held high, Barry’s performance in the first 45 minutes was a credit to the team; applauded off by the visiting supporters, the likes of Macauley Southam and the incoming Louis Gerrard had typified the Town’s persistence, resourcefulness and commitment.

Incredibly though, it would get even better, for a Barry side that richly deserved this day in the sun.

Early in the second half, former Middlesbrough man Ryan Brobbel demonstrated his value to TNS, squaring a perfect pass to set up Alex Darlington near the penalty spot, only for Town goalkeeper Mike Lewis to make an instinctive save with his right foot and send the ball careening out of play.

Then, the pivotal moment of the match arrived; and one that will live long in the memories .

After Lewis had launched a goal kick into the New Saints half, a keenly-contested ball on the floor fell favourably into the path of Kayne McLaggon, with the striker’s shot from outside of the penalty area squeezing between two TNS defenders and beyond the long-serving home goalkeeper Paul Harrison.

As scenes of celebration spread like wildfire through the Barry supporters’ stand, the jubilant players mobbed McLaggon, yet there was still almost 40 minutes of normal play remaining; setting up a real acid test of the Town's defensive strength, under the unforgiving lens of the S4C cameras.

To their utmost credit, the well-organised Barry XI were more than up to the challenge, covering ground and remaining robust to restrict the prolific Saints, as Brobbel misfired at the near post and teammate Aaron Edwards headed wide of Lewis’ goal.

Introducing Tom Holland, Wes Fletcher and lastly Jamie Mullan from the bench, TNS would recycle play in pursuit of an equaliser, but Chesterfield’s men stood their ground, with substitutes James Saddler, Curtis Watkins and Sam Jones all playing their part in seeing out the game successfully.

Five minutes of second-half stoppage time later, Barry had secured a result for the ages; the victorious players running to embrace supporters in a moment of sheer euphoria.

The 1-0 result would see Barry climb to eighth in the table, although, all things considered, their success at Park Hall could well be the greatest single Welsh Premier League result in their history.

Though the Town have recorded wins by far greater margins and victories that have clinched titles, never before had a newly-promoted Barry squad turned over the full-time champions of Wales.

This Saturday, the triumphant Town return to Jenner Park for another important fixture, this time against seventh-placed Llandudno FC, who will have new manager Iwan Williams leading the way.

Kick-off is at 2.30pm, with admission at the turnstiles for £7 (adults), £5 (senior citizens/students) and £3 (children) and a feast of televised sport at the clubhouse bar in addition to the big match.