Barry 2 Llandudno 1

BARRY Town United travel to Connah's Quay Nomads this Saturday with the opportunity to go top of the JD Welsh Premier League, though the former kingpins will have to defeat the current leaders at their own Deeside Stadium to return to the pinnacle of Wales' national top flight.

Under the stewardship of former Manchester City defender Andy Morrison, Connah's Quay took back the top spot at the weekend with a 6-0 drubbing of beleaguered Llanelli Town, as the current JD Welsh Cup holders continue their push for a first-ever Welsh Premier League crown.

Meanwhile, Barry's 2-1 win over Llandudno at Jenner Park on Sunday helped Gavin Chesterfield's squad move into second, after previous pacesetters and reigning champions The New Saints suffered a surprise 1-0 loss to Aberystwyth Town at Park Avenue on Friday evening.

With 12-time winners TNS set to welcome an inconsistent Caernarfon Town team to their Park Hall home this coming Friday (9th November), Scott Ruscoe's men may well be back in the driving seat by the time Barry and Connah's Quay run out in north Wales on Saturday afternoon.

Nevertheless, any victory in Deeside for Town or Nomads would lift them clear of the Saints on 31 points, regardless of events the night before.

For seven-time champions Barry, whose trophy-rich era came to an abrupt end in 2003, the rocky road back to this point makes quite the story.

From relegation to exile, through flirtation with oblivion, further relegation and, ultimately, a court case, the club's revival has been another captivating chapter of this sporting thrill ride, with boss Chesterfield and a host of unsung heroes instrumental in turning its fortunes around.

Stronger for the battles won, any upset success this Saturday would see Barry make a proud return to a perch vacated for more than 15 years.

Still competing on four fronts this season and with a third consecutive European campaign under their belts, free-scoring Nomads will kick off as comfortable favourites and will look to replicate the performance that saw Barry beaten 3-0 on Deeside on their previous visit in January.

Barry though have become a considerably more consistent and resilient unit over the past ten months, with narrow wins on their travels at Caernarfon, Aberystwyth and, most recently, Bala suggesting they are capable of snatching a result if they play to their ability on the day.

Perhaps the biggest difference this year has been the club's sparkling home form, with Llandudno the latest victims of a team unbeaten at Jenner Park since January 13th, a run that has contained a spotless six wins out of six in their current JD Welsh Premier League campaign.

Barry started slower than their visitors on Sunday and were punished in the 19th minute, as Llandudno's Mike Pearson was given too much space by defender Curtis Watkins, allowing the ex-Oldham Athletic man to head a routine set-piece past poorly Town goalkeeper Mike Lewis.

Llandudno might even had been two ahead had the goalpost not come to Barry's rescue, after John Owen had got the better of Luke Cooper.

As it was, the Seasiders from the north Wales coast would be at their most effective in the opening half an hour and by the 34th minute, Barry would be level, as striker Kayne McLaggon converted a penalty kick, after being brought down by Pearson inside Llandudno's six-yard box.

Booked for the offence, Pearson's afternoon in Barry would become even more eventful after the break, as he received his second yellow card and the resulting red card for another tangle with McLaggon, leaving the visitors reduced to ten men with over 40 minutes of football to play.

Moments earlier, Jonathan Hood's spectacular long-range scissor kick had been disallowed, after linesman and referee determined there had been an infringement on Llandudno goalkeeper Sean Pearson by Barry's McLaggon, another player whose day was proving to be far from dull.

The winning goal would then come in the 55th minute and was a neat, four-touch team affair, kick started by midfielder Robbie Pattern, who first exchanged a nice one-two with teammate Hood in an advanced position, before threading the ball through to loan forward Modou Touray.

Using his strength to hold off two defenders, Touray then slotted past Pearson to claim his fourth goal in ten Welsh Premier League matches.

Already securing his first Wales U21 international cap since arriving at Jenner Park in the summer, Touray has been one of the finds of Barry's 2018-19 season and looks to have a bright future in the professional game awaiting him on his eventual return to home club Newport County.

First though, the Gambia-born goalscorer has the chance to make history at Barry and help put the Jenner Park side back on top of the pile.

While to some supporters it might well feel like yesterday, Barry have not led the Welsh Premier League since Touray was three years old.

Though the odds are against them this Saturday, few will forget those interim years and all the hurdles conquered to even stand a chance.

For Barry, the biggest of games has already been won. Now, opportunity knocks in north Wales... but just how far can today's team go?

Kick-off between Connah's Quay Nomads and Barry Town at Deeside Stadium this Saturday afternoon is at 2.30pm.