BARRY Town United's hopes of a fairytale JD Welsh Premier League championship are in the balance this week, after the Jenner Park side crashed to a 3-0 defeat at Newtown.

Three goals in 15 first-half minutes put paid to Barry's chances at Latham Park on the weekend, as Chris Hughes' fourth-placed Robins trimmed the gulf between the teams to six points.

Bruised Barry will now look to this Saturday's game in hand with Bala at Jenner Park to try and restore their nine-point cushion, all while knowing that anything less than a victory could leave them frozen out of the title picture, as the top two continue their efforts to pull away.

A 2-0 win for The New Saints at Connah's Quay Nomads saw the defending champions move ominously to the top of the table, with Scott Ruscoe's men now holding a seven-point advantage over Barry, with both teams having six games to play.

Four of the Town's final fixtures will be at Jenner Park, beginning with the re-scheduled Bala affair this Saturday (4pm kick-off), while the Saints still have tricky re-matches with Barry and fellow contenders Connah's Quay to negotiate.

Should Barry be able to repeat their Phase One successes against a Bala team that has largely disappointed this season, the unlikeliest of title dreams might still well be on.

However, manager Gavin Chesterfield will be wary of being sucked into a chase for third-place, particularly with Newtown poised to be the final visitors to Jenner Park this season, when Barry's JD Welsh Premier League campaign wraps up on Friday 26th April.

For 26 minutes on Saturday, Barry were on track , negating Newtown with a switched-up side that saw Drew Fahiya slot in for Paul Morgan.

While another returnee to the starting XI, Troy Greening, would join skipper Jordan Cotterill in the referee's black book, there appeared little cause for concern in the game's initial exchanges; that is, until a testing ball over the top from Porya Ahmadi caused problems between Luke Cooper and Mike Lewis, with the goalkeeper purported to have clipped Joe Kenton a whisker inside his area.

Ahmadi stepped up and slotted home the penalty, sending Lewis the wrong way and while Fahiya and Cotterill would chance their arm at the opposite end, Barry's task would quickly become even tougher as the Robins flew into a two-goal lead.

Dispossessing Barry's Clayton Green, the troublesome Kenton showed composure to cut inside and set up unmarked Alex Fletcher, who bypassed the disarray of the defence by left-footing into the bottom corner, ten minutes before half-time.

Barry's penalty problems continued on 41 minutes when Mo Touray was ruled to have pulled back Fletcher, the loan man picking up a booking for his trouble.

Again, Ahmadi took charge, lifting the ball above Lewis to make it 3-0, his technique perhaps inspired by that of innovative Czech star Antonín Panenka.

For Barry, sadly, this effort would serve as checkmate.

While the second half saw the visitors attempt to edge their way back, Barry's best efforts would come to nothing, with Green's offensive header cleared off the line after 68 minutes, nipping any fightback in the bud.

Meanwhile, substitute Sam Snaith was unable to cap his debut with a goal, while Kayne McLaggon lifted a last-ditch effort from close range up over the crossbar.

It was Newtown winger Kenton who was most deserving of adding his name to the scoresheet, with the former Wolves and Shrewsbury youngster, who had already tormented Barry at Latham Park in Phase One, causing havoc once again; hitting a post at one point and seeing another shot on goal deflected off the bar.

A day to forget for Barry, yet lessons to be remembered, as their season of highs and occasional lows approaches its defining and deciding final battles.

With silverware still at stake on two fronts, Barry's quest for the JD Welsh Cup sees them return to Newtown on Saturday 30th March for the semi-final with professionals TNS.

The match at Latham Park, the first-ever meeting of the two teams at this stage, will be 7.30pm kick-off for television and must be decided on the night itself.

A repeat of Saturday's showing and Barry's Welsh Cup campaign will be over, yet the signs shown in that spirited second-half at Park Hall last month suggest this is a team that can come back strong in spite of the occasional setback.