BATTLE-HARDENED Barry Town continue to lead the way in the JD Cymru Premier, with a 3-2 win over bogey team Newtown maintaining their four-point lead at the top of Wales’ national football league, writes Ashley Cox.

Goals from Sion Spence, Keyon Reffell and Kayne McLaggon sealed the points for Gavin Chesterfield’s side, whose unbeaten start to the season now stands at seven wins in nine.

Barry’s record on the road has been spotless to date and Sion Spence soon set the tone for a fifth consecutive away victory, slotting past Dave Jones to score his first for the club after 18 minutes.

However, the Robins would be singing a mere six minutes later, as recurring menace Joe Kenton connected from close range to equalise, capitalising on a dangerous long throw and flick-on header.

Kenton’s goal would be the first Barry had conceded in almost 600 minutes of top flight football, a streak stretching back to their 2-2 draw with Bala at Jenner Park on August’s Bank Holiday Monday.

Nevertheless, travelling Town appeared to cope well with the blip, restoring their advantage in the 37th minute, when first-half substitute Keyon Reffell got on the end of an incisive Spence free-kick.

Reffell had replaced injured Curtis Watkins minutes earlier and duly made the most of his chance, scoring his first Cymru Premier goal since 2014, when he wore the colours of Port Talbot Town.

In first-half stoppage-time, Barry found themselves with a golden opportunity to forge 3-1 ahead; with the referee signalling to the penalty spot, after Mo Touray had been nudged to the ground.

McLaggon made it three in Barry’s favour, tucking away the spot kick with power and sending goalkeeper Jones the wrong way to take his personal goal tally for the 2019-20 campaign to six.

Town were later denied a second penalty when Touray hit the deck after an apparent clash of heads, though this time the hosts escaped without punishment, keeping their hopes of a revival alive.

Chris Hughes’s team almost snatched one back after the break when Kenton delivered a superb low ball from the right flank, only for teammate Nick Rushton to fluff his lines in front of a gaping goal.

The Robins would reduce the arrears through Alex Fletcher in injury-time, but it would be too little, too late for the league ever-presents, as they sank to a rare home defeat; their first at Latham Park since May’s European play-offs and Barry’s first win at the mid Wales ground in a number of visits.

With champions The New Saints beaten 1-0 at Caernarfon Town on Friday evening, last season’s runners-up Connah’s Quay Nomads now sit second behind Barry, with the unbeaten Deesiders coming from behind to upend struggling Carmarthen on Saturday, winning 2-1 at Richmond Park.

Barry’s match with the Nomads at Jenner Park is one of a hat-trick of upcoming fixture alterations, with this potential top-of-the-table clash now to be played on Saturday 10th November (2.30pm).

The mouth-watering meeting between Barry and TNS has meanwhile been moved to Friday 13th December (8pm) and will be broadcast live on S4C.

Finally, this Saturday’s scheduled derby with Penybont at Jenner Park has been moved to Friday 22nd November, due to three Barry starlets potentially being on international duty this weekend.

Goalkeeper George Ratcliffe and midfielder Sion Spence have each been selected for Paul Bodin’s Wales U21 squad for the UEFA European Championship qualifier with Moldova in Orhei on Friday.

Mo Touray is meanwhile on standby for the international, leaving a Barry team hit by a number of injuries to invoke the rule that allows for postponements around an international matchday.

“Whilst I know supporters will be disappointed with the postponement of the game, it is fantastic to see both George and Sion selected for international duty”, said Barry manager Gavin Chesterfield.

“Both have made really good starts to their loan season with us and I’m delighted for them”.

Barry’s next JD Cymru Premier fixture will be against Bala at Maes Tegid on Saturday 19th October (2.30pm), before the club welcomes Airbus UK Broughton to Jenner Park for the first time in their history the following Saturday afternoon (2.30pm)