By Ashley Cox

SATURDAY saw Barry’s unbeaten start to the season reach the ten-match milestone in Bala, but it was a result much closer to home that saw the Jenner Park side edged off the top of the Cymru Premier.

A 93rd-minute own goal from Cardiff Metropolitan defender Bradley Woodridge gifted Connah’s Quay Nomads the top spot in Cyncoed, after Barry had secured a credible 1-1 draw at Maes Tegid.

Saturday’s results mean Barry and Nomads are now the sole teams with unblemished records in the national division, with Gavin Chesterfield’s Town holding a game in hand over Andy Morrison’s men.

With Nomads travelling to struggling Aberystwyth Town on Friday (25th October), the Deesiders could be four points ahead by the time Barry entertain Airbus this Saturday afternoon (2.30pm).

The Wingmakers make their maiden visit to Jenner Park off the back of a 2-0 win over Newtown, with Andy Owen scoring both goals at the Airfield to lift Steve O’ Shaughnessy’s side into eighth.

Barry’s battle with Bala had been touted as the marquee match of the weekend, a high-stakes meeting of two in-form teams who had shared some 11 goals in their previous two encounters.

As it was, nothing could divide the Towns, though Barry supporters would rue a pair of dismissed penalty appeals that might have proven the difference, given their team’s prowess from the spot.

Boss Chesterfield will be concerned at the nature of Bala’s 18th-minute opener, a grounded corner that caught Barry’s defence napping, allow unmarked forward Henry Jones to right-foot home.

There were though encouraging signs for the visitors, with Clayton Green, on his 50th appearance in the Cymru Premier, forcing a save out of goalkeeper Ashley Morris with a quality, long-range drive.

Loan signing Sion Spence has impressed in recent weeks, earning a Wales U21 appearance in the process and it was Spence who managed to unlock Bala’s defence at the tail end of the first half.

Controlling with his right and supplying Chris Hugh with his left, Spence showed skill and vision to play the full-back in, enabling Hugh to square to Keyon Reffell, who tapped home under pressure.

All square at the break, Spence would soon light up the second half with a sublime curling free-kick, clipping Morris’ post after Hugh’s decoy run and training ground shenanigans behind the Bala wall.

Later, a quick throw from Drew Fahiya set up teammate Mo Touray, but last season’s Cymru Premier Young Player of the Year could only rattle the advertising hoardings with his testing low shot on goal.

After George Ratcliffe denied Jones a second at the other end, Barry returned to set piece probing, with second half substitute Jack Compton firing over a dangerous flighted ball from the right flank.

Eluding a handful of Barry attackers, the ball almost found its way to Evan Press at the far post, but the spritely Press went down in a heap, sparking scenes of protest from his Town teammates, who deemed the youngster to have been bundled over illegally.

Referee Mark Petch was apparently unconvinced and, after Barry’s appeals finally faded, it was Bala who almost went ahead, with their former Spanish Second Division man Lassano Mendes firing over from close range, after the midfielder had gotten free of his man.

For the final 20 minutes, Barry were boosted by the return of Jonathan Hood from the bench and it was the maverick marksman Hood who typically lit the touch paper for the game’s last talking point.

Eyeing the goal from distance, Hood struck a bouncing effort that caused chaos in the box, seemingly clipping the hand of a defending Lakesider along the way, yet Petch once more would wave play on.

Denied the opportunity to seize the win from 12 yards, Barry would be forced to settle for a point.

Elsewhere in the league, former Barry players James Saddler, Michael George, Oli Dalton and Curtis Hutson came within a whisker of a landmark result, as their Penybont team were pipped 3-2 by TNS.

The Bridgend outfit twice came from behind on Saturday and almost snatched a thrilling third in the closing stages when Hutson fired over the crossbar, before substitute Kurtis Byrne netted a deflating 86th-minute winner for the champions, keeping them on Barry’s toes in third.

Finally, Jordan Cotterill’s suspension has been significantly reduced following a successful appeal, with Barry’s skipper now set to be available for November 9th's crunch clash with Connah’s Quay Nomads.