By Ashley Cox

NINETY minutes of plucky resistance was sadly not enough for Barry Town on Saturday in the JD Cymru Premier, as Gavin Chesterfield’s sown-up side succumbed to last-minute misery in Connah’s Quay.

Having stubbornly held out for so long against Andy Morrison’s second-placed Nomads, a 90th-minute corner in exceptional high winds bamboozled the bruised Barry backline, allowing Jamie Insall to scruffily carry the ball over the goal line and break the visitors’ hearts.

It was a bitter pill to swallow for a worn-down Town defence and especially for Barry goalkeeper Mike Lewis; the former Aberystwyth Town shotstopper having done well to make the initial save, having denied both Michael Bakare and George Horan earlier in the contest.

After thrashing Barry 4-0 at Jenner Park in November, one might have expected the Town to find themselves under the cosh for much of Saturday’s return, yet Nomads had been unable to forge a breakthrough at Deeside Stadium, with Priestley Farquarson’s overhead kick chalked off for offside.

However, Insall’s scrappy 90th-minute opener would change all that and, with Barry left pushing for the most dramatic of equalisers, they soon fell victim to a stoppage-time sucker punch; Declan Poole belting the ball beyond Lewis in the culmination of a wind-assisted Connah’s Quay breakaway, after the elements had wreaked havoc with Luke Cummings’ attempt at an attacking long throw at goal.

Chesterfield’s team will now close out Phase One of their league campaign with a Saturday evening showdown with Carmarthen Town; a team Barry have beaten in each of their last eight encounters.

Kick-off at Jenner Park is at 5.15pm, in line with the remainder of the final round of Phase One fixtures, pitting Newtown vs Airbus UK Broughton, The New Saints vs Connah’s Quay, Bala Town vs Cefn Druids, Cardiff Met University vs Caernarfon Town and Aberystwyth Town vs Penybont.

Meanwhile, Barry manager Chesterfield has moved to strengthen his depleted squad with the recruitment of former Cardiff City, York City and Hereford midfielder Theo Wharton.

The son of former Cwmbran Town boss Sean Wharton, Theo represented Wales at U17, U19 and U21 level, before switching his allegiance to St Kitts and Nevis, the homeland of his grandparents.

The 25-year old has made 15 appearances for the Caribbean nation, featuring against the likes of Canada and Jamaica and scoring twice in a CONCACAF Nations League qualifier against St. Martins.

Chesterfield commented: “It’s no secret that we’ve missed elements of control in midfield, particularly due to losing Troy (Greening) and Robbie (Patten) through injury”.

“Theo is an exciting player who has a good pedigree and I feel we will be a really good fit for each other. He’s been training with the squad for the last month and has integrated very well”.

Wharton’s arrival will also help to fill the hole left by fellow midfielder and free-kick specialist Sion Spence, who has now returned to Neil Harris’ Cardiff City following a successful four-month loan.

The 19-year old, who returned to action in Cardiff U23s’ 2-1 win over Colchester United on Monday, made 13 senior appearances for Barry in their 2019-20 campaign, most notably setting up Kayne McLaggon’s winner at Airbus in September and Keyon Reffell’s equaliser in Bala the following month, while scoring himself in the 3-2 win over Newtown at Latham Park.

Spence’s swansong in Barry colours came in Boxing Day’s 1-1 draw with Cardiff Met.

Fellow Bluebird George Ratcliffe looks poised to remain at Jenner Park for the remainder of the 2019-20 programme, despite the goalkeeper not featuring since December’s defeat to TNS.

The club has teased further activity during the January transfer window, a year on from the departure of wing-back Macauley Southam-Hales to EFL League Two outfit Fleetwood Town.

Despite starring for Barry in the first half of 2018-19, Southam-Hales has had limited opportunities at Highbury Stadium, the 23-year old making only a pair of league appearances for Joey Barton’s team, before starting last Tuesday’s Trophy defeat to Accrington Stanley.