By Ashley Cox

A PAIR of premium free-kicks from the former Wales international David Cotterill bookended a winning week for Barry Town, as the Jenner Park outfit racked up three JD Cymru Premier victories in the space of seven days.

Hard-fought wins over Haverfordwest County, Aberystwyth Town and Cardiff Metropolitan University helped Gavin Chesterfield's side shoot into third spot in Wales' top division, ahead of back-to-back visits to Newtown and Bala Town on Saturday and Wednesday respectively.

While Haverfordwest were making their first top flight appearance at Jenner Park since Town's relegation campaign of 2003-04, the Bluebirds of west Wales were no strangers to Barry in the interim, contesting memorable battles in the Welsh Cup and second tier alike.

Kicking off with the same XI that had won in Flint the prior weekend, Town suffered an early setback as the rivals reconvened last Wednesday night (30 September), with 2019-20 Player of the Season, defender Luke Cummings, succumbing to injury in the 21st minute.

Crucially, Barry boss Chesterfield had a replacement of high quality on standby in the aforementioned Cotterill and it was the ex-Birmingham City midfielder who opened the scoring after 29 minutes, firing in his first fantastic free-kick of a landmark week at Jenner Park.

Cutting through the torrential rain and rattling the right-hand post, before bouncing back over the goal line, Cotterill's long-range strike was his breakthrough in Barry colours and his first goal in competitive play since his stint with Bristol City in the EFL Championship.

To their credit, Haverfordwest remained in the game throughout and the newly-promoted Bluebirds found their reward in the 64th minute, as striker Ben Fawcett broke from Evan Press in the midst of the six-yard box and headed home a corner, pulling the visitors level.

However, the Bluebirds' joy would prove short-lived, as Barry's Chris Hugh served up a sumptuous, left-footed cross for Nathaniel Jarvis to head in at the near post, the former Cardiff City forward opening his Cymru Premier account with a little over 15 minutes left.

While Haverfordwest would create further chances, Barry held out for the 2-1 win and the outcome would prove the same on Saturday (3 October), when the team headed to Aberystwyth Town.

With Cummings ruled out, Cotterill would retain his spot in the Barry XI, though it would be cousin Jordan, the side's leading appearance maker, who this time played his own decisive role.

Crossing for Kayne McLaggon to head against the bar, Cotterill's first half frustration would turn to second half elation, but not before his team would have to do things the hard way.

With McLaggon hitting the post at one point, it might not have seemed Barry's day at Park Avenue when Steff Davies nipped in to put the hosts in front, five minutes after the restart.

Barry's predicament then worsened on the hour, as midfielder Clayton Green was sent off for an off-the-ball incident, leaving them with a man disadvantage to reflect the scoreline.

David Cotterill's set pieces though were proving a recurring threat and, after the prolific McLaggon connected with a dangerous flighted pass to equalise on 67 minutes, the stage was set for a classic comeback on the Ceredigion coast.

Barry's match-winning moment came only three minutes later, as McLaggon intercepted a weak clearance and delivered a one-touch through ball for Jordan Cotterill to run onto.

Keeping his head and eyeing up his target, Cotterill showed composure to take a single, right-footed touch, before slotting with his left, beyond Aberystwyth goalkeeper Connor Roberts.

Mobbed by his teammates in red, Barry's winning streak would therefore continue, setting the table for Tuesday's derby date with Cardiff Met under the Jenner Park lights.

Played in good spirits, both sides displayed decent traits in the first-half, with Met attacking Barry Road for a lengthy stretch, before Barry's Jarvis hit the bar at the Gladstone Road end.

With Hugh denied the chance to score a Goal of the Season contender from a sizzling individual burst, the match remained finely poised; that is, until Barry were awarded a free-kick at the edge of the Archers' area, with 68 minutes played.

Stepping up with renewed confidence, David Cotterill simply continued where he left off, unleashing a sweet strike that soared past goalkeeper Will Fuller into the Cardiff Met net.

While the visitors battled on as the October skies emptied, Barry look to have found their groove and the boys in yellow and blue crossed the line comfortably to cement their top three standing.

Though tougher tests will surely await than those encountered behind-closed-doors this week, teams like Bala, TNS and champions Connah's Quay will have a keen eye on Barry's progress, as the squad finalised by Chesterfield this summer continues to gel.

Should Town maintain this kind of pace through the difficult double-header with Newtown and Bala, then their televised tussle with Andy Morrison's Nomads on Saturday 17 October could be the game of the season so far.