By Ashley Cox

HONOURS were even in Saturday's JD Cymru Premier match at Jenner Park, as fourth-placed Barry Town and visitors Newtown played out a competitive yet uninspiring goalless draw.

League historians will note this fixture as the first traditional Saturday afternoon kick-off to be televised live from Barry, but the behind-closed-doors encounter will be remembered for little else, as the Town wound up recording a second successive stalemate on the 3G turf.

Having prevailed on their three previous visits, Newtown came to Jenner Park with the goal of extending their winning record, but the visitors' potency and prowess proved fleeting at best in this particular meeting; Mike Lewis robust in receipt of Nick Rushton's well-taken volley, in what would be a rare test of the Barry Town goalkeeper.

Barry kicked off having scored just 11 in their opening ten league fixtures and their attacking difficulties remained a talking point, in what was a lacklustre first-half spectacle.

Summer signing Nathaniel Jarvis would be involved in both the Town's closest chances, re-directing Evan Press' bouncing header up and over the crossbar, before clattering the same woodwork with a left-footed rocket that briefly awakened the stands' slumbering stewards.

However, for all the hosts' competent passing play, such opportunities remained scarce; Barry lacking the calibre of final ball required to breach an organised Newtown defence.

Meanwhile, manager Gavin Chesterfield would be left grateful to centre-back Luke Cooper, whose incisive tackle denied Newtown forward James Davies a clean path through on goal.

Ultimately, it was 45 minutes of frustration on both sides; a match that would mirror their dour double-header of November and December 2019, in spite of the players' best efforts.

With the two teams cancelling each other out to the interval, S4C bigwigs will be pleased the second half showed more signs of life, though any channel changers might well have checked out by the time referee Cheryl Foster took the broadcasters' cue to resume.

Ten minutes into the second half, Rushton rushed on the Barry defence, but after holding off Theo Wharton and then bypassing Press, the striker could only roll his final effort wide.

Then, St. Kitts and Nevis international Wharton lit the fuse for Barry's move of the match, pulling a smart pass inside for Chris Hugh to square a dangerous ball across the goalmouth.

With leading marksman Kayne McLaggon primed and poised, it looked a routine finish, but the pace of the pass carried the ball beyond McLaggon, agonisingly defying any slight touch.

After Lewis saved from Neil Mitchell at his near post on the hour, Barry's Sam Bowen did well to control a loose ball and skip through two Newtown defenders, but his final shot flew wildly skywards, before McLaggon saw a textbook strike stopped by the feet of Dave Jones.

Finally, the closing minutes almost spelled disaster for Barry, when a near-collision between the outrushing Lewis and defender Curtis McDonald raised the question of whether the Barry Town shotstopper had handled the football outside his penalty area.

With Wales' 63-cap women's international Foster unconvinced, Lewis' fate was spared and the sides were left to consider a point that sees both lose ground on the league's top three.

For Barry, the gap between them and third-placed Bala now stands at six points, with the ominous task of a trip to 2019-20 champions Connah's Quay Nomads next on the agenda.

Barry are yet to win at the Deeside Stadium since returning to the Welsh top flight in 2017 and while the club has invested in talent across the park, Town's lack of goals has to be a concern, with only two of the division's twelve clubs having found the net less this season.

Nevertheless, supporters might have to expect a backs-to-the-walls affair this Saturday in north Wales, as Nomads and Town contest the weekend's live TV game, a 1.30pm kick-off on traditional S4C television and online platforms.