By Ashley Cox

A FORMER Jenner Park favourite has this week found himself at the heart of a modern day FA Cup fairytale.

The 21-year old Mo Touray played over 50 times for Barry between July 2018 and March 2020, scoring more than a dozen goals in Town colours, across two stints on loan from Newport County.

Signing with Salford City at the start of the current campaign, Touray was quickly loaned to eighth-tier English side Marine and started in six of the club's seven knock-out victories, as the Merseysiders reached the FA Cup Third Round for only the second time in their 126-year history.

As fate would have it, Monday night's Third Round draw saw Touray and his temporary teammates handed a jaw-dropping tie with current Premier League leaders Tottenham Hotspur, a side some 168 places above Marine in the English football pyramid.

For Wales U21 international Touray, this may mean the chance to pit his skills against the nation's talisman Gareth Bale; the Real Madrid superstar in the midst of his own loan spell, albeit it on wages that dwarf the resources of Neil Young's Mariners, a club currently ninth in the Northern Premier League's Division One North West.

With an off-field personality to match his on-field abilities, Touray made countless friends in his time in Barry and Town supporters will have a keen eye on this most romantic of FA Cup fixtures when Spurs head to the 389-seat Marine Travel Stadium in the second week of January.

One of Touray's greatest games for Barry came in November 2018, as he twice found the net in a thrilling 2-2 draw at Connah's Quay Nomads, but Town were unable to snatch a repeat result in Saturday's televised fixture, falling 3-1 to the JD Cymru Premier champions.

Despite missing key forward Kayne McLaggon through family leave, Barry started strong and, after midfielder Clayton Green blazed an opportunity over the crossbar from close range, the visitors took a stunning lead at Deeside Stadium, with a mere eight minutes played.

Running onto a neat through ball from teammate Theo Wharton, Jordan Cotterill combined steady composure with a sharp finish into the far corner; Barry's longest-serving starter notching past newcomer Oliver Byrne in the Nomads net.

However, Barry's early afternoon advantage would prove as brief as it was welcome, as veteran goalscorer Michael Wilde lifted the ball over Evan Press and connected with a low shot that squirmed under goalkeeper Mike Lewis, levelling the match on eleven minutes.

A back-and-forth encounter for much of the first half-hour, Lewis would be disappointed on 36 minutes when Declan Poole's unremarkable effort got across the Barry goalkeeper, putting the Nomads in front.

Then, Barry were fortunate to avoid a killer third shortly before the break, as an undetected Aaron Edwards put too much behind his finish, crashing a dangerous loose ball over the bar.

While Barry had shown signs of being able to compete with the Cymru Premier kingpins, the second half saw the match drift away from them, despite the industrious efforts of Curtis Jemmett-Hutson in particular, who had started in place of mainstay McLaggon.

As issues of prior matches began to resurface, the Nomads showed little mercy and, with dangerous Danny Davies winning his wrestle with a stumbling Luke Cummings on the left, Town were reliant on goalkeeper Leawis to repel a low shot with his legs.

Ultimately, it was the same left wing that let Nomads in; Davies earning his stripes and delivering an adequate cross for an unmarked Edwards to head into the top corner.

While Barry's lack of goals has been documented, such basic lapses at the back will surely disappoint manager Gavin Chesterfield, himself a former defender with Exeter City, among others.

With tiring Town now 3-1 adrift, the likelihood of a comeback in Connah's Quay was slim, though Luke Cooper did demand a strong save from Byrne in the latter stages; the Nomads' new number one tipping Cooper's header from Chris Hugh's set piece onto and off the post.

As The New Saints and Bala Town each securing wins on the weekend, Saturday's 3-1 loss has now opened up a daunting nine-point gap between the top three and Barry in fourth.

The defeat also leaves Barry winless in six, though they should still have enough to see off Flint at home this Saturday, in what will be the Silkmen's first visit to Jenner Park since 1998.

Cymru Alliance runners-up Flint are back in the Welsh top flight after a 22-year absence, but have lost nine of their opening 12 fixtures, including a 10-0 thumping at the hands of TNS.

Barry's record against the north Walians is historically strong, with the likes of Tony Bird, Cohen Griffith, Gary Barnett and Eifion Williams on target at Jenner Park in years gone by.

In September's latest fixture, behind-closed-doors at Cae-y-Castell, a 63rd-minute penalty from spotkick specialist McLaggon sealed the points for Barry in a hard-fought 1-0 victory.

Manager Chesterfield is expected to welcome midfielder David Cotterill back into the squad for Saturday's match, after the former Wales international completed his recent suspension.

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues, Barry vs Flint will be the sixth Cymru Premier game to be played behind-closed-doors at Jenner Park, with officials and supporters still hopeful of a return of something resembling normality, as soon as is deemed safe.