By Ashley Cox

DEFENDER Luke Cooper was the recipient of two unwanted Christmas cards on the weekend, as his Barry Town teammates slipped to a 2-0 defeat against Caernarfon Town at The Oval.

Bookings in the 11th and 53rd minute took Gavin Chesterfield's first-choice centre-back out of the contest, though it took until the final ten minutes for ten-man Barry's resistance to be broken, as Huw Griffiths' revitalised Canaries rallied to record a second home win in a week.

After a minute's silence for former Caernarfon Town player, official and supporter Ken Owens, the hosts looked to seize a first-half advantage when Noah Edwards set off on a mazy run, but Barry's loanee goalkeeper Josh Gould did well to tip his final effort over.

Soon after, Sion Bradley caused Barry further problems on the deck, his low attempt bumbling across Gould's goalmouth, after the winger had nipped by three defenders.

Nevertheless, Barry's red wall stood strong enough at The Oval to keep the Cofis at bay; that is, until the red in the referee's pocket changed the dynamic of this JD Cymru Premier collision.

Already carrying a caution, Cooper's foul on Mike Hayes was clumsy, yet lacked any malice; something of little consolation to the Barry man, who was promptly handed his marching orders for a second bookable offence.

Cooper's dismissal forced Barry to change up, with defender Kyle Patten replacing forward Curtis Jemmett-Hutson, yet it was Caernarfon's changes that would settle this encounter, as both their goalscorers rose from the home bench to impact the closing stages.

Jack Kenny had only been in the match for two minutes when he finally broke the impasse, side-footing the opener past a frustrated Gould with nine remaining, after the Barry defence failed to clear up the messy aftermath of a Darren Thomas free-kick.

It was a bitter blow for Barry, who had gone close themselves minutes earlier when former Wales international David Cotterill saw one of his signature set-pieces strike the woodwork from distance.

Barry made two substitutions in the 85th minute with Michael George and Josh Graham replacing Cotterill and Green, hoping to be the catalysts of a late swing of the pendulum.

However, their pressing need for an equaliser left the visitors vulnerable to the dreaded sucker punch and so it came; Sam Jones showing some exquisite technique to fire home Caernarfon's second, a mere minute after George and Graham added to Barry's arsenal.

Having won 2-1 at Cefn Druids in midweek, Caernarfon's win helped them into the top six, while Barry's defeat keeps them on 21 points from 14 games; three points ahead of fifth-placed Penybont, albeit with an inferior goal difference, despite having played twice more.

Barry are poised to welcome Penybont to Jenner Park on Tuesday night after hosting Druids three days earlier, with both fixtures seemingly destined to play out behind-closed-doors, despite supporters having returned to select top flight matches in England.

Penybont saw their game with Flint on Saturday postponed after a number of the Flint team developed Covid-19 symptoms, with Barry's trip to Haverfordwest County on Tuesday 8th December likewise delayed, after a Town squad member was said to be showing "multiple symptoms".

With the Barry player subsequently testing negative, Saturday's match at Caernarfon was given the all-clear and the Haverfordwest match rearranged for Wednesday night.

As things stand, Barry's final game of 2020 will be the Boxing Day trip to Penybont, though the continuing pandemic seems to suggest any plans for festive football might best be written in pencil.