By Ashley Cox

BARRY Town and Penybont remain neck-and-neck in the JD Cymru Premier's Championship Conference, having battled to an action-packed 3-3 draw at Jenner Park on Tuesday night.

Played at a high tempo, this was one of the ground's most entertaining games in some time, with a frenzied opening, a hatful of goals and some moments of real quality from both sides.

With the English Premier League's self-elected elite in meltdown over their European Super League plans, Jenner Park made for perfect football escapism on this news-heavy Tuesday, the continuing absence of paying supporters a particular sore spot on a night of such thrills.

Barry And District News:

Jamie Bird celebrated his first goal since returning to Barry

As changes to their line-up saw starts for Kyle Patten, Rhys Abbruzzese and newcomer Rhys Kavanagh, Barry embarked on a free-flowing first-half worthy of any televised league, be it super or otherwise, though their ninth-minute opener was as fortuitous as it was unusual.

Connecting with David Cotterill's cross from the right flank, Kavanagh's header hit teammate Jamie Bird and in one single, swift motion, the ball redirected its path into the Penybont net.

It was ex-Hereford midfielder Bird's first since returning to Jenner Park in February, though the 23-year-old might have been as amused by the nature of his goal as he was delighted.

The deadlock briskly broken, Barry were playing with confidence, showing little sign of the pressures of another apparent six-pointer and keenly trying their luck in chase of a second.

On 23 minutes, Clayton Green showed some spark and flair down the right-hand side, bamboozling his man, yet denied by well-travelled Penybont goalkeeper Ashley Morris.

Within a minute though, Barry had doubled their lead, with Kayne McLaggon employing his poacher's instinct and chesting the ball past Morris from close range, from Kavanagh's cross.

Penybont rallied in style in the 39th minute when Ben Ahmun put the finishing touch on a terrific, box-to-box, counter-attacking move, kickstarted by Daniel Jefferies' high clearance.

Three minutes later though, Town managed an even better effort for the Sgorio highlight reels, as persistent Kavanagh produced the slickest of turns to evade former Merthyr man Ismail Yukubu before squaring for David Cotterill to slam home Barry's third, at the far post.

As those in yellow shirts celebrated, James Brown's 'I Feel Good' provided a fitting stadium soundtrack, a homage to Willie Batchelor's memorable musical performance when Barry were crowned League of Wales champions for the first time, 25 years earlier to the day.

However, Barry's feelgood factor would fade somewhat after the interval, as the now-darkened skies above Jenner Park coincided with a change in tone and indeed fortune.

Ten minutes into the second half, Penybont fired in their second, as Matty Harris found the net from distance, after both Kane Owen and Nathen Wood had seen their efforts blocked.

Then came an apparent plot twist, as visiting defender Jefferies was dismissed for his second bookable offence, handing Barry a man advantage heading into the final third.

Attempting to capitalise instantly, Bird's free-kick would be athletically tipped over by Morris and though both Kavanagh and substitute Curtis Hutson would take aim on the Penybont goal, the Bridgenders would survive and continue to create their own inroads.

By the 72nd minute, it was three-all, with Ahmun showing skill and composure to set himself up and fire into the roof of the Barry net, following Kosta Georgievsky's pass.

Ironically, both of Town's best chances to win it fell to defender Luke Cummings, who shot over the Penybont bar in the 77th minute and agonisingly repeated the feat minutes later.

This result means only a point divides the two clubs heading into the weekend's fixtures; Barry holding the slender advantage, while Penybont retain a superior goal difference.

Tantalisingly, after Barry go to Bala on Saturday and Penybont entertain Caernarfon, the teams will reconvene at the SDM Glass Stadium in Bridgend this Tuesday night (27 April).

Both Barry and Penybont suffered 1-0 defeats on their travels last weekend, with Rhys Griffiths' charges beaten by narrow league leaders The New Saints at Park Hall and Gavin Chesterfield's outfit edged out by champions Connah's Quay Nomads at Deeside Stadium.

After Town had been beaten heavily by Saints at Jenner Park, some might have feared the worst when prolific goalscorer Michael Wilde gifted Nomads a 22nd-minute headed lead.

Instead, a Mike Lewis penalty save gave Barry renewed hope and Town almost snatched a second-half equaliser when Nathaniel Jarvis' flick-on header hit the base of the back post.

With Louis Robles' 48th-minute strike helping TNS to victory in front of the Sgorio cameras, Bala Town's 5-2 weekend win at home to Caernarfon Town has kept the Lakesiders in pole position for third and automatic qualification for the new UEFA Europa Conference League.

Forced to contend for fourth and fifth, Barry and Penybont could be destined for a final showdown in the season-ending European play-offs, though should that turn out to be as entertaining as Tuesday's Jenner Park thriller, few in the S4C audience would surely mind.