By Ashley Cox

BARRY Town almost torpedoed Connah's Quay's bid to retain the JD Cymru Premier title on Tuesday, before two goals in two minutes rescued the points for Andy Morrison's Nomads.

On an encouraging night against the champions at Jenner Park, Theo Wharton's 67th-minute drive from a tight angle at the far post looked set to give Barry a major victory.

However, a controversial penalty on 76 minutes swung the pendulum in Connah's Quay's favour, with Callum Morris slotting past Mike Lewis to equalise, after Jamie Bird's last-ditch tackle, which appeared as clean as a whistle, stopped Declan Poole having a clear shot on goal.

Barry And District News:

Nat Jarvis and Evan Press celebrate Barry's equaliser against Bala

Following up a header from forward Michael Wilde, Craig Curran's stabbed finish at the goalline completed the Connah's Quay comeback moments later, salvaging the visitors' fleetingly-fading hopes of a second successive Welsh championship.

With title rivals and previous champions TNS earning a 3-0 win at Penybont, Nomads will now take a two-point lead into the final two rounds of Championship Conference fixtures.

This Saturday, TNS tackle Barry at Park Hall, while the Nomads entertain Caernarfon, while the following Friday's finale sees Connah's Quay head to Penybont, with TNS home to Bala.

With the top two already guaranteed at least a place in the new UEFA Europa Conference League this summer, Bala clinched Wales' third European spot with a 4-1 win at Jenner Park on Saturday (1 May), leaving Barry, Penybont, Caernarfon and seemingly Newtown to scrap it out for the fourth and final ticket.

In the latest clash between Barry and Bala, the Lakesiders went ahead within ten minutes, as Anthony Kay headed a routine corner past stopper Lee Idzi, favoured this time to Lewis.

Barry though were level in a heartbeat, Chris Hugh capitalising on a slip to beat his man and deliver a fine, backpost ball, allowing teammate Nathaniel Jarvis to head into the top corner.

The rest of Saturday's game belonged to Bala captain Chris Venables, whose hat-trick took him past the milestone of 200 career goals in the Cymru Premier, affirming his position as fifth in the Welsh top flight's all-time goalscorers list.

On 34 minutes, the 35-year-old restored his team's advantage, latching onto a loose ball to score from close range, after Idzi failed to deal with Andrew Burns' high cross from the right.

Five minutes after the restart, hitman Venables was at it again, running with possession from the right flank, moving into Town's penalty area and firing high into the far corner.

The visiting striker laid claim to the matchball in stoppage time, punishing some slumbering defensive play from Barry, before taking the ball around Idzi and tapping a left-footer home.

With Penybont held to a dramatic 2-2 draw in Caernarfon, Bala's Saturday success confirmed they will represent Wales in Europe for the seventh time in nine seasons.

Barry meanwhile find themselves in an unprecedented scenario of having gone seven games without a win while knowing that two in the second half of May could still book their ticket.

As things stand, the end-of-season European play-off semi-finals will see Barry against Caernarfon at Jenner Park and Penybont versus Newtown at their SDM Glass Stadium.

However, Caernarfon's 3-0 win over Bala on Tuesday means the Canaries can still snatch fifth from Barry, a development that would hand them home advantage in the semi-finals.

With two Championship Conference matchdays to go, Barry lead Caernarfon by three points and ten goals, with the north Walians scheduled to travel to Jenner Park on the closing night of the Championship Conference, Friday 15 May.

Mathematically, Newtown still require a win from their two remaining outings to seal the last play-off berth, though a point at Bridge Meadow this Saturday would be sufficient to see off Haverfordwest County, leaving a resurgent Cardiff Met needing back-to-back, high-scoring victories to stand any chance of pipping the Robins.