Barry Town United's challenge for the Welsh League Division One title took another step forward at the weekend, as the championship chasers came from behind to win 3-1 at Ton Pentre.
Pursuing their eighth consecutive Welsh League victory on the road, Barry’s TJ Nagi would hit the crossbar midway through the first half, but it was the battling Bulldogs who drew first blood, as Phil Clarke shot across goal to beat goalkeeper Mike Lewis in the 26th minute.
Nevertheless, the match would take a significant turn ten minutes before half-time, when Ton’s Liam Hutchinson was shown a red card for a foul at the edge of the area.
The resulting free-kick saw Barry’s Curtis Watkins drill a low effort through the mud and into the bottom corner and just like that, the visitors found themselves level, with a man advantage to take into the second period.
As it would turn out, the extra man scenario would last only a matter of minutes, with Barry forward James Dixon soon given his own marching orders for retaliating against goalscorer Clarke.
However, the Town would shrug off this setback in emphatic fashion, putting together the game’s defining spell and all but securing the three points shortly after the hour mark.
First, Nagi worked well to set up Drew Fahiya, who showed great strength to control the ball while holding off a defender, before slotting into the bottom corner and giving Barry a 2-1 lead.
Then, goalscorer turned goal producer, as Fahiya turned his man and cut inside, feeding Barry captain James Saddler who fired his first goal of the season into the roof of the Ton Pentre net.
Closing the game out effectively, Barry’s 3-1 triumph helped them remain five points ahead of second-placed Goytre and six clear of third-placed Haverfordwest County, both of whom won on the weekend.
This Saturday (8th April) meanwhile sees the Town travel to Goytre United in a 2.30pm kick-off, following a recent switch that sees the reverse fixture moved to Jenner Park on Tuesday 18th April (7.45pm).
Home fixtures with Risca United (on Saturday 15th April) and Ton Pentre (Saturday 29th April) and a tricky trip to Cambrian & Clydach Vale (Saturday 22nd April) complete the Jenner Park club’s run-in.
Finally, the club was saddened to learn this week of the passing of long-serving goalkeeper Trevor Nott.
A popular figure in the Barry goal across the 1970s and 80s, Trevor made his debut at the similarly-named Bury Town in 1974; making some 374 appearances in all in his time at Jenner Park and helping the team to Welsh League Division One and South Wales Senior Cup silverware.
With more than 100 clean sheets in his Town career, Nott was the club’s Southern League Player of the Year in 1976 and featured in the 3-1 win over champions Worcester City the following May; a match that saw Worcester’s season-long unbeaten run ended on its final day.
In his second spell with the club, Trevor was a key part of the FA Cup run of 1984, featuring in the famous First Round match against Reading, after a dramatic second replay win over fierce rivals Merthyr secured their qualification.
A Barry player until 1987 and an important figure in the club’s proud goalkeeping tradition, Trevor Nott’s contributions to life at Jenner Park, both on and off the field, will live long in the memory.
Updated 09:21 - 7 Apr 2017 by Ashley Cox