European hopefuls Barry Town and Bala Town clash at Jenner Park [Bala Town FC official site]

Barry Town Need To Ensure Season Doesn’t Bottom Out As Burns ThunderBolt Lifts Bala Gloom

A first-half thunderbolt from Andy Burns and a Chris Venables penalty gave Bala Town their first win since Boxing Day and all but ends Barry Town’s run at the title.

The three points snaps a miserable run for Colin Caton’s side, who have faced criticism of late and are looking to build form for the end of season play-offs.

It has been suggested that there is a changing of the guard as the the league’s ‘third club’ with Barry Town’s emergence as title challengers, whilst the Lakesiders are at risk of not qualifying for Europe for the first time in five years.

Chris Venables thumped in a 75th-minute penalty to double Bala’s advantage, and hit the woodwork twice in a dominant win that will lift the gloom over the Gwynedd club.

“It’s relief, it was overdue, I thought we played well today,” said Venables, who will today join up with the Wales C squad ahead of Tuesday’s international against England in Salford.

“We’ve been showing bits and bobs in recent weeks but we’ve not strung a performance together for 90 minutes – it’s difficult in the Welsh Premier League to pick up results if you’re not performing for ninety minutes and not at the top of your game.

“Two nil probably flatters them a little bit, we had numerous chances and it should’ve been more. We’ll take 2-0 away down in Barry all day long,” he added.

Bala got their deserved opener from an unlikely source in the 32nd-minute when Andy Burns unleashed a rocket from the edge of the box into the top corner.

Barry Town were unable to muster any sort of reply and are left to dwell on a second consecutive defeat that realistically brings their title push to a close.

The end of their tilt at the WPL title won’t be seen as a failure by any stretch from the Barry Town faithful however.

The club were never expected to challenge and dine at the top table this season, but having found themselves in the improbable situation of being able to challenge The New Saints and Connah’s Quay, the task facing Gavin Chesterfield between now and the end of the campaign is to ensure Barry Town’s season does not bottom out completely and they remain competitive for the duration.

Bringing European football back to Jenner Park would yet mark a highly qsuccessful return and that is still very much achievable.

With a semi-final tie against The New Saints to look forward to later this month, Barry Town should not write off their Welsh Cup chances. There is also the possibility that a third-place finish in the WPL will carry an automatic European spot should either of the top-two win the Welsh Cup. Failing all that, Barry Town would still be considered as one of the favourites in the end of season Europa League play-offs.

And were that to happen, don’t rule out another clash against Bala Town – the battle to be the league’s ‘third club’ will no doubt intensify.

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