Barry Town United came from behind to claim a 2-1 win over a sturdy Cwmbran Celtic at Jenner Park.
Alex Bonthron opened the scoring for Celtic, notching his 12th goal in 11 league matches with a header. Two minutes from half-time, Josh Graham equalised with a composed finish inside the six-yard area and then Liam Warman seized the initiative by scoring the match-winning goal in the final ten minutes.
The win opened up a seven-point lead over the chasing pack after promotion rivals Llanelli Town suffered a shock home defeat to Trefelin BGC, whilst Briton Ferry Llansawel thumped Abergavenny Town to overtake the Reds.
The visitors started brightly and carved a meaningful opportunity. Alex Bonthron weaved his way through several Barry defenders but Mike Lewis in the last line of defence came out and blocked his finessed shot.
Cwmbran broke the deadlock as they made the most of their positive start. Isaac Powell’s shot deflected for a corner kick and in a crowded penalty box, Bonthron forced the ball over the line from Tom Meechan’s delivery.
Barry searched for a response after a slow start and the cautioned Graham went near as how slow shot fizzed past the post. Kayne McLaggon followed up with a header sailing over the bar from Chris Hugh’s cross.
Cwmbran almost doubled their lead through the same route as their first as Meechan’s corner landed perfectly on Andrew Hewitt’s head but Lewis tipped his shot over the bar.
Barry players appealed for a penalty kick as Graham went down under the challenge but the referee and linesman both deemed the tackle to be fair. Graham – on a yellow card – walked a tightrope as he discussed the situation with the linesman.
The scoreline was levelled up towards half-time with Celtic’s defence conceding cheaply having defended so resolutely. Graham was found in a pocket of space by Evan Press and he sliced his shot past home past Lewis Watkins.
In the second half, Barry started on the front foot and almost went in front, but for an impressive save from Watkins. Warman teed up McLaggon for a simple finish but Watkins put all of his body behind the shot to block his attempt.
The hosts controlled possession for a large chunk of the half but almost rued their ability to capitalise on their dominance as Bonthron burst down the line but as he curled in, blazed over the bar. Into the final quarter of the match, Barry created more opportunities but McLaggon miscalculated his volley.
After biding their time, Barry finally took their chance and took the lead for the first time with less than 10 minutes on the clock. Warman raced down the right flank and punished an indecisive Watkins, who retreated after coming off his line but was caught out by the quick-thinking winger.
Cwmbran sought an equaliser and were only denied by the woodwork after Shaun Moss’ shot cannoned off of the post. Adrian Maguire’s corner kick then caused problems but Barry cleared their lines. Another corner kick came in again, but Lewis stood firm when Hewitt headed at him from a tight angle.
Despite several half-opportunities for Cwmbran, they could not get back on level terms and Barry ground out for the victory.
By Jordan Jones Of