BALA TOWN 0
TRUNDLE tormented Bala in Sunday’s lunchtime showdown to maintain Neath’s hopes of claiming a first ever Welsh Premier League title.
Million-pound man Lee Trundle scored once in each half to see off Colin Caton’s determined side and the 2-0 scoreline stretches third-placed Neath’s unbeaten run to 12 games.
Both teams had an equal share of the play initially and Bala’s Mark Connolly had an early chance to score when he tested Lee Kendall in the home goal with a 10th minute free kick.
However, Neath managed to edge in front just a couple of minutes later.
They were awarded a free kick when Lee Trundle was fouled outside the box and the former Wrexham and Swansea City star coolly steered the free kick beyond Bala keeper Terry McCormick’s reach and into the bottom corner of the net.
Soon after, there was a lengthy stoppage for Conall Murtagh to receive treatment for an eye injury.
Unfortunately for the visitors, Murtagh was unable to continue and he was replaced by Stephen Brown.
For the next 20 minutes, neither goalkeeper was seriously tested as the respective defences gained the upper hand.
Bala dangerman Mark Jones was kept fairly subdued following his recent bout of flu, but as the interval approached, chances did fall to Bala to draw level.
However, a pair of excellent opportunities were deflected away for corner kicks and Neath preserved their lead until the half-time whistle.
It was Bala who looked the brighter of the two sides during the early stages of the second period, but it was the Gnoll hosts who struck next to double their advantage.
Once again, Trundle was in the thick of the action as he swivelled on the edge of the penalty area and then found the bottom corner of the goal with a superb pinpoint strike from 20 yards.
Trundle was Neath’s main attacking threat on the day and he could have scored two more.
McCormick made an excellent save at full stretch to deny him, while Trundle was narrowly off target when he met a Chris Jones centre.
Instead of folding, great credit should go to Bala for taking the game to their opponents after this setback.
However, chances to get back into the match were few-and-far between, with Matthew Rees giving a brilliant performance in the heart of the Neath defence.
Bala were handed a glimmer of hope with 20 minutes remaining when Neath were reduced to 10 men after Chris Jones picked up his second yellow card.
The visitors then took off Mike Byron, replacing him with Chris Mason and Caton opted to go with three at the back.
This change saw Bala on the front foot and they went close to reducing the deficit, only for Ian Sheridan to see his volley being cleared off the line.
BALA TOWN 2
AIRBUS UK BROUGHTON 1
(Airbus won 5-3 on aggregate)
MISSION impossible proved to be just that for Bala Town last week.
In the first round of the League Cup, Colin Caton’s charges were faced with the unenviable task of overturning a 4-1 deficit from the first leg at The Airfield.
Bala tried their hardest in winning the Maes Tegid return 2-1, but it is Andy Preece’s side who go through 5-3 on aggregate.
The Wingmakers effectively sealed the tie just before the half-hour mark when Glenn Rule brilliantly sent his free-kick sailing over Bala keeper Terry McCormick and into the top corner of the net.
Former Airbus frontman Ian Sheridan bagged his first goal since signing for Bala to level on the night.
Bala were on top in the second period, but they had to wait until the 81st minute to claim victory.
Lee Hunt made it 2-1 on the night when he converted from the spot.