A quick one, two, three is enough for away day win for Bala Town FC

Reporter:

Shaun Davies

A TRIO of quickfire goals did the trick to give the Lakesiders the points versus the Planemakers.

A 25-minute spell in the first half made sure that Bala Town took home the three points against an Airbus team who came into the game on the back of a six-match unbeaten run.

The opening 20 minutes was an even affair with both sides playing attractive football along the 3G surface and chances fell to the respective teams.

An Andy Jones header was glanced wide in the first opportunity for the home side, while down the other end Mark Connolly and Mike Hayes combined, but two of latter’s efforts were blocked from inside the six-yard box.

David Thompson had a go from distance and he saw his strike dip over the crossbar prior to Conall Murtagh glancing wide after he connected with a cross from the wing.

Town eventually took the lead on 18 minutes when a scramble in the box fell to Murtagh on the penalty spot and he swivelled to powerfully turn the ball into the net.

Bala settled into an attacking rhythm after the breakthrough, constantly putting the Airbus defence under pressure.

Hayes had a shot from close range blocked, while a mix-up at the back saw a header being cleared for a corner.

The flag kick went close before an unbelievable pinpoint ball from John Irving found Hayes, but he was unable to volley it as the ball came over his shoulder.

Mark Connolly's outside of the foot through ball was sent out to Thompson on the wing and he shot over when in space wide out.

Town were thoroughly in control of proceedings at this stage and they deservedly doubled their lead after half-an-hour.

Connolly's volley rebounded back into his path to rocket another half-volley into the bottom right hand corner of the net from the edge of the penalty area.

Tempers flared after the game restarted, with Airbus player Ashley Williams and Town's Rob Pearson tussling.

Pearson ended up taking a punch to the face and when the dust had settled, both players were sent off by referee Iwan Griffith.

After this, Murphy tested visiting keeper Ashley Morris, who saved comfortably and it turned out to be a quiet afternoon for the Bala shotstopper, who took his tally of clean sheets for the campaign up to 11.

To make matters even better for the Lakesiders, Mike Hayes added goal number three in the 38th minute when he cut through the Airbus defence like a knife through butter, weaving through the two centre halves and he then waited for the ball to drop before lobbing Coates, who was off his line.

Confidence was understandably high in the Bala ranks and Irving was given acres of space down the wing to constantly deliver teasing crosses into the box.

Hayes nearly added his side’s fourth goal, but his strike hit the side netting.

A box-to-box move involving most Town players on the stroke of half-time culminated in Mark Connolly heading wide of the far upright.

Ashley Morris was called into action a few minutes into the second half as Airbus started to press.

He was forced into making a crucial save as he skipped along his line to palm the ball out of play, setting the tone of the second half for Town's solid defensive display.

At the other end, Coates saved a Nathan Burke effort before Mike Hayes curled over the far post from David Thompson's delivery.

Airbus were being forced to attack as they tried to find a route back into the game, but Bala were having the bulk of possession with sublime passages of play at times.

A 35-yard piledriver from Anthony Stephens narrowly flew over Coates' crossbar, while it was a similar story down the other end as a dipping Airbus effort was also inches over.

Man of the match John Irving cleared from the back with a high ball directed at Mark Jones, who controlled the ball and attempted a lob, which only just cleared the crossbar.

Gray hit the crossbar with a header for the home side in a rare chance for Andy Preece's men, but Town were forcing Airbus into making mistakes with their intense possession, while time after time they broke into the opposition area.

Substitute Kieran Smith was clattered on the byeline on the edge of the area for a free kick to be awarded as time ticked away.

His fellow sub Ryan Valentine took it short to spot an unmarked Smith and his low driven strike was saved by Coates.

It was a fantastic performance worthy of three points from the visitors, extending Town's unbeaten run to 10 matches.

The effort, work rate and slick passing football keeps Bala hot on the tails of this weekend's opponents The New Saints.

See full story in the Free Press

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