NEVER give up.
That was the motto for Bala Town in their penultimate pre-season friendly.
It was two very different 45-minute performances by the Lakesiders last Wednesday evening as they welcomed Crewe Alexandra’s U-23 side to Maes Tegid.
The visitors started brightly and they caused plenty of problems early on.
In the first chance, Regan Griffiths struck his effort over the crossbar following a decent ball from the right hand side.
A 20-yard strike from Glenn Rule after 13 minutes fizzed past the post in Town’s first clear cut chance, before the visitors opened the scoring.
When a good cross was delivered into the box, Griffiths blasted the ball into the net from close range after 16 minutes of play.
Despite this setback, Town were settling and they should have been awarded a penalty after 22 minutes when a Crewe defender handled the ball in the box, but the referee waved play on. As Bala continued on the front foot, Will Bell headed wide from Anthony Stephens’ free kick, before Jordan Evans and Chris Venables combined, but the move break down in the area.
Crewe broke on the counter attack and they managed to double their lead after 32 minutes.
Town failed to clear and the ball arrived to Owen Dale, whose shot hit the post before nestling into the net.
Bala refused to throw in the towel and Les Davies picked out Jordan Evans, but his low strike was saved by goalkeeper Richards.
Slightly against the run of play, Town halved the deficit five minutes before the interval. A cross by Stephens found Davies, who was able to turn the ball into the net to make it 2-1.
Down the other end, Bala number one Morris made a sublime full length save to palm out a goalbound Crewe effort just before the interval.
A trio of substitutions saw Nathan Burke, Ian Sheridan and Stuart Jones replacing Clive Rule, Mike Hayes and Will Bell at half-time.
Following a stern half-time team talk, Bala’s second half performance was much improved, with more hunger and desire being shown by the players and more questions being asked of the Crewe side.
Nathan Burke fired over from 25 yards, and when Venables and Evans teamed up in the box, the latter forced a save out of Richards.
Soon after, Stephens’ brilliant delivery was pushed away by the shotstopper and Davies’ follow-up went narrowly wide of the far post.
A ball in from Ian Sheridan flashed across the face of the goal with no Town shirts quick enough to get a touch and Richards made a superb last ditch save to claw Venables’ goalbound header around the post.
However, the game was soon level.
Burke’s corner was delivered deep and when it was headed back by Stuart J Jones, Venables’ bullet header from close range made it two-apiece with half-an-hour left.
Town continued to play with confidence and they took the lead with a quarter-of-an-hour remaining.
Ryan Wade’s cross into the box was destined for Sheridan at the back post, however an under pressure Woodcock turned the ball into his own net.
From the restart, the Crewe defence almost scored another own goal.
David Thompson’s brilliant ball with the outside of his boot released Stephens on the wing and his first time cross was almost cleared into their own net by the Crewe backline.
In the closing stages, U-19s’ David Cooke came on to make his first team debut and he did well down the left hand side.
As injury time came to an end, Wade almost added a fourth when his powerful drive needed to be palmed out for a corner kick by Richards, who had a very impressive game in the Crewe net.
See full story in the Free Press