(Aggregate 1-3)

BALA Town could not have done any more in their efforts to make progress in European competitiom.

They had the ball in the net twice, forced lots of scrambles and won 1-0 on the night... but they couldn't overturn a 3-0 first leg advantage versus Tre Fiori.

Midfielder Nathan Burke grabbed the only goal late in the second half.

A good start immediately saw the Lakesiders on the front foot.

As early as the second minute, visiting keeper Giorgio Pizzolato misjudged an effort to collect a free kick from 35 yards out and the defence managed to block Nathan Burke's shot before clearing.

Bala began with a high tempo, and play was waved on a minute later when striker Andy Mangan appeared to be tripped.

In their first piece of meaningful possession, the visitors won a free kick some 25 yards out, which went over the top of Ashley Morris' goal.

Bala responded and they won a free kick deep in Tre Fiori territory.

The ball was sent into the box, but it was the visitors who gained a free kick.

At the other end, the San Marino side fired another effort off target from the edge of the area, prior to Bala so nearly taking the lead.

Andy Burns' ball was flicked on by Kieran Smith and Ian Sheridan - who has scored so many vital goals for Bala in Europe - put his effort inches wide.

During the initial stages, it was Bala who were seeing most of the ball and the pressure was certainly building on the San Marino team.

Bala just need that elusive breakthrough.

They forged another chance in the 24th minute when Sean Smith's ball just eluded Chris Venables, the scorer for Bala at home to Vaduz last season.

A minute later and Bala number one Ashley Morris was called into action for the first time with a superb save from Vassalo.

The Lakesiders won a 28th minute free kick after a high boot from an opposition player and while goalkeeper Pizzalo dropped the set piece, Bala were penalised when they battled for the loose ball.

Bala continued to crank up the heat and they twice went close to breaking the deadlock within the space of 60 seconds.

First, a superb ball into the dangerzone by Ian Sheridan was cleared.

Soon after, the best chance of the game so far arrived.

From a cross in by Kieran Smith, the final ball from Chris Venables trickled across the face of the visitors' goal.

That should have been the opening goal, but still Bala search for that elusive opening strike.

Yet again, Bala continued on the front foot and with half-time approaching, Kieran Smith's ball was cleared from the dangerzone for a corner, prior to Town going on a break, but Andy Mangan was adjudged offside.

Ian Sheridan supplied a delivery with six minutes of the first half left, however there was no-one there in support, while Bala had a huge penalty shout turned down as the pressure continued.

Smith was bundled over in the box, but play was waved on.

It was that man Kieran Smith who ran virtually the length of the pitch in the 43rd minute to set up Ian Sheridan, who couldn't get the desired connection and the ball went wide.

After two minutes of injury time, the interval arrived with the game still goalless.

There was no let-up from Bala after the break and they forced three early corners after the interval, one of which saw Kieran Smith having an effort blocked, before the ball was cleared.

Steven Tames came on to replace frontman Andy Mangan and he was soon picking up a yellow card for an alleged foul on the goalkeeper.

Still Bala pressed and Rob Pearson's 64th minute cross was blocked at the expense of a corner.

The Lakesiders sensed a potential goal a minute later following an epic scramble in the box, but the ball was eventually cleared by Tre Fiori.

Next, it was the turn of Andy Burns to put the ball in for Bala, but once again the chance disappeared for the home side.

Another scramble soon followed as Bala desperately went looking for that vital opening goal and when the ball came out to Nathan Burke, his shot was blocked.

In a rare opportunity at the other end, Tre Fiori could have put the tie to bed, but a header went a smidge wide of the post.

Bala made another change midway through the half, with Evan Horwood coming on to replace Kieran Smith.

Normal service was soon resumed, with Bala well on the front foot and they were so, so close to taking the lead on the night when Chris Venables curled his attempt just inches over the top.

The second yellow card of the night arrived when Pizzolato was booked for Tre Fiori.

Soon after, in an agonising moment for the hosts, they hit the post with an effort... and still the goal would not arrive.

Minutes later and Tre Fiori cleared an effort off the line, but then came Burke's goal... and it was game on again.

It wasn't the cleanest of efforts from the Bala midfielder, but that does not matter one jot!

There was no let up from Bala after this, with man of the match Sean Smith's shot being blocked, while Andy Burns effort hit a visiting player in the face.

Bala have had the ball in the net once again, however Steven Tames' strike was ruled out for offside.

If that had been allowed, what a grandstand finish there would have been!

The tale of the second half was scrambles and there was another one of these in the Tre Fiori box, which once again resulted in the ball being cleared.

Into the last five minutes and Stuart J Jones was introduced in place of Andy Burns.

Turning to the last minute and tireless Bala remained on the front foot.

Substitute Stuart J Jones' effort went over the crossbar.

With seven minutes of added time at the conclusion of the 90 minutes, Bala will have felt that they were still in with an unlikely chance.

In the third minute of stoppage time, the Lakesiders won a free kick on the edge of the Tre Fiori box after Chris Venables was fouled.

However, the set piece was blocked at the expense of a corner.

Bala continued to press for the remainder of the tie, but time ran out on their stunning efforts.