IT'S been a while in the making, but Bala Town enjoyed a positive return to competitive action.

In gale force winds and driving rain, it was a difficult night for Gwynedd rivals Caernarfon and Bala in the first match of the JD Cymru Premier Championship Conference in front of the Sgorio cameras.

The Lakesiders made a bright start at The Oval, but it was Josh Tibbetts who was called into action first as he denied Sion Bradley with a solid low save.

A couple of minutes later and Bala were awarded a penalty when Chris Venables was brought down in the box by Leo Smith.

Venables aimed for the top corner from the spot kick, but the effort was blazed high and wide, and it remained goalless.

The penalty miss didn’t affect the Lakesiders’ performance as they dug deep and had numerous opportunities to open the scoring.

Venables headed wide, Mendes struck his effort past the post after a break through the midfield and Shaun Kelly’s bullet header went inches over the bar.

However, it was Caernarfon who went ahead in the 33rd minute.

Picking up possession on the halfway line, Smith’s crossfield ball found Thomas who laid it off to Noah Edwards and he drilled the ball into the bottom left hand corner from just inside the box.

Bala did go close to levelling minutes later when Henry Jones’ goalbound half-volley from distance was brilliantly tipped over the crossbar by Ramsay, prior to a superb move involving Jones, Mendes and Smith setting up Venables, but his flicked header flew narrowly wide before the interval.

With Oliver Shannon being introduced at half-time for Kelly at the back, there was fresh impetus from the Lakesiders early in the second period as they tested the home side.

Lassana Mendes’ delivery found Venables, but he glanced the ball over the bar with the weather conditions turning worse and making it even more difficult to face.

The home side had a decent spell of pressure, but the Bala back four dealt with any crosses and breaks.

Then, after 66 minutes of play, Bala were level.

Steve Leslie knocked the ball perfectly into an unmarked Venables and he slid his effort into the net to make it one-apiece.

Bala were applying pressure as they hunted for a winner, with Leslie setting up Louis Robles, but his delivery was cleared, before Bradley headed wide from Edwards’ ball down the other end.

Ten minutes from time and Bala earned their winner.

Shannon and Mendes allowed Robles to break on the right for Mendes to then recollect the ball.

He whipped in a pinpoint ball to Venables on the six-yard line and he was able to loop his header into an empty net and seal the three points.