BALA TOWN began phase two of the 2020/21 JD Cymru Premier season with a narrow defeat at the hands of The New Saints.

Colin Caton’s side had ended a three-game losing streak with an impressive 5-0 victory over Flint Town United in their last game of phase one before the split.

But, their first game of the Championship Conference phase saw them fall to a loss at home at the hand of TNS who moved to the top of the table (on Goal Difference) following Connah’s Quay’s 2-0 loss to Penybont.

The two sides had drawn 0-0 at Park Hall just last month, after the top-flight resumed following a three-month break due to Coronavirus restrictions.

The visitors, led by new manager Anthony Limberick, were on the front foot from the off at Maes Tegid on Saturday and it wasn’t long before they found the breakthrough.

Just seven minutes in, Jon Routledge's close range effort was saved by Alex Ramsey, but the rebound headed straight into the path of Ryan Brobbel who hit the ball home into the roof of the net for 1-0.

TNS midfielder Ben Clark was next to test the hands of Ramsay, but the keeper was equal to the strike.

Another chance for the visitors came when Ryan Astles pinged the ball towards Clark who took it down on his chest and managed to make space for the shot, but his effort sailed over the bar.

The visitors saw much more of the ball than Bala in the first half, but the second half showed signs of improvement for the Lakesiders.

Will Evans had the first attempt on goal, as he took a shot on his weaker foot, but the ball rolled into the hands of Paul Harrison .

The referee then waved appeals away for a handball against the visitors, as Hudson had looked to handle the ball inside the box.

Ramsay made a string of fine saves to keep Bala in the tie and , with just 15 minutes to go, skipper Chris Venables nearly found the equaliser as he received the ball on the right hand side and flashed a shot across the goal just past the post.

Bala then went agonisingly close once more in stoppage time and it again involved the captain. Venables received the ball on the left hand side this time and hit the ball across the face of the goal, with the on-rushing Antony Kay just a second too late to get on the end of it.

As the final whistle blew, Bala will have felt somewhat hard done by following a good second half performance, but they just couldn't find the back of the net.

The Lakesiders remain in third but with Barry Town United having won 1-0 at Caernarfon Town, the gap between the two sides now stands at just three points.

That makes Bala's midweek trip to Penybont, who are themselves only four points off third spot, a real crucial match in determining the outcome of the table come the end of the season.