CHRIS Venables stunning strike has moved Bala Town within sight of European qualification.

On Good Friday, the third-placed Lakesiders hosted second-placed Newtown in a key Cymru Premier League contest.

The 1-0 victory for Bala saw them take over in second spot and a point from Monday's trip could be enough to secure a runners-up finish and qualification for European competition once again.

With both Kieran Smith and Nathan Peate suspended, Brad Bauress and Anthony Stephens slotted into a 4-4-2 system for the Lakesiders.

An attack-minded selection didn't help Bala start on the front foot, however, as Chris Hughes' visitors pushed the pace early on with Fumpa Mwandwe looking particularly dangerous.

The game struggled for chances with neither side able to create anything significant in the opening 20 minutes.

Bala went closest to taking the lead through Bauress when the midfielder whipped in a free-kick which appeared to take a deflection off Will Evans causing the keeper to be caught off guard.

Jones managed to scramble the ball into his arms on the goalline.

The game was awaiting a special moment to break the deadlock and Evans looked set to provide it when he curled an effort destined for the top corner, yet it was Dave Jones who pulled off a sublime save to deny him.

Moments later and Jones was at it again.

Newtown's shot-stopper pulling off yet another save to this time deny Paul Rutherford from close range.

Bala entered the break level having deserved a lead bar Jones' being in fine form between the sticks.

Following half-time, it was time for Bala number one Ramsay to make a game-changing save.

Mwandwe collecting the ball inside the area with only the keeper to beat, but Ramsay was there to swoop on the danger.

When the Lakesiders needed a goal, Venables tends to come up trumps.

The striker pulled off an unbelievable acrobatic effort to break the deadlock. It was Dean Ebbe who provided the cross which the captain controlled to set himself up for a bicycle kick that flashed past Jones and into the net.

The Robins threw everyone forward in the dying moments of the match looking to snatch a point.

Williams dramatically found the back of the net with his last-ditch effort, but the linesman's flag was up with the final whistle soon to follow to confirm a priceless win for the Lakesiders.