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The jinx is broken! Bala Town claim elusive league win over TNS – full report and stats

Bala Town celebrate a goal with their overjoyed fans. Pic: Naomi Jones

Bala Town 0) 3 (Venables 2, Robles)
The New Saints 0) 1 (Ebbe)
JD Cymru Premier – August 23, 2019

The longest-standing jinx in Welsh top-flight football was finally conquered on Friday night as Bala Town claimed their first league victory over The New Saints – at the 33rd attempt.

Although the Lakesiders had famously defeated the full-timers 2-1 in the 2016-17 Welsh Cup final, their W column versus TNS since they joined the Welsh Premier in 2009/10 was blank.

Not that previous league battles between the pair had all been about Bala failures.

In 32 WPL tussles, Town had managed 11 draws and in the first 10 meetings, beginning with a 0-0 split at Park Hall in October 2009, there was never more than a single goal separating the sides.

The last match involving the clubs had been the most painful from a Bala point of view, the Saints winning 7-0 at Maes Tegid back in April 2019.

But there was to be no repeat on Friday night – far from it.

Bala manager Colin Caton celebrated his 49th birthday on Thursday and the following day his players delivered him the perfect present.

Town’s performance was fantastic from start to finish as all the players dug deep and put in one of the best displays seen at Maes Tegid for a long time.

Bala started very well and could have taken the lead after three minutes as Chris Venables rattled the crossbar with a header.

Blaine Hudson was forced to clear a home team effort and Dean Ebbe headed wide of the far upright for the reigning champions, chasing a ninth successive title and 14th in all.

It was the visitors who broke the deadlock as Ebbe bundled in a header at the back post after a deep cross from the left found him unmarked.

Before the interval, Saints started to crank up the pressure but were unable to capitalise on their possession.

Venables had another massive opportunity to equalise when he hit the crossbar once again with a header late on in the half.

Trailing at the break, it was a superb second half display by the Lakesiders which sealed the deserved victory.

Stu Jones had a powerful header tipped over the crossbar with Lassana Mendes, who delivered a man of the match display, firing too high.

On the 50-minute mark, Bala were back on level terms as a corner was headed on by Anthony Stephens into the six-yard box where Venables swung around to blast home.

Three minutes later, Town took the lead when Louis Robles capitalised on a goalmouth scramble and prodded the ball in from two yards out, sending the Bala supporters into massive celebrations.

The Lakesiders were growing in confidence with Mendes, Steven Leslie and Nathan Burke working extremely hard in midfield to allow Lee Molyneux, Venables and Robles to pressure the Saints back-four.

Another effort by Robles was tipped over by Paul Harrison as the hosts pushed for a third.

The New Saints brought on big guns Adrian Cieslewicz, Billy Whitehouse and Greg Draper as they looked for a reply, but the Bala back four were resilient and kept them at bay.

Draper put a header against the bar before Town added a third with only four minutes left to play.

A free-kick was delivered into the area and Venables smashed into the roof of the net, making it 3-1 and sending the crowd into sheer disbelief.

History had been made by the boys in white and black.

Bala Town v The New Saints – Welsh Premier history (league results only)

2009/10
The New Saints 0 Bala Town 0
Bala Town 0 The New Saints 1
2010/11
The New Saints 2 Bala Town 1
Bala Town 3 The New Saints 4
2011/12
The New Saints 1 Bala Town 1
Bala Town 2 The New Saints 2
The New Saints 3 Bala Town 2
Bala Town 0 The New Saints 1
2012/13
The New Saints 1 Bala Town 0
Bala Town 2 The New Saints 2
2013/14
Bala Town 1 The New Saints 3
The New Saints 1 Bala Town 1
2014/15
Bala Town 0 The New Saints 3
The New Saints 1 Bala Town 0
The New Saints 3 Bala Town 0
Bala Town 1 The New Saints 1
2015/16
Bala Town 0 The New Saints 0
The New Saints 1 Bala Town 1
Bala Town 0 The New Saints 0
The New Saints 2 Bala Town 0
2016/17
The New Saints 5 Bala Town 1
Bala Town 0 The New Saints 2
The New Saints 3 Bala Town 2
Bala Town 4 The New Saints 6
2017/18
The New Saints 3 Bala Town 0
Bala Town 0 The New Saints 3
The New Saints 3 Bala Town 0
Bala Town 1 The New Saints 4
2018/19
The New Saints 0 Bala Town 0
Bala Town 1 The New Saints 1
The New Saints 3 Bala Town 1
Bala Town 0 The New Saints 7
2019/20
Bala Town 3 The New Saints 1

PLAYED: 33
BALA WON: 1
THE NEW SAINTS WON: 21
DRAWN: 11

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