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Cymru Premier: Bala prove they can be title material this season

Chris Venables struck twice for Bala in their win over Aberystwyth

Bala Town 5 (Will Evans 39, Sean Smith 44, Chris Venables 58 pen & 60, Raul Correia 81)
Aberystwyth Town 2 (Marc Williams 24, Steven Hewitt pen 68)
Cymru Premier League – October 10, 2020

Dismiss Bala Town at your peril.

Anyone who sees this season’s Cymru Premier title battle as a two-horse race between champions Connah’s Quay Nomads and The New Saints should think again.

I tipped Colin Caton’s side for the championship at the start of the season, so impressed was I with the squad assembled at Maes Tegid.

A bit of doubt crossed my mind last weekend when the Lakesiders suffered a shock home defeat to Haverfordwest.

But everyone has a bad day at the office and as we’ve already seen, Haver are no mugs.

Bala needed to produce a big response today at home to Aberystwyth Town – and they certainly did that with an emphatic 5-2 victory.

Following today’s results, Caton’s charges might be nine points behind current leaders Nomads, but they do have two games in hand.

On a wet evening, Bala made the livelier start and only a fantastic acrobatic save by Connor Roberts from a deflected Steven Leslie free kick denied the hosts the lead.

Against the run of play, Aber took a 24th minute lead. A great delivery from the left by Matty Jones saw Marc Williams outjump defender Anthony Stephens and keeper Alex Ramsay to head home a cracker.

The home side levelled on 39 minutes when Will Evans leapt highest at the near post to score with a bullet header via a Leslie corner.

Roberts produced a magnificent stop from a Nathan Peate header, but a second Bala goal arrived before the break.

Evans was picked out from a long Ramsay clearance and skilfully lobbed the ball into the path of Sean Smith, whose left-foot strike found the net under Roberts’ dive.

It was almost 3-1 when Venables flicked on another Leslie flag-kick, but Marc Williams, in a bid to clear, smashed the ball against his own bar and the danger was averted.

Half-time: Bala Town 2 Aberystwyth Town 1

Bala were well on top at the start of the second half, Peate heading off target from a Leslie free kick.

In the 58th minute, Louis Bradford was adjudged to have brought down Venables in the box. A penalty was awarded and Venables lashed home with aplomb.

Two minutes later, a perfect cross from the left by Lassana Mendes was nodded in by Venables for 4-1.

Midway through the half, Stephens felled Steffan Davies in the area and Steven Hewitt converted the resultant spot-kick.

But this was Bala’s day and in a match of great headers, Raul Correia produced the best one of all, his effort from around 15 yards following a Sean Smith centre beating the dive of Roberts for 5-2.

Aber star man, keeper Roberts, did superbly to foil Peate with his foot before tipping over a Henry Jones free kick in added time.

Rest of the Games

Nomads celebrate their winner at Cardiff Met. Pic: NCM Media

Two late goals ensured champions Connah’s Quay Nomads turned a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 triumph at Cardiff Met University.

Dylan Rees handed the students a 42nd minute lead, but Priestley Farquharson levelled on 77 and Craig Curran delivered the winner after 88.

Flint Town United’s slump continued with a 2-0 home defeat at the hands of Haverfordwest County.

Jack Wilson and Daniel Williams provided the goals on 79 and 84 minutes respectively.

Newtown led Barry Town United through James Davies’ 66th minute strike, but a Kayne McLaggon rebound finish after his penalty was saved three minutes into added time ensured a 1-1 result.

The New Saints made it six wins out of six with a 4-0 away caning of Penybont, Louis Robles notching two in the first half, Greg Draper adding another double, including a penalty, after the break.

On Friday night, Cefn Druids enjoyed their first win of the season, goals from Iwan Cartwright and Alex Darlington earning a 2-1 win at Caernarfon Town, Paulo Mendes with a consolation for the Cofis.

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