A return to Maes Tegid saw a return to the top six for the Lakesiders as Will Evans' first-half effort was enough for victory against Newtown.
Evans opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time to help us on our way to our first victory of 2022. In a game of little chances for either side, Newtown struggled to break down the Bala backline as the Lakesiders held on with a disciplined second-half performance to see us into the top six.
Mendes misses early chance
We were nearly off to the most perfect start to 2022 at Maes Tegid when Lassana Mendes was played through one-on-one two minutes into proceedings. But he couldn’t give his effort enough lift to beat the approaching Dave Jones.
It was then Newtown who had an opportunity at scoring the opener when Aaron Williams rose to head the ball towards goal, but instead, his effort went over the bar.
Shannon denied from close range
The Lakesiders continued to look most likely to break the deadlock as we looked dangerous with every attack. Oliver Southern provided a fantastic opportunity for Ollie Shannon to do exactly that with just over thirty minutes gone, but Jones managed to deny him with an impressive save.
It was then Shannon again who saw his effort saved by Jones when the midfielder managed to burst into the area and unleash an attempt that was straight down the goalkeeper’s throat.
Exceptional Evans finish gives us the lead
With his first opportunity of the game, Evans produced a wonderful finish to giveus a deserved lead. Kieran Smith provided the assist with his cushioned header for Evans to blast home on an angle just before the half-time whistle.
Scrappy second-half challenges Lakesiders
Having taken the lead just before the break, there was a lot of pressure on the Lakesiders to put in a professional second-half performance tomake the most of our lead. The Robins did up their tempo in an effort to bring the scores back level but struggled however to break down our back four.
Several stoppages occurred amongst injuries – one of which saw Dave Edwards leave the field - with our players giving everything on the field for the three points. It looked as if the Lakesiders were soon to be awarded once more for their hard work when Shannon slotted the ball home following some neat build-up play. However, the linesman’s flag was up to spoil the party as Bala were forced to continue to protect our lead.
Lakesiders back to winning ways
We did however manage to hold onto our slender lead to secure a much-needed victory displaying great character amongst a gritty second-half performance. This victory sees us climb into the top six in fifth position while gaining three points on our opposition as we now sit only four points behind Newtown in second.
Back-to-back derby days await the Lakesiders now in what will be season-defining games in the battle for the top six as phase one begins to draw to a close.
Next up for the Lakesiders, is the highly anticipated return of derby day, as Caernarfon are the visitors at MaesTegid in an unmissable clash on Friday February 4th with kick-off set for 7:45pm.
Match Stats: Bala Town - Alex Ramsay, Oliver Southern, Antony Kay, Nathan Peate, Sean Smith, Lassana Mendes, Kieran Smith, Will Evans, Ollie Shannon, Brad Bauress, Dave Edwards
Newtown – Dave Jones, Brett Taylor, Callum Roberts, Ryan Sears, Naim Arsan, Nick Rushton, James Davies, Henry Cowans, George Hughes, Jake Walker, Aaron Williams
Bala Town – Calum Woods > Dave Edwards (59)
Newtown – Ryan Edwards > Brett Taylor (72), Jordan Evans > Henry Cowans, Rhys Hesden > James Davies (80)