A stunning Chris Venables bicycle kick was the difference at Maes Tegid on Good Friday as the Lakesiders reclaimed 2nd place with a narrow 1-0 win over Newtown.
The crucial win over the Robins saw Bala edge closer towards European qualification having now obtained a three-point gap ahead of Newtown. It was Venables' solo effort that proved pivotal as he gave the Lakesiders three crucial points.
Slow start for the Lakesiders
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 Newtown pushed the pace early on with Fumpa Mwandwe looking particularly dangerous for the visitors.
The game struggled for chances with neither side able to create anything significant in the opening twenty 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.
Evans denied by a spectacular save
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, Jones was at it again. Newtown's shot-stopper pulling off yet another save to deny this time 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 Ramsay to make a game-changing save. Mwandwe collecting the ball inside the area with only the keeper to beat, but our No1 was there to swoop up the danger as he latched onto the ball.
Cometh the moment, cometh the man.
When the Lakesiders needed a goal most, Venables came 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 in net. A legendary goal by a legendary player.
The Robins hit the post!
Looking for an instant response, Williams almost provided it for the Robins. The striker found space to turn and drill a shot at goal. His shot had beaten Ramsay, but the post was there to deny him as Newtown went close to levelling with Bala let off the hook for giving Williams too much time and space in our final third.
Again the Lakesiders were let off the hook moments later when Mwandwe had a golden opportunity to bring his side level. The attacker finding space to drive at goal before striking the ball into the side netting!
Bala's looked to attack in the final minutes of the match as we craved a decisive goal. Lassana Mendes who came on as a substitute looked lively and forced Jones into another great save when the midfielder almost added a second goal of the month contender of the game. It was then Evans with a final Lakesiders effort that dragged just wide of Jones post following a darting run down the left flank.
Williams scores for Newtown... but the linesman's flag is up!
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 luckily the linesman's flag was up with the final whistle soon to follow to confirm a priceless win for the Lakesiders.
European qualification could be on the cards this bank holiday Monday if Newtown drop points against the champions at home. However, the Lakesiders will need to secure our third derby day victory of the season at The Oval if we are to do so. Kick-off will be at 14:30 on April 18th in our final away game of the season.
Bala Town - Alex Ramsay, Calum Woods, Antony Kay, Anthony Stephens, Sean Smith, Brad Bauress, Will Evans, Paul Rutherford, Dave Edwards, Dean Ebbe, Chris Venables
Newtown – Dave Jones, Brett Taylor, Ryan Sears, Shane Sutton, Callum Roberts, Nick Rushton, Craig Williams, George Hughes, Jake Walker, Fumpa Mwandwe, Aaron Williams
Bala Town – Lassana Mendes > Chris Venables (69)
Newtown - Zeli Ismail > Brett Taylor (70), Jamie Breese > Nick Rushton (84)