Heartbreak in closing seconds ruins dream of second round Europa League tie.
It was heartbreak and devastation for the Lakesiders as they fell to an injury time goal twenty seconds from time against FC Differdange.
Even though it was a win on the night which keeps our 100% unbeaten home record in Europe it was a devastating controversial 95th minute goal that dashed Bala’s dreams of a Trabzonspor tie.
Bala from the outset were much better than they were last week out in Luxembourg, with two changes from the team last week with Thompson and Davies replacing Bell and Artell in the starting line-up. The workrate and effort was faultless and the possession this time round was kept much more!
Both sides started brightly, Caron testing for the visitors and Sheridan going close for Town after forcing a mistake out of Bukvic.
It was a heartening first half performance, Smith almost picked up Sheridan in a dangerous area, and Sheds’ having another opportunity after pressing the Differdange defence.
Influencial Errafik beat his man but luckily for us curled his chance narrowly wide of Morris’ goal in one of Differdange’s rare chances.
Caron curled wide and Ribeiro blasted a half volley comfortably over the crossbar.
Town were playing tidy football with Kieran and Thompson linking well nearly allowing Sheridan to give Town the lead but not managing to turn his foot around the ball.
A golden opportunity fell to Bala when Weber completely missed his punch from a Town corner but a black and white shirt took a total airkick for the chance to be cleared away.
The Lakesiders were finishing the half strongly, with four consecutive corners only just cleared away.
The second period couldn’t have started any better for Bala. Kieran Smith weaved through two men and was bundled over on the edge of the box for the ref to award a freekick. Stephens’ delivery took a wicked deflection off the wall for Conall Murtagh to head home with the softest of headers at the far post to give Bala a deserved 1-0 lead.
Bala took strength from the goal, Valentine blasted wide after Pearson and Jones’ great buildup in the centre of midfield prior to Smith firing over the woodwork with a halfvolley.
Connolly’s pulled back chance from Thompson’s cross was blocked out for a corner before Differdange put a little pressure on Town with Davies and Stephens defending and clearing well.
A spectacular 40 yard lob by Connolly was only just pushed out by Weber in the Differdange net with 10 minutes left to play.
Bala doubled their lead on 83 minutes when Ian Sheridan’s shot was initially blocked with Weber´s palm before Sheridan followed up to slot in which meant Town were currently going through into the second round.
The pressure from Differdange cranked up with them constantly pushing forward until the 90th minute. The 4th official showed 4 minutes of injury time with all Town needing to do was hold on.
With 4 minutes done and already a minute over it was sheer heartbreak for Bala when Errafik got on the end of a flick on (which looked offside to many) to knock the ball in the cruelest of fashions.
Credit must be given to the Bala players tonight – superb from start to finish and should be so proud of themselves on their performance.
Thank you to Rhyl for hosting our European challenge again this season.
Many thanks to all the Town supporters who came to support us and also to the hundreds who have contacted us via social media with their messages of support.
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153658252825769.1073741831.387005355768&type=3 Match photos courtesy of Naomi Jones