It was an opening day defeat for the U12’s as they went down 4-1 at home to Bangor City in the Academy Cup qualifiers.

Bala were on the back foot straight from the whistle as Bangor started well and put the young Lakesiders under intense pressure in the opening exchanges. Bangor’s system of all-out attack was rewarded as they won a corner after 5 minutes, a Bangor player lost his marker too easily and made no mistake as he was gifted loads of space and smashed in the opener. Before they could recover Bala found themselves 2-0 down almost immediately as a promising attack broke down due to a poor attempt at a through ball, which was cut out by the Bangor left wing-back who played it smartly into midfield before receiving it back and playing through the impressive left-winger who finished well to cap off a fine move by Bangor.

After recovering from Bangor’s quick start the U12s started to grow into the game with Deio Williams trying to create from midfield. Deio’s hard work was nearly rewarded on the 15 minute mark when a great through ball was latched on to by Ifan Jones who fired wide. Bangor’s system was working well for them as Bala were pinned back in their own half for long periods, with Math Thorp and Sion Jones doing well to help break down the opposition attacks. A tactical change in the 25th minute saw Joey Maddocks enter the fray for Jack Davies. Despite some promising play from Henry Evans and Deio Williams to the strikers, the cutting edge in the final third was lacking. The sides went in at half-time with Bangor leading 2-0.

Bala came out a different team for the second period and really took the game to Bangor. Benjamin Wilson made a great challenge on the half-way line in the opening minutes which saw Sion Jones pick up the ball in the centre of midfield who played it first time to Deio Williams, Deio knocked the ball out wide to Ifan Jones who fired over. Bala had Bangor rattled at this point and a panicked clearance was picked up by Benjamin Wilson who knocked a promising cross goalwards, a Bangor defender managed to get his head to the ball but didn’t get any distance on it with Deio Williams heading it back towards goal, but the looping header was well cleared off the line by the Bangor centre-back with the keeper beaten. It was all Bala at this point with Deio Williams again playing a great through ball wide for Ifan Jones to latch on to, Ifan drove past the wing back, with Bala 3 v 1 they looked certain to score but it was not to be. Ifan Jones smashed a shot across the face of goal from a tight angle with both Deio Williams and Henry Evans wanting a cut-back, but neither anticipated a ball across the face of goal so it went out for a goalkick.

Straight from the goalkick Bangor played it long down the middle and it was flicked on by a Bangor midfielder, the flick on was gathered by Harvey Cunliffe who turned into trouble and lost the ball on the half-way. The Bangor winger raced through on goal and made no mistake putting Bangor 3-0 up, very much against the run of play in the second half. Gwydion Roberts then came on for Harvey Cunliffe and Huw Evens for Deio Williams shortly after. The 3rd goal had knocked the wind from Bala’s sails and the game descended into a scrappy affair in the centre of midfield. Soon after Bangor had their 4th goal of the morning, a hopeful shot from the Bangor winger was spilled by Rhys Jones into the path of the oncoming Bangor striker who tapped into the empty net. Bala got their consolation goal with 5 minutes left to play, a great goalkick from Rhys Jones was missed by the Bangor centre-back and fell nicely for Henry Evans who chipped the Bangor keeper from distance. Full time Bala Town 1-4 Bangor City.

For the opening 10 to 15 minutes of the second half the U12’s were terrific and really looked like getting back in the game, just the final ball was lacking and the chances weren’t capitalised upon. It was a harsh lesson for the boys and one which they will learn from. The game was decided by fine margins and Bangor made no mistake when they were gifted chances. Man of the Match goes to Henry Evans who fought hard all game and was rewarded with a very well taken goal, he was pushed close by Benjamin Wilson who won his individual battle and provided several great crosses from left-back. The loss sees next week’s fixture away to Porthmadog take on much greater significance, as 3pts are vital if the U12’s are to keep their Super Six aspirations alive.

Bala Town Academy U12’s line up: 1. Rhys Jones; 2. Harvey Cunliffe; 3. Benjamin Wilson; 4. Sion Jones; 5. Math Thorp; 6. Henry Evans; 7. Ifan Jones; 8. Deio Williams; 9. Jack Davies. SUBS: 12. Huw Evens (45th minute for 8); 14. Joey Maddocks (25th minute for 9); 15. Gwydion Roberts (40th minute for 2).

Ethan Jones