Venables shines as Lakesiders comeback to win at Caernarfon.
In gale force winds and driving rain, it was a difficult night for both teams in the first match of the Championship Conference infront of the Sgorio cameras.
We had a bright start at The Oval but it was Josh Tibbetts who was called into action first as he denied Sion Bradley with a solid low save from 18 yards out.
A couple of minutes later, Town were awarded a penalty when Chris Venables was brought down in the box by Leo Smith. Venables aimed for the top corner but the spot kick was blazed high and wide and the score remained at 0-0.
Despite the penalty miss, this didn’t affect the Lakesiders’ performance as they dug deep and had numerous opportunities to open the scoring with Venables heading wide, Mendes struck his effort past the post after a break through the midfield and Shaun Kelly’s bullet header going inches over the bar.
However it was the home side who went ahead on the 33rd minute. Picking up possession on the halfway line, Smith’s crossfield ball found Thomas who laid it off to Noah Edwards who drilled the ball into the bottom left hand corner from 17 yards.
Town came close to levelling minutes later when Henry Jones’ goalbound half volley from distance was brilliantly tipped over the crossbar by Ramsay prior to a superb move involving Jones, Mendes and Smith setting up Venables but his flicked header flew narrowly wide before the interval.
With Shannon introduced at halftime for Kelly at the back, there was fresh impetus with the Lakesiders early on in the second period as they tested the home side much more.
Mendes’ delivery found Venables but he glanced the ball over the bar with the weather conditions turning worse and making it even more difficult to face.
The home side had a decent spell of pressure but the Bala back four were dealing with any crosses and breaks which gave Town confidence going forward.
Good play on the hour resulted in Burns not getting a clean connection with his cross into the area which Ramsay was able to collect.
After 66 minutes of play, Bala were level. The move began in the centre circle with Burke combining with Mendes winning a throw which was taken quickly by Shannon. The ball was cleared back towards the halfway but headed clear by Stephens to newly introduced substitute Leslie who knocked the ball perfectly onto an unmarked Venables who tidily slid the ball into the back of the net. 1-1!
Bala were applying pressure as they hunted for their winner with Leslie setting up Robles but his delivery was cleared before Bradley headed wide from Edwards’ ball down the other end.
Ten minutes from time, Bala earned their winner. Shannon and Mendes allowed Robles to break on the right for Mendes to then recollect the ball and whip in a pin point ball to Venables on the six yard line to loop his header into an empty net and sealing the three points.
A fantastic second half performance by the Lakesiders with Chris Venables leading the way in scoring two goals after missing a penalty on his 450th appearance in the JD Cymru Premier.
Match photos can be seen here