History making Lakesiders earn themselves a place in the Second Qualifying Round of the Europa League!

It was elation for the Lakesiders, as they progress through to the Second Qualifying Round of the Europa League for the first time in their history following their 1-0 win out in Malta against Valletta FC.

From the beginning, Bala were on the back foot with continued pressure from Valletta, as they had the first attempt on goal, which sailed over the bar.

Our New Number 9 Raul, snatched at the ball and pulled his shot wide just before the 10 minute mark.

Resilient defending from Stephens and Spittle denied Valletta a couple of clear cut chances, as Bala were pegged deep in their own half for the majority of the opening 25 minutes.

Valletta could of took the lead on 18 minutes, as their pacy winger latched onto a loose ball on the right hand side of the box, but his shot was too powerful for any of his team mates to get to.

Another brilliant block from Stephens to deny Valletta a shot on target, just before the water break.

A decent clip into the box by New Signing Will Evans, is headed well wide by Raul.

Ramsay was called into action on 37 minutes, as he gets down well to capture the ball from a Valletta shot.

After 40 minutes played, with nothing to seperate the 2 sides, a long ball up the pitch by Ramsay, which falls to Sean Smith who sets Leslie on his way to the byline, he hooks a left footed ball into the box, with 3 Bala players to aim for, Captain Venners runs in from the back post and hits the ball home past a helpless Valletta keeper! 1-0 to Bala, 5 minutes before the end of the half.

Valletta then had the opportunity to draw level just 2 minutes later, but the Valletta man heads just wide from the corner.

Into the break, and Bala were now just 45 minutes away from progressing to the Second Qualifying Round for the first time in their history!

The hosts were out early for the second half, raring to go and draw level.

2 minutes after the start of the 2nd half, Bala really should have doubled their lead, as Venables is clear through on the near side, with only one covering Valletta defender, but his attempted ball across to Will was well defended by the Valletta defender, and put the ball out for a corner.

Shouts for a penalty for Bala were waved away by the referee following a clear trip on Will deep inside the box, a corner is given instead.

The first caution of the evening went to Ramsay who was booked for time wasting.

Leslie had the chance to whip in a ball into the box, but his cross was smothered by the Valletta keeper.

Valletta then had a penalty shout of their own on the hour mark which was waved away by the ref, however a minute later the referee deemed Antony Kay’s tackle on the Valletta forward a penalty. Up steps the Valletta player, and it’s saved! Ramsay gets down to his right hand side and pushes the ball away! Still 1-0 Bala.

Valletta pick up a caution for a foul on Will on the far side, and then complete their 3 subs with still 22 minutes to go.

The ball was in the net for Valletta minutes later, but the linesman called for offside.

Bala’s first substitution of the night saw Steve Leslie replaced by Kieran Smith, with Kieran instantly involved in an attack, as he beats 2 defenders, shoots at goal but a Valletta defender is there to make a last ditch block.

More great defending from Stephens who intercepts a fierce cross into the box, and gives Bala a bit of respite with Raul down injured.

Second substitution for Bala, as Henry Jones replaces the injured Raul Correia.

With 10 minutes of normal time left, Ramsay comes and confidently punches the ball away from harms way.

Another yellow card brandished to Valletta for another foul.

An onslaught from Valletta in the last couple of minutes of normal time, as they push down the wings and try to whip in a cross.

Bala win a free kick on the far side in the Valletta half following a foul on Will, meanwhile the ref then brandishes a yellow card to Lee Molyneux on the bench.

Seconds later, the referee has his card out again, this time for Henry Jones for time wasting.

5 minutes of added time was announced, with Valletta still pushing for that equaliser, but their attempt on goal is dragged wide.

Last chance for Valletta to draw level was a free kick on the half way line, but the safe hands of Ramsay comes and collects.

The full time whistle went, with jubilation all around from the Bala players, staff and officials. Bala had done it, for the first time in our history, we were through to the Second Qualifying Round of the Europa League.

 

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