|18th February 2017||2:30 pm||Welsh Premier League||2016/17|
Smith’s strike sends Lakesiders six points clear.
In the glorious early spring sunshine, Town took full advantage of Connah’s Quay’s free weekend and extend the gap between 2nd and 3rd to 6 points.
Bala had the perfect start, taking the lead after only three minutes of play. Thompson’s long throw came to Smith on the edge of the 18 yard box to drive the ball home through the melee of bodies in the box.
Town’s high tempo start saw further chances, Hayes’ strike took a deflection, Idzi was forced to save following a scramble in the box before Thompson’s ball allowed Smith to break but the forward wasn’t able to reach it before the goalkeeper.
Aizlewood’s men were physical and were making life difficult for Bala as their commanding defenders were making their presence felt but Town’s backline were staying strong and keeping the forwards quiet.
Idzi tipped a Bala delivery onto the crossbar before Stephens’ piledriver from 40 yards blazed over the woodwork minutes later.
A chance for the hosts came after half an hour when Griffiths found space but his shot was fired wide of the upright.
Half chances came to both teams towards the end of the half but Town took in their lead at the interval.
Town kept up their dominance in the second half. An early freekick after Irving was bundled over on the edge of the area led to Venables flicking the ball over from around 6 yards out.
On what was a tough surface Bala were playing some great football and putting pressure on the home side. A passage of play saw Wade force Idzi into a clearance after brilliant work by the Bala midfield.
Morris released the ball quickly before Carmarthen could organise themselves, picking out Smith who flicked it on to Hayes but he wasn’t able to capitalise.
Chances kept coming for Bala. Venables bundled the ball wide from close range after a Stephens delivery prior to Stuart Jones heading wide after a corner kick.
Town had the ball in the net when Smith broke though the defence but a late flag deemed his goal offside. A freekick to Town was swung into the area, Hayes got on the end of it but his shot was blocked before Smith’s follow up was denied from 6 yards.
Morris made a wonderful clearance off the line keeping Carmarthen at bay after a rare chance fell to them.
The Old Gold seemed as if they’d given up on the result with 20 minutes left to play and Bala looking more and more of a threat as the game went on.
New signing Jordan Evans came on to replace Hayes with 15 left on the clock and he was in the thick of the action straight away as he put a teasing ball into the area but no-one was able to meet it in time.
Deliveries kept coming into the area by Mark Jones, David Thompson and Wade but somehow Bala weren’t able to add to their tally even when they were camped in Carmarthen’s half.
Carmarthen put some late pressure in injury time and Morris was forced into a superb save with his feet to stop Liam Thomas from equalising.
Bala could’ve added a second in the final minute of three minutes of injury time when on the counter attack Ryan Wade took the ball 60 yards and beating Idzi but pulled his shot inches wide with an unmarked Mark Connolly available to square the ball to around the penalty spot.
Not a pretty game of football but an effective one with a hard working, solid team performance from the Lakesiders. A valuable three points travel back up to North Wales with full attention now on next Saturday’s Welsh Cup tie at Guilsfield.
Match photos by Arwel Jones