|25th March 2017||2:30 pm||Welsh Premier League||2016/17|
Disjointed performance by Lakesiders but Hunt’s winner sends Town back up to 2nd.
Saturday’s game v Cardiff Met won’t be one of those to remember for the travelling Bala supporters but they won’t care one bit after a second half display ensured that the three points returned up north.
Not with a win under their belt in the Championship Conference, Met were quite a test for the Lakesiders and came blazing out of the blocks, putting pressure on from the outset.
Town’s defence were busy for the opening quarter of an hour as Lam and Corsby delivered countless crosses into the Bala box but the Town backline kept keeping the danger at bay.
The game opened up with Bala looking to play on the counter. Jordan Evans shook off his marker to pick out Wade who crossed into the box but was cleared by Black. A delivery by Thompson followed minutes later but again the ball was cleared away.
Next to test was Venables who flicked on his header at Smith but Fuller came out early to collect.
It was the home side that opened the scoring after 26 minutes as Chris Baker headed home unmarked at the backpost from a corner kick.
The goal saw Town perk up as the half continued but things weren’t properly clicking with passes going astray and play quite frantic in patches.
However, to Bala’s credit they brought proceedings level on the halftime whistle when Stephens’ swinging corner kick was flicked on and Venables headed the ball powerfully into the roof of the net and giving them something to work on in the second half.
5 minutes into the second period, the Archers retook the lead. Lam found space and curled a shot from the edge of the D which Morris brilliantly saved but Roscrow was quick to react and slot in the loose ball.
Met had a good spell again, Corsby’s opportunity was deflected out for a corner which was then headed unmarked wide of the upright by Swindlehurst.
Bala were back level again on the hour as the ball ping ponged around the box and eventually arrived at the feet of Jordan Evans who fired the ball into the net to notch his first goal for the Lakesiders.
A triple substitution following the goal saw Hayes, Sheridan and Hunt enter the fray.
Smith and Sheridan combined but the ball took too much power and ran away from them before Hunt sent a shot narrowly over the crossbar.
Morris was called into action and superbly cleared off the line to keep the scoreline level.
A cross from Venables was flicked wide from Hayes with Bala looking more of a danger in the final third and testing the Met’s defence on the counter attack.
The winner came on 78 minutes when Hayes initally flicked a header on intended from Smith but he outran his marker and produced a belter of a cross for Hunt to power a diving header past Fuller from 9 yards out.
A nervy final 12 minutes followed but Town kept their nerve to hold on for another valueable win to take them back up to second spot following a 90th minute Bangor City equaliser at Connah’s Quay.
Pretty? No. Lacklustre? Yes. But a crucial and resilient win that Town will be happy with going into the last three games of the season. The race for 2nd takes another twist…
Next week it’s Welsh Cup Semi Final day as Town travel to Belle Vue, Rhyl to face Caernarfon Town – kickoff 5.15p.m. Make sure you’re there to support!
Match photos by Arwel Jones