Friday 8th November
Aberystwyth Town 0 Bala Town 5
Park Avenue’s highest crowd of the season – 587 – saw Aber endure a torrid evening last night as visitors Bala Town moved into the Top Three with a 5-0 win. Goals from Henry Jones (29 minutes) and Louis Robles (44) gave the visitors a flattering two goal lead at the break, but Bala dominated the second half and were good value for further strikes from Chris Venables (71 and 82 minutes), and Robles (77 mins).
The match was precede by a Club Showcase as each of Aber Town Academy’s age groups teams, plus their Ladies Development and Disability teams played on the pitch – which also hosted a “Huddle” to encourage girls to play. With almost 250 young players and their parents in attendance it was wonderful to see the 3G in full use, and an exciting pre match atmosphere was created. Manager Mathew Bishop named a rare unchanged team, but Bala started on fire, going close and forcing a couple of early corners. Aber then responded well, earning a couple of corners themselves before Captain Marc Williams dinked a sweet ball which Tom Price just failed to reach; Williams himself then scooped a shot wide. In a high paced game Aber’s Adam Hughes headed Wes Baynes’ free kick wide, and after a buccaneering run Lee Jenkins fed Mathew Jones on the left, whose cross found Joe Phillips, but visiting keeper Josh Tibbets saved his goalbound header at the back post. Sean Smith skewed a shot wide but with the hosts trying to play progressive football and creating chances they seemed to be in a good place. Robles however was menacing for Bala: Hughes had to make one vital clearance and Jones kneed another attempt over the bar. Then a swift Bala breakaway saw Venables feed Jones, and he slid the clinical Lakesiders into the lead. This set back did not deter the Seasiders who responded when Mathew Jones’ corner was headed goalwards by Marc Williams, only for Tibbets to pull out a miraculous point blank save onto the crossbar, which confusingly resulted in a goal kick. Tom Price sent in a dangerous cross which somehow evaded everyone, then Phillips’ trickery down the left won Aber a corner. Under pressure Tibbets dropped the ball but Aber couldn’t capitalise – but after the onslaught Venables broke well down the right, only to be denied by Connor Roberts, and Robles headed home from Nathan Burke’s corner to give the half time scoreline an exceedingly harsh tint from an Aber perspective.
Bala started well again in the second half and it was clear that the third goal would decide the final momentum of the match. Baynes crossed for Williams to bring another save from Tibbets, and then at the other end Venables scored with a header – but was adjudged to be offside. Joe Phillips fired wide from the edge of the area and with Baynes’ expert delivery causing consternation in Bala’s defence the match was still far from being decided. The visitors ended commandingly however. Connor Roberts twice saved from Jones, and despite Williams heading wide from Jones’ cross, a third Bala goal was coming: and Venables delivered the coup de grace with a stunning curled effort into the top corner which decided the game with twenty minutes yet to play. Robles made it four with a volley from the edge of the area and with Aber looking vulnerable Venables snaffled his second and Bala’s fifth from close range after the ball rebounded off the cross bar, with eight minutes left. Roberts saved late efforts from Steve Leslie and Mike Hayes and in truth the Black and Greens were glad to hear the final whistle.
Sharp and decisive Bala look every inch a Top Three side last night and despite a competitive first half performance, Aber faded badly in the second half, and will need to play an awful lot better next Friday if they are to get anything from an away trip to The New Saints. Despite the defeat the Black and Green remain in ninth place in the JD Cymru Premier. Keep the Faith!