2 - 1
Bala Town FC vs Connah's Quay Nomads
JD Cymru Premier
Wednesday 26th December 2018 | 2:30pm
Maes Tegid, Bala | Attendance: 254
Connah’s Quay Nomads were defeated by Bala Town by two goals to one on Boxing Day at Maes Tegid in the JD Welsh Premier League.
Two early goals from Sean Smith and Henry Jones sent Bala ahead, before a Rob Hughes goal in the 25th minute brought Nomads back into the encounter.
The Nomads came into the Boxing Day game having spent Christmas Day at the top of the JD Welsh Premier League, following a 6-1 win over Cardiff Metropolitan University FC at Deeside on Saturday afternoon.
Andy Morrison elected to start an unchanged lineup, which included Michael Wilde who was seeking more goals after bagging a hat trick in The Nomads’ resounding win over the Students. Jonny Spittle, Nathan Woolfe, and Rob Hughes all started on the bench.
Bala Town, who had previously enjoyed a similar high-scoring game in a 7-1 victory over Llanelli, also announced an unchanged eleven which included the league’s top scorer, Steven Tames.
The game began and it was Bala who came out fastest, with Henry Jones and Steven Tames both chasing down balls in the Nomads area in the first and second minutes respectively.
The Nomads had their first effort on four minutes when a Ryan Wignall half volley was caught comfortably by Bala keeper Ashley Morris.
But in the seventh minute, Bala found the breakthrough via ex-Nomad, Sean Smith, who took advantage of a misplaced pass from Wignall and ran into the area to finish from around 10 yards out.
Buoyed by their goal, Bala kept on the pressure at The Nomads’ end, with Henry Jones hitting the side netting after a well worked move on 12 minutes.
Three minutes later Jones made no mistake from close range to make it 2-0 to the home side. After a mis-hit clearance from John Danby, a Sean Smith shot was blocked by George Horan only for the ball to bound towards the goal line where Jones sent it in.
Shocked by two early goals from the Lakesiders, the Nomads faced a big challenge to get back into the game in search of a positive result.
In the 16th minute, Nomads won a free kick just five yards from the edge of the Bala area, but Bakare’s chipped effort went over keeper Morris’ goal.
With 22 minutes played, Nomads’ hopes of getting back into the game hung in the balance when Bala were awarded a penalty after a foul on Tames from John Disney.
Henry Jones stepped up to make it 3-0, but a low save to the left from John Danby denied him and kept Nomads in the encounter.
With nearly 30 minutes played, Andy Morrison made a tactical substitution, bringing Rob Hughes on in place of Michael Wilde as they looked to gain control of the midfield.
And the change paid off in style, when in the 35th minute, Hughes sent a 25 yard cross-come-shot into the Bala area, which took a deflection off Nathan Burke to go into the bottom left corner of the Bala net.
The goal gave Nomads a much needed boost, as they went on to finish the first half in a much stronger position with more possession in the midfield.
Bala again created an early chance after the restart in the second half, with Tames going just seven yards from the Nomads’ goal to be blocked by a sliding challenge from George Horan in the 45th minute.
The Nomads won a corner after good work from Wignall and Wilson in the 49th. The set piece went out for a second consecutive corner, which was then countered by Bala before Disney ended their run with a defensive pass to Danby.
On 54 minutes Nomads thought they’d brought the game level after Andy Owens sent a Rob Hughes cross in from close range, but the goal was disallowed due to offside.
With an hour played, the game was becoming increasingly tight, with both sides seldom creating a clear cut chance thanks to equally well drilled defences.
After 65 minutes, Nomads managed to win throw ins deep in the Bala half, with a long delivery from Andy Owens on 67 minutes nearly conjuring an equaliser.
From the throw, George Horan rose up and headed against the crossbar, with the ball rolling across the woodwork before going out.
With 20 minutes to go, Nathan Woolfe entered the field in place of Michael Bakare, as Nomads’ search for an equaliser intensified.
They again went close in the 72nd minute, when Ashley Morris made a low save to deny Ryan Wignall from eight yards after a free kick from Wilson was floated into the Bala area.
As the final stage of the game approached, Nomads’ efforts in front of goal were still to no avail. A long throw in from Owens was pushed away by GK Morris on 77 minutes, with a goalmouth scramble from a Woolfe free kick being eventually sent over by Callum Morris two minutes later.
In the 84th minute, John Danby sprung into action to deny Bala when Henry Jones went clear in front of goal from seven yards out with a low save to his left. A minute later, he was again there to block a cross from Jones which swung close to his goal.
With five minutes of normal time remaining, Nomads’ final substitution saw Jonny Spittle replace George Horan.
With time running out, Nomads continued to go forward at the Bala end, with Michael Parker being found offside as he tried to reach an Andy Owens cross into the area, before Nathan Woolfe sent a 18 yard effort over the goal on 87 minutes.
There was late drama at the death of the game, as Bala’s Tames was shown a red card after receiving a second yellow for a kicking the ball away after the offside flag had gone up.
Nomads had a one man advantage, but only four minutes of additional injury time to try and make it count.
They won a free kick in the 93rd minute which was dealt with by Bala, before their last chance was headed onto the roof of the net by Andy Owens.
Full time confirmed a Bala victory, and Nomads’ first league loss in eight games.
The result sends them second in the JD Welsh Premier League, with their next game on New Year’s Day at Deeside Stadium for a 2:30pm kick off.
Match report by Will Catterall
1. John Danby
2. John Disney
5. George Horan
3. Laurence Wilson
17. Michael Parker
7. Ryan Wignall
12. Declan Poole
8. Callum Morris
22. Michael Bakare
10. Andy Owens
9. Michael Wilde
26. Eric Merner
4. Jonny Spittle
11. Nathan Woolfe
14. Jack Kenny
16. Jay Owen
21. Rob Hughes
The Nomads' Goalscorers
Bala Town's Scorers