Connah’s Quay Nomads put three past Bala in top of the table clash
Connah’s Quay Nomads defeated Bala Town by three goals to one on Tuesday evening in a highly anticipated JD Cymru Premier clash at Maes Tegid.
Raul Correia sent the hosts ahead in the first minute, but a professional performance saw Nomads equalise via George Horan before claiming victory with second half goals from Callum Morris and Craig Curran.
The game was billed as a top of the table clash, and a crucial one for Nomads who were looking to extend their three point lead at the top of the JD Cymru Premier table.
It followed their hard fought goalless draw at Penybont on Saturday afternoon, which extended their unbeaten run to eleven games, while hosts Bala hadn’t lost in 14 consecutive fixtures.
Andy Morrison made only two changes to his side, introducing Neil Danns and Aron Williams back into the starting line up in place of Craig Curran and Johnny Hunt, who started on the bench.
His counterpart Colin Caton meanwhile started the likes of Chris Venables and Ollie Shannon as well as ex-Nomads Sean Smith and Jonny Spittle in defence.
The game got off to the worst possible start for Nomads, as after just one minute of play, a surging move from the midfield saw Raul Correia fire home to stun Nomads early on.
But Bala’s lead would only last a matter of minutes, as Aron Williams sent a corner ball in which was flicked on by Wilde, with Horan getting just enough contact on it to claim the goal and bring the game level.
Nomads had bounced back and proceeded to take up lots of possession in the Bala half, where they were winning a series of set pieces.
This was seen through Danny Davies and Declan Poole who were both winning free kicks on the wings, and swinging threatening balls in to keep the pressure on the Lakesiders.
And their efforts nearly paid off, when on 20 minutes a Danny Davies free kick only seven yards from the Bala area took a deflection, and had to be pushed over the crossbar by the fingertips of keeper Alex Ramsay.
After another free kick from the left wing via Davies, Bala launched a counter in the 26th, but this was thwarted by a Declan Poole challenge for which he saw a yellow card.
With 30 minutes gone, Nomads were continuing to target the Bala end and dealing with Bala’s staggered counter attacking moves.
One of the host’s best chances came in the 38th, when leading league goalscorer Chris Venables took control of the ball just outside the box, but had his shot blocked.
Connah’s Quay maintained their tempo for the remainder of the half, but couldn’t find the lead before the half time whistle and prepared for another battling 45 minutes to come.
The second half resumed where it had left off, as Bala and Nomads locked horns again quickly. The first chance after the interval came in the 51st, when Wilde was denied his 200th league goal by Ramsey, who pushed his header from six yards away.
Danny Davies was also back in the thick of the action, having attempts in the 53rd and 58th, but both went wide despite his threatening runs causing problems for the Bala defenders.
After the hour mark, Andy Morrison made a double substitution, bringing off Neil Danns and Aron Williams in place of Craig Curran and Sameron Dool.
Then in the 65th, referee Tom Owen pointed to the spot after Wilde was brought down in the Bala area. Regular penalty taker Callum Morris stepped up, and made no mistake with a powerful drive into the left of the goal to give Nomads a 2-1 lead.
Connah’s Quay were now in front, but were soon dealing with another challenge as Dool went down injured after a clash with a Bala defender only 10 minutes after his introduction.
He tried to continue after treatment, but was forced off with injury, leading to Andy Morrison handing recent signing Doug Tharme his debut.
Defender Tharme was soon involved, as Nomads looked to shutdown Bala’s push for an equaliser as the game entered its latter stages.
In the 77th, they won a free kick in a dangerous position in the final third, but this was cleared away by John Disney. On 80 minutes, Ollie Shannon set up a shot on the edge of the Nomads’ area, but Danny Harrison made a vital tackle to stop him and earned a yellow card.
The resulting free kick hit the wall, with Nomads doing enough to clear the danger as the game entered its final five minutes of play.
In the 85th, Craig Curran went on a run and won a free kick when he was fouled by Jonny Spittle, who was booked by referee Tom Owen.
This free kick would prove fruitful for Connah’s Quay, as a pin point delivery from John Disney was headed down into the Bala goalmouth by Wilde, allowing Craig Curran to slide the ball in and make it 3-1 to Nomads late on.
Bala were then dealt a further blow, as they were reduced to ten men when Jonny Spittle was shown a second yellow for a foul on the halfway line.
With a commanding lead and one-man advantage, Andy Morrison made his fourth change of the evening which brought another debut, this time for Tom Moore who replaced Danny Harrison in injury time.
Full time sealed an impressive win for Nomads, who remain top of the league after ending Bala Town’s 14 game unbeaten run.
They will now prepare for another JD Cymru Premier clash against in-form Haverfordwest County on Saturday 20th March for a 2:30pm kick off at Deeside played behind closed doors.
Match report by Will Catterall
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