Kieran Smith scored the opener
BALA Town picked up their first away win of the season at the expense of Port Talbot Town, who fell to a 2-0 defeat on Sunday.
An unspectacular encounter proved to be almost as grim as the heavy rain clouds that loomed over the GenQuip Stadium for the duration of an afternoon which leaves Port Talbot with just three points from three successive home matches.
The repeat fixture of last season’s Europa League play-off final saw Port Talbot chasing the game early on, when the visitors forged a 10th-minute lead.
Kieran Smith slide in ahead of defender James Bloom to prod in Mark Connolly’s inviting cross from the left.
Port Talbot were stung again, deep into second-half added time, when Mark Jones added the finishing pieces of a Bala
break-away to leave Scott Young bemoaning his side’s performance at both ends of the field.
“We had a lot of possession and we created a lot of half-chances but we definitely need to be more ruthless at both ends of the pitch, our 18-yard box and theirs,” he said post-match.
“[Our form] is worrying with the players and strike force we’ve got but we need to start finishing these half-chances off and scoring goals again.
“The important thing for us at the moment is to get the first goal. When we get the first goal we don’t lose games and over the last 12 months or so, if we score first, we don’t lose. But the most disappointing aspect of our play today was that we conceded two goals off our own set-plays and it’s the little things like this which are causing us big problems.”
The game had been yet to settle when Smith put Bala ahead and the opening twenty minutes saw both teams go forward, though either side lacked quality in their end product.
Port Talbot showed promise down the flanks as David Brooks and Sacha Walters were both able to work the ball into the area.
Brooks found space at the byline to deliver a low cross which Bala keeper Ashley Morris quickly claimed at his near post, while Walters’ delivery found its way to Lewis Harling via Rhys Griffiths’ flick-on, before the Town midfielder was quickly closed down.
Successive corners saw Port Talbot gain momentum as the opening period drew to a close and Morris defiantly used his feet to keep out a stinging effort after Sacha Walters dribbled his way into the goalmouth.
Another good chance passed for the Steelmen and after Griffiths flicked-on Lee John’s deep cross, Walters’ header floated over the bar to the relief of Morris, who send scrambling across his goal line.
Despite Walters’ opportunity, Bala will have been pleased with the start to the second-half however and Colin Caton’s side showed their own attacking intentions, with Mark Jones striking the ball wide and Steffan Edwards did well from the left to angle a menacing cross into the box but the ball went out of play unchallenged.
Scott Young called on his bench to improve his side’s fortune with Sam O’Sullivan and Martin Rose both coming on, as Port Talbot switched a more attacking 4-4-2.
The introduction of Rose , alongside Griffiths, saw Port Talbot match Bala’s direct approach.
On 76-minutes, James Bloom saw his free-kick from 20 yards, curl and clip the cross bar as Bala held firm as Port Talbot applied sustained pressure.
And Bell, within moments of coming on, almost made an immediate impact but stabbed Rose’s cut-back past the post, with just five minutes remaining.
Worryingly, Bala appeared just as likely to score on the break as Port Talbot did to equalising.
Former Aberystwyth forward Lewis Codling was able to beat the offside trap but hooked his shot wide when under pressure from Ryan Green.
But Port Talbot’s fears were realised soon after when Mark Jones finished into the bottom right corner after Green had lost possession on the edge of the box, as the Blues attempted to recover from Bala’s break up-field.