A classic at the Rock last night. Plenty of goals, action and drama but it ended 5-3 to Bala Town after Druids were forced to finish the game with 9 men.
We went into last night’s match looking for a reaction following a poor performance at Penybont the week before. Druids were without defender Phil Mooney due to suspension, so 16-year-old academy graduate Dan Cabral stepped in at centre half alongside Tyler Garratt. Emmanuel Agyemang also came back into the side after recovering from injury and captain Michael Jones returned between the sticks.
The match kicked off under the lights at The Rock and Druids got off to the best start possible. Less than 5 minutes in, we won the ball in our half and broke on Bala through Joe Faux on the right wing. He drove forward, cutting inside onto his left foot and found the top corner with his strike, to put us 1-0 up early on!
Druids, aiming to stay in the game until the half, began to sit back deeper and deeper as Bala got more and more balls into our box looking for an equaliser. Minutes before halftime, frustration for Druids as Bala got their breakthrough. A loose ball on the edge of the area was struck by forward Will Evans through a host of bodies and crept in at the near post. Then moments later Bala took the lead through captain Chris Venables. What looked like a foul on Liam Buckley by the opposition player was waved on by the referee. The cross came in and ended up finding Venables in the box who turned and found the bottom corner. Two goals in a matter of two minutes saw us now go into halftime 2-1 down.
We came out for the second 45 still in the game and looking to equalise early on. However less than two minutes into the half, Bala had their third and took control of the game. Getting in down the left wing, a cut back to midfielder Ollie Shannon was finished first time into the far corner to put our opponents 3-1 up.
However, the match was far from over at this point. More fireworks occurred just before 60 minutes. Charley Edge followed through on a 50/50 challenge with a Bala midfielder and a big clash broke out between both sets of players and coaches. The referee showed red to Edge and Yalany Baio after discussions with his assistants. Another poor blow for Druids who were now forced to play the final 30 minutes with 9 men.
Bala enjoying the majority of possession now as Druids were putting a big shift in to try and get back into the game. However, Dave Edwards made it 4-1 to our opponents, heading in from a cross shortly after. Druids still fighting though and somehow got one back with 9 men. Joe Faux got the ball on the left wing, his low cross found Liam Buckley at the far post who finished first time to make it 4-2. It was back and forth at this point as the game came to a close. Dave Edwards got one more for Bala before 9 men Druids somehow scored again. Mitchell Williams pressed and won the ball off the Bala keeper after a heavy touch and finished into the empty net.
A classic at The Rock and very entertaining for the neutral, but unfortunately it finished 5-3 to Bala Town. The red cards for Charley Edge and Yalany Baio will be a tough blow for Druids heading into our double header with TNS on Boxing Day and New Years Day. However, we carry on and would like to wish our fans and followers a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. We appreciate your ongoing support and will be back at The Rock on New Years Day against neighbours and league leaders TNS.
More than just a football club.