Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Bala aim to make it lucky 13 with win over Port Talbot

Bala Town and Port Talbot Town are gearing up to battle for a Europa League spot with the entire campaign boiling down to one last fight in South Wales this weekend.

Bala’s incredible 12-match winning streak since the mid-season split in the Welsh Premier League sees them on the cusp of European qualification.

They saw off defeated Welsh Cup finalists Bangor City 4-2 in the semi-finals of the Europa League play-off competition at the weekend, and will need an equally impressive performance in the final to overcome The Steelmen.

The Lakesiders’ secretary Ruth Crump hailed her side’s remarkable run, but said that there is still much more work to do as the team had “won nothing” yet.

She said: “We’ve won 12 on the bounce and it’s been a tremendous effort by all involved. This match is huge to the club in every way. Financially and everything it’s a dream come true.

“Winning is a brilliant habit and we’ve got to take this forward, but we understand what’s involved. We underachieved in the first phase but have turned it around. We’re not getting carried away yet though, and are not even mentioning the word Europe just yet!”

Yet the prospect of such a huge prize cannot be ignored, and should they triumph on the weekend Ms Crump admitted she would love to draw Swansea City after they sealed their own place there by lifting this year’s Capital One Cup.

“It would be special for me,” she added. “My aunt lived in the Mumbles and I spent many summers there growing up. Drawing a Premiership club would be huge for anyone.”

Port Talbot Town reached the final courtesy of a 1-0 win over Carmarthen Town last weekend in the other semi-final thanks to a David Brooks goal.

The Steelmen have had a successful time under the guidance of former Cardiff City star Scott Young this term, and their superior league position means they will have home advantage in the fight for a place in Europe.

They will be hoping that will mean a continuation of the league form in the first phase where Bala won 2-0 at Maes Tegid in October, but they won the reverse fixture at the GenQuip 2-0 in January.

The semi-final win over Carmarthen was watched by a rowdy home support, and chairman Andrew Edwards has called for a repeat this weekend as his side aim to be the second from the area to qualify for Europe this term after The Jacks.

He said: “The support leading up to, and during the [Carmarthen] game was absolutely magnificent, and it was great to see a good turn-out for such a crucial match.

“Now that we’re just one result away from qualifying for Europe, I ask football fans in the area [to] give us the same backing once again. European qualification would be a major achievement for the club, and one that the whole town can be proud of.”

League secretary Gwyn Derfel congratulated both clubs on reaching this stage, and cited Bala’s run to the final as a great incentive for teams in the Conference after the mid-season split to keep fighting to the conclusion as the team finishing top qualifies for the end-of-season event.

He said: “I hope that the Lakesiders’ charge to the final will give great confidence to any team which finds itself in the bottom six of the Welsh Premier League [after the mid-season split] next season.”

The huge occasion kicks off at Port Talbot’s GenQuip Stadium this Saturday at 3pm.


Post a Comment