The New Saints denied 'triple treble' as Bala Town strike late to win Welsh Cup

Reporter:

Barrie White

THE NEW SAINTS were denied a 'triple treble' as two second-half goals gave Bala Town their first ever Welsh Cup at Bangor City with a 2-1 win.

Greg Draper gave TNS the lead ten minutes into the second half but sub Jordan Evans levelled before Kieran Smith headed home the winner.

Jamie Mullan had the first sight at goal on five minutes after some fine build-up play with Adrian Cieslewicz, but Ashley Morris saved low down to his right.

It was Mullan who was the main danger for TNS in the early exchanges, again getting behind Bala's back line but the 29-year-old's drilled low cross found no-one.

It was all TNS in the opening stages as Jon Routledge tested Morris from 20 yards, but the Bala keeper was equal to the challenge and made a fine save.

Bala skipper Chris Venables had a strong shout for a penalty on 15 minutes as Steve Saunders appeared to barge him in the back, but referee Huw Jones said no.

The Lakesiders found their feet and on 17 minutes, Lee Hunt's acrobatic effort from eight yards out was turned aside by Paul Harrison.

Cieslewicz made his real impact on the game on 21 minutes, controlling Aeron Edwards's deep corner and firing towards Morris, who saved comfortably.

Morris was the busier of the two keepers and he made an outstanding save from Greg Draper's superb diving header on 23 minutes, clawing the ball away with a firm right hand.

Harrison was tested a minute into the second half when he punched away Anthony Stephens's superb free-kick from five yards out.

Chris Marriott came closest to breaking the deadlock on 55 minutes, his fine free-kick after Ryan Brobbel was fouled cannoning back off the bar. 

But TNS took the lead seconds later, Draper tapping home from six yards out into an empty net when Morris failed to gather the ball and Saunders squared for the New Zealand internation to score.

Cieslewicz showed his class on 62 minutes, brilliantly turning John Irving before driving at goal but Morris beat his firmly-struck effort away.

Mullan nearly doubled TNS's lead on 70 minutes with a superb turn and volley from but Morris stood tall to save with his feet. 

Bala levelled on 77 minutes as TNS backed off and it was substitute Evans who fired in from the edge of the box and the ball crept past Harrison via a Connell Rawlinson deflection.

Bala took the lead five minutes before the end; TNS failed to defend the cross from the right and Smith headed home past Harrison.

Saunders was denied at the last by Morris as Bala held on firmly to win their first-ever Welsh Cup and record a famous victory.

See full story in the County Times

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