IN a dramatic evening Newtown overturned a one goal first leg deficit to secure their place in the Europa Conference League second qualifying round but Bala just missed out.

Welsh international David Edwards had given the Lakesiders a real chance of going through to the second round with a goal in Ireland - before eventual defeat on penalties - while on this side of the Irish Sea it was was an emotional evening for Newtown as their departing star struck the priceless penalty in the shoot out.

The Robins had looked as if they would go through in the 90 minutes after a securing a 2-0 half time lead to be 2-1 up on aggregate having lost by just the single goal last week to HB Torshavn.

However a second half goal by the side from the Faroe Islands meant extra time and penalties would be needed to decide which would progress.

But in his final game for the club before leaving for the Canadian Premier League Lifumpa Mwandwe scored the decisive penalty to spark celebrations and secure a second qualifying round tie against Spartak Trnava of Slovakia.  

RESULTS: Europa Conference League first qualifying round

Newtown AFC 2 - HB Torshavn 1 (4 - 2 to Newtown AET and penalties)

Sligo Rovers 0 - Bala Town 1 (4 - 3 to Sligo AET and penalties)

Newtown's result is a massive shot in the arm for the Cymru Premier and Welsh football after TNS exited the Champions League qualifiers in heartbreaking fashion in Belfast on Wednesday night when they were just seconds away from going through.

It was also a perfect send off for Mwandwe whos transfer to Canadian Premier League side Halifax Wanderers had been announced just 24 hours before Newtown's biggest game of the season, which has yet to start on the domestic front.

Mwandwe, who joined Newtown on loan from nearby English Football League One side Shrewsbury Town in 2019, before making the move permanent last year, is due to jet off this week to join his new teammates in Nova Scotia.

But before heading to Atlantic Canada it was agreed, as part of the deal, the 21-year-old winger could play his final game for the Welsh side against the opponents from the North Atlantic.

Halifax had wished Newtown luck for the second leg tie and the Canadian club's new signing who got the goal Newtown hoped would put them through.

County Times: Lifumpa Mwandwe in action for Newtown during his 2019 loan spell. Picture: Phil BlaggLifumpa Mwandwe in action for Newtown during his 2019 loan spell. Picture: Phil Blagg

Henry Cowens had put the hosts, playing at TNS' ground in Oswestry as their Latham Park home didn't meet European standards, up on the night and level over the two legs. He opened the scoring on 35 minutes.

Ten minutes later, and just before half time, Mwandwe showed just why he has become a fan favourite in mid Wales and one of the most exciting players in the Cymru Premier, when he struck to put his soon to be former club in position to go through.

However Newtown were given a shock and a fright to start the second half as within two minutes Paetur Petersen pulled one back for the visitors, which meant the aggregate score was level and the tie was once more truly in the balance.


It would remain that way for the rest of the 90 and the additional time, meaning penalty kicks would be needed.

And it was Newtown who enjoyed the most success scoring 4 to HB  Torshavn's 2.

Following the game Mwandwe told S4C's Sgorio: "I don't know if you could write stuff like that.

"Contributed with a goal, winning pen. Honestly could not have signed off any way better."

On his move to Canada Mwandwe, who was presented with Newtown's 'player of the season award' before the game, said: "Yeah defo' sad to leave but leaving like this, with a memory like this, you can't really complain can ya? So it's good, a good way to win and good way to sign off. I'm so happy for the lads and wish them good luck in the second round."


Bala suffered a tough defeat at the Showgrounds in the north west of Ireland having entered the tie trailing 2-1 due to Rovers' victory at Park Hall last week.

But just after the half hour David Edwards, who also started his career with Shrewsbury Town before moving on to Wolves, struck to level the aggregate score.


But Bala couldn't add to the goal from Edwards, a member of Wales' squad that reached the semi-final of Euro 2016, and had to endure extra time and penalties and were the first side to miss in the shoot out.

Sligo will now play Scottish side Motherwell in the second round.

Despite exiting Champions League qualifying TNS remain in Europe and drop into the Europa Conference League where they will play Iceland's Víkingur Reykjavík. 

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