BALA Town made a swift return to action following their Europa League matches when they welcomed the Woverhampton Wanderers’ talented Under-23s squad for a friendly at Maes Tegid on Wednesday.
Goals by Niall Ennis, Will Randall and Ryan Rainey earned Scott Sellars’ side a 3-1 win, but Bala could take plenty positives from this useful work-out, in which victory was not sealed until stoppage time.
Bala made several changes from the side that had gone down 3-0 to FC Vaduz in the second leg of their Europa League qualifying tie in Liechtenstein, and several players were looking to impress.
Mike Hayes saw a shot turned away for a corner, but at the other end home keeper Craig Vernon pushed a away a shot from Will Randall, with Woves looking lively.
Good work by Randall then opened up an opportunity for Dan Armstrong, whose dipping shot was saved by Vernon.
Bala’s keeper was beaten in the 10th minute, however, as Niall Ennis took advantage of a poor clearance to by-pass the keeper and slot home into the empty net.
Armstrong was close to a second with a cross-shot that flashed across the face of goal and, when the winger took a corner in the 17th minute, Connor Johnson powered a header narrowly over the bar.
Even though Wolves had large spells of possession in the first half, Bala had their chances, with Kieran Smith curling wide
Wolves were then lucky not to concede a penalty when Johnson appeared to shove Hayes - and the mood of the home supporters wasn’t lifted when play swept to the other end for the visitors to score.
From a quick counter-attack down the right flank, Randall thumped the ball past Bala keeper Vernon from 20-yards out into the bottom left corner of the net, to put the Wanderers two goals to the good.
Vernon was the busier of both keepers and he made a superb save to turn away Donovan Wilson’s shot on the turn, but then Bala swept forward and a neat move saw Hayes’ drive turned into the side netting by Woves keeper Harry Beasley.
Hayes dragged wide another chance wide of the upright after going through one on one with the keeper, after summer signing Eddie Toner’s throughball.
The visiting keeper also dived full length to save a fierce drive from Toner, before Hakeem Odoffin ventured upfield and fired into the side-netting for Woves.
During the interval, Wolves changed their entire team, but it was a much improved performance from the Lakesiders.
A dipping volley from Ryan Valentine went narrowly wide of the far post, and Chris Venables’ cross caused problems as the Wolves backline scrambled clear.
At the other end Duckens Nazon tried his luck with a low shot from 25-yards that was saved by Bala’s custodian, with the game being played at a frantic pace.
A poor clearance from Vernon went straight to Nazon on the edge of the box, but the keeper atoned by denying the Dutch striker with a tremendous save.
Bala then got their reward in the 72nd minute when Ian Sheridan hooked the ball home at the far post, following a cross from Chris Venables, to halve the deficit.
Vernon saved from Jordan Allan and when an Elliot Watt free-kick from the edge of the penalty box found its way through the defensive wall, the home keeper was perfectly positioned to save.
He made another impressive stop from Nazon - but was finally beaten in the second minute of stoppage time as Rainey’s precision drive from 20-yards eluded the keeper’s outstretched hand and flew inside the post to complete the scoring.
BALA: Vernon, Valentine, Stephens, Owens, Bell, Venables, Toner (Burke 45), Trialist (Toner 78), Haye (Davies 66), Smith (Wade 45), Davies (Sheridan 45).Unused sub: Fisher. (Toner and Davies went back on after being substituted).
WOLVES: (1st half team): Beasley, Odoffin, Breslin, Finnie, Johnson, Leak, Armstrong, Herc, Wilson, Ennis, Randall. (2nd half team): Brown, Sealey-Harris, Sanderson, Osbourne, Goodliffe, Heredia, Rainey, Watt, Allan, Nazon, Whittingham.