Cefn Druids 1-1 FK Trakai
A late strike from Donatas Kazlauskas denied Cefn Druids a first leg victory in their UEFA Europa League Preliminary Round clash with FK Trakai at Park Hall.
Druids more than matched the Lithuanian side in the first half, and could have gone ahead early after Arek Piskorski picked up a rebounding corner six yards out, only to fire over.
Trakai looked dangerous on the counter attack but some resolute defending at times from the Ancients’ back line kept the visitors' chances to a premium. Kazlauskas had the best chance of the half, peeling off nicely to create space on the edge of the Druids area, but his low shot was tame and easily collected by Michael Jones.
Three minutes after the restart Druids were in dreamland, new signing Jordan Evans crossing for Davies who opened his body up to sidefoot an effort goalwards. Trakai stopper Tomas Švedkauskas got a hand to it, but couldn't prevent it from going in.
Ryan Kershaw fired a 30 yard free-kick just over as Druids went in search of a second. Švedkauskas kept Trakai in the game with a fantastic save to deny Davies, whose curling effort seemed destined for the net.
The visitors greater match fitness levels began to show with time winding down, and Kazlauskas looked to have levelled with five to play, receiving the ball from Kabobola and making space in the Druids box to fire off a shot which beat Jones. Nathan Peate though cleared off the line to preserve the lead.
That only lasted a minute though, as Kazlauskas eventually got his goal, firing in off the post to send the teams into next week's second leg level.
Tre Fiori 3-0 Bala Town
Bala though had a night to forget as they lost 3-0 away at Tre Fiori of San Marino.
Three goals inside the first 36 minutes stunned the Lakesiders, Colin Caton’s side gifting the opening two goals to their hosts and a classy strike for the third finishing things off.
Caton named four debutants and five new signings in his starting eleven with one of them, Andy Mangan, having the first chance of the evening on six minutes but having failed to connect at the first time of asking, his second attempt was saved on the line by Fiori goalkeeper Giorgio Pizzolato.
Less than a minute later, a calamitous defensive error saw the hosts take the lead when Anthony Miley's back-pass from distance somehow beat his own keeper Ashley Morris.
On 32 minutes, another defensive error saw Tre Fiori double their lead. Morris’ clearance wide on the left went straight to striker Giamcomo Pracucci who drilled the ball into an empty net.
The Lakesiders were truly shell-shocked four minutes later as Mirco Vassallo struck a third from outside the box into the top corner.
Nine minutes after the break, the match was interrupted for over 20 minutes with floodlight failure, which added to the visitors’ frustration. After the restart, Bala exerted pressure but were continually thwarted by man of the match Pizzolato in the hosts’ goal.
Hope of an away goal grew when Pracucci was shown a straight red with ten minutes to play and Bala threw everything at Fiori in their attempts to get it.
Substitute Mike Hayes went down in the box and Chris Venables hit the underside of the bar from an acute angle in injury time, but Pizzolato’s goal remained unbroken, leaving the Lakesiders with a mountain to climb in next week's second leg in Rhyl.
Featured Image courtesy of Naomi Jones