TWO clinical strikes from on loan striker Dean Ebbe saw Bala Town through to the Welsh Cup Semi Finals on Saturday (Feb 19), at the expense of Aberystwyth Town.
Cymru Premier Player of the Month Harry Franklin threatened a comeback with a stunning 85th minute strike and Aber went so close to taking the game to penalties in a thrilling climax, but it was not to be.
Despite inclement weather on the journey up, the sun came out for the kick off at Maes Tegid on a wintery day. Harry Franklin showed some early trickery and Jon Owen fired wide, as Aber made a decent and composed start, passing the ball nicely across the 3g surface.
Ebbe glanced a header wide for the hosts before Alex Darlington’s free kick was deflected to safety, with Aber unsuccessfully claiming a foul in the box.
At the other end Anthony Kay had a volley blocked before Ollie Shannon volleyed over. Lee Jenkins headed Matty Jones’ free kick wide, and Louis Bradford’s cross cum shot dropped wide of the far post with the visitors competing well.
2016 Euro Hero David Edwards’ free kick was gathered by Alex Pennock in Aber’s goal, but then just before the break Shannon had another volley deflected onto the cross bar, and Ebbe was there to nod in the rebound to ensure that, harshly, Aber were a goal down at the break.
Into the second half and Edwards was once again denied by Pennock, while at the other end Jamie Veale lobbed just over the bar.
Jon Owen turned his marker and crossed in but sub Jonathan Evans couldn’t quite get to it, then just past the hour the deadly Ebbe found space down the right channel, chased in on goal and slotted the ball into the bottom corner for a killer second.
Sean Smith had an effort deflected for a corner, and Edwards went close again, but then back came Aber for a dominant last quarter of an hour. Veale’s cute ball in was perfect for Evans to send in a goalbound header, only for home keeper Alex Ramsey to pull off an astonishing tip over to protect Bala’s lead.
Sub Ben Wynne then had a right wing shot blocked, and Owen’s effort off the rebound was cleared off the line.
Thorn’s looping header was gathered by Ramsey, then with five to go another cute ball from Veale was cleared to Franklin, who scored with a stunning right footed volley from the edge of the area which finally breached the dam.
The lively Evans was then picked out down the right channel, but his goalbound shot was saved by Ramsey, and the hosts held on.
Will Evans was denied by Pennock at the other end in injury time, and Bala saw the game out, when brave Aber could argue they deserved a shot at a penalty shoot out at least.