THERE was nothing to choose between The New Saints and Bala Town, as the two sides played out a 0-0 draw at Park Hall on Saturday, March 6.
It was the home side who had the most chances, and the visitors the best, but ultimately neither The Saints nor Lakesiders were able to convert in those crucial moments.
Both goalkeepers were called into action in the early stages, making comfortable saves to deny efforts from Louis Robles and Antony Kay, but it was Alex Ramsay who was certainly the busier of the two in the opening period.
The Bala man needed to be alert to make two smart saves, first from Leo Smith in the 12th minute, then Danny Redmond six minutes later, as Scott Ruscoe’s side pushed for the opening goal.
Although denied on those occasions, The Saints continued to fashion chances and Simon Spender thought he’d given his side the lead with 24 minutes played when he fired home a close-range rebound. He looked to his right to see the offside flag raised though, and the goal was unfortunately ruled out.
Next, it was the turn of Adam Roscrow to work an opening, and the number 20 sent a shot narrowly high crossbar on his debut, before Raul Correia made a rare excursion forward for the visitors and stung the palms of Paul Harrison five minutes before the half-time break.
Ramsay was involved again throughout the second period, this time pulling off a good, low-down save to deny Spender at the back post.
In the hope of finding that elusive opening goal, Scott Ruscoe turned to his substitutes bench and made a double change, bringing on both Greg Draper and Jamie Mullan to replace Adam Roscrow and Louis Robles.
It was Adrian Cieslewicz who almost broke the deadlock just two minutes later though, but his curling effort landed on the roof of the net.
But for all of those TNS chances, it was the Lakesiders who come closest to breaking the deadlock with 13 minutes remaining. A free-kick from the right found an unmarked Chris Venables inside the penalty area, and the number 25’s header left Harrison rooted to the spot and almost snuck in at the far post.
Bala’s Ramsay made one final stop in second-half stoppage time, turning a point-blank header from Cieslewicz over the crossbar, before referee, Iwan Griffith, put his whistle to his mouth, and both sides were left to settle for a point.
TNS are back in action on Saturday, March 13 making the long trip to Pembrokeshire to face Haverfordwest County. Kick-off in that one is 5.15 pm.
Bala Town are also in action on that day as they visit Cefn Druids, kick off at 2:30pm.