Why Bala Town must deliver silverware this season after reaching Welsh Cup last eight
Bala Town advanced to the last eight of the JD Welsh Cup on Saturday, but is the pressure on them to win the tournament this season given their disappointing league position?
The North Wales side know that they stand just three victories away from a second Welsh Cup title, and their focus may be sharpened even more after their performances in Phase One means a challenge for the top three looks improbable.
League position belies star quality
With players like top-flight leading scorer Steven Thames, Chris Venables and Henry Jones at their disposal, you could be forgiven for wondering how the Lakesiders are heading into Phase Two in sixth place.
Striker Tames has netted 17 goals in the league so far this season, while Jones and Venables have netted 16 goals between them. Players of this calibre ought to be winning trophies of some description.
Colin Caton’s side were knocked out of this season’s Nathaniel MG Cup after a narrow 1-0 loss to Connah’s Quay Nomads, and will have viewed the tournament as a good opportunity to add to the trophy cabinet.
The Maes Tegid outfit have quality throughout their squad, whether it’s Danny Gosset in midfield, Anthony Miley in defence or Ashley Morris in goal, they have experienced top-flight players who will surely be frustrated with their performances in Phase One.
Rise of others leaves risk of being left behind
One of the main positives to come from the first phase of this season’s Welsh Premier League is the rise of the Barry Town United and Newtown, who finished seventh and eighth respectively last season.
The rise to prominence of these two sides have put Bala, who arguably have a stronger squad in comparison, at risk of being left behind.
Cardiff Metropolitan and Caernarfon Town must also be included in this conversation. The Archers claimed their maiden cup title after winning the Nathaniel MG Cup, after missing out in last season’s final.
The Cofis currently find themselves fifth in their first season back in the top flight, ahead of Bala on goal difference.
Colin Caton’s team need to be careful that they are not left in the wake of these sides, who are threatening to shift the balance in Wales’ top flight league.
Past success shows they are capable
It must not be forgotten that the Lakesiders lifted the JD Welsh Cup only two years ago, beating TNS 2-1 in the final at Nantporth.
This success, coupled with their consistent high finishes in the league shows that they are more than capable of challenging for silverware.
It was hoped that the team would kick on after claiming their first Welsh Cup, however a fourth-placed finish in the league last season, 25 points behind eventual winners The New Saints.
Bala are next in action on Thursday evening, when they face The New Saints at Maes Tegid. The game will be streamed live on Sgorio’s Facebook page.
(Featured image: Naomi Jones of Bala Town F.C.)