Report: Rovers defeat Bala Town in First Leg

Sligo Rovers defeated Bala Town on Thursday evening in a warm and sunny Park Hall Stadium at Oswestry, England.

Since the draw was made on June 14th, Bit O Red supporters have been plotting and planning their journeys and they travelled in large numbers to ensure a sea of red and white took over the stadium, set just outside the small village of Oswestry.

Manager John Russell made no changes to the side that defeated Shelbourne last weekend, but Garry Buckley returned to the bench in place of the injured Greg Bolger.

It wasn’t the best of start for Rovers, who fell behing on six minute. The ball broke on the edge of the box to winger Lassana Mendes who powered home a left footed strike past Edward McGinty.

This stunned Rovers and the Bit O’ Red sustained long periods of posession at the back and through midfield as we looked for an equaliser.

Max Mata hit the post following Will Fitzgerald’s cross from the left and soon later Rovers did score. Colm Horgan floated a great through ball over the top and in form Aidan Keena took it down, brought it onto his left food and lobbed it over the advancing Bala goalkeeper.

Keena tried his luck again soon after but his strike went over the crossbar and the sides were level at the break.

Rovers started the second half well and Niall Morahan picked up possession inside his own half before driving forward across the half-way line and finding Max Mata in behind, the New Zealander’s effort well saved by the goalkeeper and out for Rovers’ first corner of the half.

Adam McDonnell’s delivery was a dangerous one and the ball fell nicely to Mata who swept it home to put Rovers in front.

Rovers continued to keep large amounds of possession throughout the half and Keena tried his luck on a few occasions.

Bala were given a lifeline on 79 minutes. Defender Nando Pijnaker was dispossessed around 25 yards out from goal by Bala midfielder Dave Edwards. Edwards looked to be running through on goal but Pijnaker pulled him down and the referee gave him a straight red card.

Bala put on some pressure from there on in however McGinty was never seriously troubled and Sligo Rovers take a 2-1 lead into next week’s return leg at The Showgrounds.

Tickets are selling well and supporters are advised to buy in advance online via the link below: