Bala Town Reach Exacting Standard . . . As Opportunity Knocks For Welsh Club Trio

Bala Town Reach Exacting Standard . . . As Opportunity Knocks For Welsh Club Trio

By Matthew Burgess

The Welsh clubs left in the early stages of European competition may not have bagged the main prize but there is still much to look forward to in the next round of the Europa League.

Yesterday’s draw groupings made sure that a Welsh club weren’t going to be able to get a huge glamour draw – that honour eventually landed on the lap of Shamrock Rovers – who got the tie of the round after drawing Milan at home.

From a Welsh perspective however, we cannot be too disappointed and have reasons to be hopeful.

Two home draws out of three, and out of the three ties, two of which can be considered winnable for our clubs.

Bala Town were rewarded for their first ever European victory by pulling Standard Liege out of the hat.

The Belgians are not the force they once were on the continental stage, nor domestically, having finished fifth last season, but should certainly be superior to Bala in every department.


The occasion, however, will be a memorable one for the club that finished third in last season’s Cymru Premier. For them to now be rubbing shoulders with a club of such pedigree epitomises how successful their journey has been through the ranks of Welsh football under Colin Caton.

The fact the tie will be played behind closed doors does dampen the occasion slightly, but it cannot be helped, of course, and it will take nothing away from the players and staff at the club, for whom it will be a huge occasion.

The New Saints follow in the footsteps of Barry Town in journeying north to the Faroe Islands, but you would fully expect them to fare better than their rivals did in the previous qualifying round.

B36 Torshavn, currently third and a place above above NSI Runavik in their domestic league, possess a young squad entirely made up of Faroese players.


Logistical difficulties aside, The New Saints should be the stronger and more experienced team, which was the case in their previous tie with MSK Zilina.

Connah’s Quay have another home draw on the back of their frustrating defeat to FK Sarajevo in the Champions League qualifiers and host Georgia’s Dinamo Tbilisi.

Andy Morrison’s team will do well to replicate Dinamo’s previous visit to Wales, when a brace from Jordan Follows saw Llanelli defeat them 2-1 at Stebonheath back in 2014.




Dinamo are 10 games into their domestic season and, like the Nomads, drop into the Europa League qualifying stages after being eliminated from the Champions League qualifiers, where they were dealt a 2-0 home defeat to Tirana.

Dinamo Tbilisi will likely be a stern test for Connah’s Quay, but with positives to be taken from their encounter against Sarajevo, it’s not an impossible tie for the Nomads – especially with them not having to travel to Georgia.

With two teams being drawn at home and ties scheduled for Thursday 17 September, there will need to be consideration given to where the two home ties will be played. Neither Maes Tegid nor the Deeside Stadium are able to host games since they are not compliant with Covid-19 regulations.


Cardiff City Stadium was used successfully by the Nomads in their previous outing and with The New Saints’ Park Hall not being required, it’s possible that it could host Bala’s game with Standard Liege after it was used by Saints in their game with MSK last week.

All three clubs have something to look forward to going into these ties and they each will have had a competitive game under their belts with the Cymru Premier season starting the weekend before.

Second qualifying round ties involving British & Irish sides:

Inter Escaldes v DUNDALK

LINFIELD v Floriana


B36 Torshavn v THE NEW SAINTS



BALA TOWN v Standard Liege

Lokomotiv Plovdiv v TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR

Lincoln Red Imps v RANGERS



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.