Keeper’s Euro adventure
WELSH Premier League club Bala Town continue their European adventure this week with Gwent goalkeeper Ashley Morris dreaming of a clash with his beloved Swansea City.
The part-timers from north Wales marked their first foray into European competition by defeating seven-time Estonian champions FC Levadia Tallinn in the Europa League first qualifying round first leg last week.
They beat the Estonia League leaders 1-0 in front of a crowd of around 1,200 in Rhyl thanks to Ian Sheridan’s third minute goal.
And Tredegar-born goalkeeper Morris is confident of keeping another clean sheet in the second leg in Tallinn tomorrow, putting the Lakesiders one step closer to a potential third qualifying round clash with the Swans.
“It was an historic game for Bala last week as it was the club’s first European match and the atmosphere was superb,” said Morris, who kept out the Estonians less than a week after recovering from a broken hand.
“I broke my hand in the Europa League play-off final against Port Talbot in May and I only had the cast off on the Wednesday before the game the following Tuesday,” explained the 28-year-old former Llanelli stopper.
“I only had two training sessions before the first leg so I was thrown in at the deep end a bit, but luckily I did OK.
“I’ve played in Europe before with Llanelli so I was able to help some of the younger players through it but it was still exciting for me.
“If we can keep it tight at the back I think we should be able to edge through in Tallinn because they don’t score a lot of goals.”
When he’s not between the sticks Morris works as a mechanic for his stepfather so he has no worries about getting time off work for the match.
“He’s pretty good,” added the former Wales under-21 international. “I’ve got a few days off and I’m looking forward to the trip.
“If we get through this one I think we’ll be facing a Romanian side and after that the big names enter in round three.
“As a Swansea fan I’d love to play at the Liberty. That would be a dream come true really.
“We’ve had a lot of media interest over the last week with Sky Sports, BBC and ITV all coming down. If we played Swansea it would be unbelievable.”
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