Europa League: Cefn Druids 1-1 Trakai

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Europa League: Cefn Druids 1-1 Trakai

Aled Williams

Cefn Druids were denied a first win in Europe by Lithuanian side Trakai’s late goal in the first leg of their Europa League preliminary round tie.

James Davies gave Druids the lead early in the second half at New Saints’ Park Hall Stadium in Oswestry.

But Donatas Kazlauskas brought the visitors level five minutes from time with a crucial away goal.

Druids travel to Lithuania for the second leg on Thursday, 5 July.

The Ancients are appearing in Europe for only the second time in their history having qualified as Welsh Premier play-off winners in May.

Lithuanian international Kazlauskas had Trakai’s first chance of the game after five minutes, forcing Druids keeper Michael Jones into making a low save.

Druids went close themselves with Arek Piskorski firing over the crossbar and captain Neil Ashton heading wide.

Huw Griffiths’ side were looking comfortable against a team currently third in their domestic league and who had reached the third qualifying round last season.

Druids got off to the best possible start after the interval when Davies turned in Jordan Evans’ cross to beat Tomas Svedkauskas from close range.

Svedkauskas denied Davies’ curling effort while at the other end Dmitri Otstavnov fired tamely straight at Jones and Nathan Peate cleared a Kazlauskas shot off the line.

But Kazlauskas was not to be denied a minute later, finding the net with a scuffed shot as Trakai finished the game the stronger side.

Cefn Druids manager Huw Griffiths told BBC Wales Sport: “They’ve been magnificent and punched well above their weight. But to concede in the way we did, they’ve got to be disappointed.

“It’s a game we could have won it. The idea was to try and win the the game. We had a right go at them.

“I’m delighted and chuffed for the boys and disappointed at the same time.”

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