A HAT-TRICK by Bala striker Lee Hunt, the third just a minute from time, broke Monmouth hearts in this pulsating Welsh Cup tie in front of a large crowd at the Blestium Street Sportsground.

The so-called minnows from the Monnow could and maybe should have won the tie themselves, but Nick Harrhy’s late attempt rolled agonisingly wide, followed just a few minutes later by Hunt’s match-winning volley.

Bala arrived in fifth place in the Welsh Premier and skippered by former Welsh international Mark Jones.

Town were without suspended skipper Jack Alderdice, Sam Palmer and defender Ben Evans but 18- year-olds Fessey and Compton came in to partner Andrew Smith in a completely remodelled midfield.

After a cagey opening, Bala looked sharper but Town stuck at it and took the lead.

A corner was cleared to Ford who headed back into the danger area and Guy stooped to flick his header into the bottom corner.

The joy didn’t last long, however, as Hunt rose to glance his first from a corner and just three minutes later Collins waltzed into the box before being upended, Hunt beating Blackburn from the spot.

Within ten minutes of the restart it looked like any remote chance had evaporated when Laurie was sent off for his second booking.

But Town took the game to Bala and managed to equalise.

Harrhy’s shot was well saved but Morris MacDonald pounced to net the rebound.

For the next twenty minutes the game swung back and fore before Harrhy’s shot rolled inches wide and then Hunt struck his third and the winner.

Joint Monmouth manager Barry Burns said: “I’m really proud of the lads.

They were magnificent, every one of them.

“This was no fluke underdog performance.

We’ve been building for years now and we’ve got a proper team playing decent stuff.”

Town return to Welsh League action at home to Bryntirion Athletic