Haverfordwest County have crashed out of the JD Welsh Cup after a 3-1 Round of 16 defeat at the hands of Bala Town at the Ogi Bridge Meadow Stadium.

Chris Venables scored a six-minute hat-trick as the visitors progressed to the quarter-finals of the cup.

Bala's number 25 got his first in the 54th minute, when Paul Rutherford's in-swinging free kick found the striker who headed home at the near post.

It was only two minutes later when while on the floor, Venables scrambled the ball into the corner of the goal at the far post from a cross.

And on the hour mark, he had claimed the match ball as Sean Smith's inch-perfect free kick from the halfway line connected with Venables who headed across goal into the far corner for his hat-trick.

Mason Jones-Thomas' perfectly placed ferocious shot into the top right corner cheered the crowd, but ended up being a mere consolation.

With Alhagi Touray Sisay out due to illness and Jazz Richards taken out of the starting XI at the eleventh hour, it was always going to be difficult for the home side.

Bala Town showed no mercy to the Bluebirds, as they controlled both halves, with County showing not much more than glimpses of dominating the game.

It was only three minutes into the game when the away side had their first chance, again through Venables, when his header was palmed away by Wojciech Gajda.

Steven Leslie saw his volley go over the bar in the first half, as David Edwards also had a soft header comfortably caught by Gajda.

The visitors' best chance in the first period came at the end of the half, when Oliver Southern's cross across goal was narrowly in front of Rutherford for a certain tap in.

The Bluebirds had very limited first half chances, the best of which was Jack Wilson's free kick from the wide right which was inches above the head of Ben Fawcett.

Half an hour into the match, Jones-Thomas cut it from the left-hand side, 35 yards out, but his venomous shot was just wide of Harri Lloyd's goal.

However, County came out the stronger side in the second half, and within the first minute, a sneaky backheel shot from Danny Williams had almost opened the scoring.

Jones-Thomas, cutting inside as he does so well only minutes later, ran into some space, but his weak effort was comfortably gathered by Lloyd.

Adding to the early second half pressure, Wilson put a cross in which again was narrowly too high, this time just over the head of Williams.

In this period however, the visitors almost opened the scoring when a corner found Venables, whose header smacked the post and deflected to Kieran Smith, who saw his shot blocked by Wilson.

After Venables had claimed the match ball, it was Bala who had the best chances, with Leslie twisting around the Bluebirds defence before curling his left-footed effort just over the bar, which would have made the score 4-0.

Bradley Bauress almost scored a fourth with his left-footed effort late on, but Gajda got down very well to stop the ball going into the bottom corner.

The final great chance fell to Venables and substitute Chris Sang, as the two ran towards Gajda's goal, but the substitute slipped and fell over the ball, allowing the Bluebirds to clear.

It's back to league action next weekend, as Haverfordwest County have three more successive home games, the first of which comes next Saturday against Cefn Druids.

HAVERFORDWEST COUNTY: Gajda, Williams, Scotcher (c), Jones (Humphreys 82'), Watts, Fawcett, Wilson, D Rees, K Rees, Jones-Thomas, Patten

Unused Subs: King, Lewis

BALA TOWN: Lloyd, Smith, Peate, Stephens, Smith, Leslie, Rutherford, Edwards (Sang 71'), Bauress (Walker-Rice 90'), Southern (Shannon 75'), Venables (c)

Unused Subs: Ramsay