KINMEL Bay made their return to action with a 5-3 friendly loss to Penmaenmawr Phoenix Reserves.

The NWCFA Tier 4 (East) Premier Division side are among plenty of clubs across the region growing increasingly frustrated by the lack of competitive fixtures as the Football Association of Wales ‘recreational’ tag on Tier 4 and below meaning they cannot yet apply for elite athlete status from Sport Wales.

The Bay fielded two 16-year-olds in their lineup and three new faces making their debuts, but they went down early when a penalty put the visitors one-up on the quarter-hour mark.

They managed to restore parity to the scoreline soon after when Chris Buchanan marked his first appearance for the club with a sensational finish with 20 on the clock.

A dubious offside decision saw Phoenix regain the upper hand on 28 minutes, and things went from bad to worse for the Bay with a missed penalty with 34 gone after Josh Jones was brought down in the box.

Teenager Oliver Gray’s work rate as causing the visiting rearguard a significant amount of difficulty during the latter stages of the first half, and this brought around a second Bay goal on 42 minutes when Buchanan dispatched his second of the afternoon.

Phoenix got their noses in front for a third time during the final moments of the first period with their second penalty of the contest, and they doubled their advantage on the hour mark with an impressive counter-attack that caught the hosts off guard.

The home side gave themselves a glimmer of hope when Jordan Guest halved the deficit on 81 minutes, but their hopes of claiming a draw were dashed late on thanks to a thunderbolt from the visitors a minute from time that rounded off the scoring and narrowly beat Bay stopper Martin King.