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BALA Town have lost the services of key midfielder Kieran Smith, but have gained an experienced defender with the signing of Evan Horwood.

The Lakesiders have 'reluctantly' agreed to release Smith from his contract after the 25-year old decided to join former team mate Rob Pearson to play football in New Zealand for 12 months, but the player has committed to rejoin Bala on his return to the UK.

Smith was player of the year with Chester Nomads and West Cheshire League player of the season in 2012/13, before signing for Bala in August 2013, and has since scored 21 goals from 85 (+9) Welsh Premier aappearances, including the winner in this year's Welsh Cup final against TNS.

New arrival Horwood left, a left-sided midfielder or full back, signed a six-month deal with Chester in May, but that has been terminated by mutual consent to allow him to join the Lakesiders.

The 31-year-old started his career with Sheffield United, before making 200 Football League appearances for Carlisle United and Hartlepool. In 2013 he moved to Tranmere Rovers before signing for Northampton Town a year later and had a loan spell with Grimsby before signing for Chester in July 2016 and making 21 appearances.