Penguins Smash 'n' Grab Causes Setback For Swans
Barton hosted Athersley Recreation in an NCEL Premier Division fixture at the Easy Buy Stadium that finished 2-1 to the visitors.
A cloudy afternoon in Barton at the Easy Buy Stadium was the setting for the clash between The Swans and visitors Athersley Recreation. The Penguins came to Barton looking to correct their form in the league following a shaky start to the season. Barton were coming into the game 7 unbeaten, winning their last 5 fixtures confidently, knowing another good win would push them further towards the top of the league. Barton came out in their signature Sky Blue and White kit, and Athersley in their Orange and Black kit. An attendance of 128 turned up to watch the two teams clash.
It started with Barton confidently possessing the ball for good periods and controlling the game. Tom Bennett for the Swans was very active in front of goal in an advanced position, as only 2 minutes in, he managed to get through the defence and shot across goal, but it was touched out for a corner. 10 minutes later Tom then had another chance as he had a free header at the back post that looped just over the net, followed by a ball to Danny Chambers who tried to curl the ball into the net, but going over also. Will Waudby had a chance in the 20th minute as he struck across goal trying to go for the opposite corner, but he wasn't able to get it in. By 30 minutes in the fixture, Barton had used a whole bunch of chances but not put any in the net, as they were pinning the visitors in their half. Matty Plummer had a good chance in the 33rd minute with a curled effort that slightly went over, followed by an excellent piece of play in the 41st minute that saw 10+ passes between the Swans players, ending in Tom Bennett flicking the ball into the path of Plummer who curled another and missed again. Another chance for Plummer in the last seconds of the first half saw him drive a shot towards goal from 25 yards out but it whistled over too high. This brought the end of the first half in which Athersley didn't register a shot on target, solidifying Barton's dominance in the fixture. They overloaded the midfield and hunted second balls down well, spreading it wide to the wingers who were putting crosses in well. Athersley, despite a small slice of luck, were defending very well, and were hardworking in their quest for at least a point at Barton.
The Second Half approached and the side was changed in formation to a 4-4-2 from the first half's 3-5-2 for Barton, with Donald Chimalilo coming on for Charlie Shelley. It took merely 4 minutes for Barton to go as close as they'd been all fixture, as a cross from Jack Binns connected with the head of Will Waudby who headed it off the crossbar and it was scrambled out of the area. Gareth Barlow came on for Danny Chambers 55 minutes in as Barlow looked to bring a goal or two into the fixture. A free header for Matty Plummer was put wide as the ball came at an awkward angle for the defender in the 64th minute. 2 minutes later Donald Chimalilo had a good run from a counterattack for the Swans - skying the subsequent effort after doing all the hard work. Tom Waudby came on for Matty Savage in the 67th minute, and it was only 2 minutes later that the fixture saw the first goal. Only it wasn't going to be Barton - it was the visitors that took their first proper on-target shot. A counterattack was finished off by a low driven strike into the bottom right corner by Jamie Moxon, to the delight of the away fans. Barton had to pull their socks up now, and missing the earlier chances was very disappointing now the fixture had turned against them. The 75th minute saw Athersley come inches from increasing their goal tally as a shot struck the crossbar and bounced out, but it wasn't followed up on. A game-changing moment came in the 78th minute as Donald Chimalilo, who was having a positive effect on the fixture ran past 3 players, 2 fouling him in the process, got into the box and was looked to be brought down - only for the referee to give him a yellow card for simulation. It seemed not to be Barton's day and another reinforcement of this came in extra time as Tom Waudby had a free kick on the edge of the box. He struck it well and it once again came off the crossbar, the wayward strike deflected off Will Waudby who tried getting out of the way. The counterattack from this saw a ball squared across the Barton goal to Kyle Wordsworth who obliged in giving the visitors a 2 goal cushion. An answer swiftly through Donald Chimalilo saw him strike it into the bottom corner following a good run in the 93rd minute. He then had a headed chance on the last kick of the game which went inches wide, and to Barton's disappointment the final whistle was blown. Barton threw the fixture away with not being clinical with their chances early on in the fixture, but had a very strong performance aside from conceding. Athersley were compact, had a gameplan and stuck to the task, something that can't be taken away from them and credit to them. Lacking that cutting edge that has been so prevalent in their last 7 fixtures, this disappointed loss for Barton will be sure to light that hunger to get back to winning ways again.