Barton Deal Battering To Brandon United
Barton hosted Brandon United in the FA Vase First Round Proper at the Easy Buy Stadium in a fixture that ended 8-0 to The Swans.
A windy afternoon in Barton set the scene for an FA Vase First Round fixture between The Swans and visitors Brandon United, a Durham based side. A victory here would send the winning team through to the Second Round of the FA Vase so everything was up for grabs. Barton were coming off a close 2-1 Win against Albion Sports, and Brandon United were also coming off a 1-0 Win too, so it was 2 teams in winning form in this clash. Barton lined up with a 3-5-2, in their Sky Blue Kit. The teams shook hands and the fixture was kicked off.
Barton started bright and they had the advantage of playing with the wind in their favour, a factor that caused damage early on in the game. It was no other than the club's top goalscorer, with 6 in all competitions up to this point, Gareth Barlow, who got on the end of a cross from Matty Plummer to fire one in from 8 yards out and give Barton a quick lead after 4 minutes. Brandon were struggling to get out their half but a free kick earned on the edge of the Barton box was a huge moment for the visitors. A clean shot was hammered towards the goal, prompting Tom Collins in the Barton goal to stretch and get a hand to it, tipping it onto the bar and out, to save Barton's blushes. The warning was heeded from Barton and they began to shut the away side out from their half. A good chance in the 18th saw Jamie Goddard put Matty Plummer through, but he skewed it wide. A through ball in the 22nd to Gareth Barlow caught the wind a little and caused him and the Brandon goalkeeper to go in for a 50/50 - ending in a good save from the young keeper as he knocked it wide to stop Barlow getting his brace. The 26th saw Barton then extend their lead through a great finish from Captain Owen Marshall. A cross whipped in found an unmarked Marshall who sidefooted a volley straight in, to the delight of the team and supporters. Now 2-0 up, The Swans were cruising. Tom Bennett for Barton nearly got in on the action in the 32nd minute as he tried to use the wind at an awkward angle, floating one for the back post, but it just hit the crossbar and went over. The 35th then brought another goal to the fixture, as Barton continued their dismantling of the visiting team. Matty Plummer hit a strike in from 8 yards out after a corner was scrambled about in the Brandon box - giving Barton a 3 goal lead. The rout didn't stop there however, as in the 38th it was the Captain who played a huge part in a corner that was somehow salvaged from going out for a goal kick, headed back in to the box. Owen Marshall got a good header onto it. It however, deflected off Luke Bailey, hitting the underside of the bar and going in. Next up, in the 42nd minute, Tom Bennett got his name onto the scoresheet as he got on the end of a ball played in by Jack Binns - hitting a strong strike into the goal. The Half Time whistle couldn't come quick enough for Brandon United, and it arrived with Barton going in with a huge 5 goal lead. Barton had already destroyed the confidence in a young visiting side - but granted they hadn't given up. A few half chances here and there for the visitors kept Barton on their toes, but the confidence in the Swans side was exhilarating to watch.
The Second Half brought more action almost instantaneously - as in the 47th minute it was recent signing Luke Aldrich's turn to get on the scoresheet. Matty Plummer played through Luke as he found a sweet strike into the bottom corner, giving him 2-in-2. 6 minutes later, he then decided to increase his goal tally with a smart finish to the near post as he ran across the box, outsmarting the keeper who was expecting the shot in the other side of the goal. 7 goals up, Barton then seemed to lull into automatic mode, as they began to release the foot off the gas and relax more. Donald Chimalilo, Ewan Train and Nicky McNamara were all brought on within 5 minutes of each other in the 55th-60th, and the match continued. A few half chances went wide for Barton, but Luke Aldrich was determined to get that hat-trick. He hit a strike that unfortunately went inches wide in the 77th minute, followed by a strike in the 88th minute at the near post - but the Brandon goalie denied it. It wasn't until the 90th when Aldrich got what he deserved. Another bottom corner was the icing on the cake as Barton played 20+ passes in the buildup to Aldrich and Jamie Goddard combining in the penalty area to get the 8th for the team. As the seconds ticked on, the ref wasted no time blowing the whistle to finish the game, as Barton truly put the visitors to the sword. Barton outclassed Brandon in a fixture that really made a statement in the FA Vase, but credit has to be given to the visitors who worked very hard in trying to match the home side, but fell short in this. 90% of Barton's team towered over Brandon, adding that edge of physicality to the match for The Swans. The wind ultimately played a huge part in sealing the first few goals for Barton and they ended up walking into the next round of the FA Vase with an 8-0 win.