Swans Take 3 Points Despite Late Trojan Attack
Barton held onto a 2-1 lead against Staveley Miners Welfare in the NCEL Premier Division.
A mild afternoon in Chesterfield was the setting for two teams playing in the NCEL Premier Division at Inkersall Road. The Swans were visiting a Staveley side that were coming off a 4-0 Loss away at AFC Mansfield, as they attempt survival in a current relegation battle. Barton were coming off a close 1-0 Win against Harrogate Railway Athletic, taking them to a run of 4 Wins in a row, so both teams were going into the fixture hungry for a win. Staveley were in 18th place in the table going into the game, and Barton were in 16th. The sides came out onto the pitch to shake hands in front of an attendance of 96, Barton in their White Away kit and the Staveley in Blue. The teams took their positions, and the game began.
The pace early was set to be an end-to-end match, as the home side looked more likely to get an early goal. It was Barton however who had the best chance in the 5th minute, as a miskick from the keeper landed at the feet of Bill Law who was 25 yards out, who struck the kick early towards the top left hand corner. An acrobatic save from the keeper prevented it from going in, tipping it wide for a corner. Up the other side of the pitch, in the 14th minute, the home team were pressuring well, and a great chance came as a shot on the edge of the box was just blocked by Ash Lattimore, captaining The Swans, trickling just wide of the post. Gareth Barlow had arguably the best chance of the half through a free kick swung in by Ash Lattimore in the 27th minute, as his cross went in deep to the back post, just inches past the toe of Barlow agonisingly. A minute later saw Bill Law get in behind the defence 1-on-1 with the Staveley goalkeeper, but was caught up by 2 defenders who pressured him into a scuffed shot, parried for a corner by the keeper. The 35th minute brought a huge moment in the fixture, as a tackle from behind on Tom Waudby angered him and the player who'd taken him down. The pair had tangled legs and tempers flared when they got up, heads against each other and pushing each other apart. The situation didn't defuse and Waudby looked at the referee to see what he was going to do, when the Staveley player headbutted him and Waudby went to the floor. Players flocked in to stop the attack and the referee subsequently awarded a red card to both players for violent behaviour. The teams went down to 10 men each, and Barton looked a bit shaky a few minutes after, but stayed okay. A few corner chances for both sides afterwards continued the half as the teams looked for a goal, but the half came to a halt at 0-0. Barton played well enough, but not well enough to take the lead.
The Second Half brought some excitement as the teams came out for another 45 minutes. The teams were back to the end-to-end football and the energy levels were very impressive to watch. The 66th minute brought the first clear chance of the half, this time with the Trojans hitting a curled shot from the edge of the box across Swans Goalkeeper Sam Riches who pulled off a great save to deny a first goal. A minute later a chipped shot just went wide for Staveley as they continued the pressure, along with a cross to the edge of the box that was subsequently skewed wide in the 73rd minute. Staveley were pinning Barton back for a good part of the half, and a couple of changes from Dave Ricardo saw his team switch to 3 at the back, with 4 in midfield and 2 up top, with the introduction of Donald Chimalilo into the midfield and Josh Tennant alongside Bill Law. Barton were counter attacking effectively and the match was still very open. A very vocal Ricardo was shouting instructions and urging his players on, as he sensed there was a goal brewing in the air. Thankfully for Barton, it was theirs to claim. The 75th minute brought a corner whipped in by Ash Lattimore giving Bill Law an unmarked free header to nod past the goalkeeper, to the delight of the travelling fans and team. With the momentum in their favour, Josh Tennant would be the next player to get on the score sheet for Barton only 5 minutes later in the 80th. He had to battle off a defender as a cross swung in by Ash Lattimore after a free kick earnt by Donald Chimalilo, getting a toe onto the ball to tap it past the keeper. The Swans were running away with the fixture and Josh Tennant was delighted to score as he celebrated with his strike partner Bill Law. The hard work was far from done however. Defending their lead now, The Swans were pinned in their half by relentless pressure. Defending very well throughout the full match already, Barlow and Owen Wilkinson were dealing with most in the air, alongside Ethan Nelson who was defending well too. Staveley dragged one back with a cool finish from Kurtis Morley in the 83rd minute, and were looking like they could steal another goal, but repeated headers out and defending with their lives, Barton saw it out. The final whistle came with the scoreline at 2-1 to The Swans.
A stellar defensive display from everyone who were in the defence on the day, Barton had to defend at key points in the match, where months ago they would have crumbled. A real battling attitude was on show from both teams and the player sent off for the Staveley was definitely having the biggest impact in the game for the Trojans, which was a positive for Barton seeing him get the red card. The entire Barton side had to work very hard, with good performances from the players in the Swans side.