Newcastle Town 4 Barwell 1
Barwell Come a Cropper in Francis Foul Fiasco but the Light at the End of the Tunnel Still Looms Large.
The Canaries suffered a temporary hiccup at title challengers Newcastle Town losing out in the day in a lack lustre affair. Newcomer Mark Roper in goal was under pressure especially in the first half as Barwell went behind to an early header by Mike Douglas.
Following a tackle in the box from Francino Francis early in the second half which saw the visitors reduced to ten men, Newcastle pulled further ahead. Although Barwell responded soon after, two late goals saw the ‘Castle take the points.
After just eight minutes, following early pressure from the home side, Newcastle were awarded a free kick just inside the Barwell half following a tackle from Lewis Dodd on Jordan Johnson. John Sheldon drove the kick onto the six yard line where Mike Douglas rose unchallenged to head past Mark Roper to give the home side the lead.
Six minutes later, Barwell responded with a corner from Nigel Julien that landed at Francino Francis’ feet a few yards out from the line. However, he could not wrap his foot around the ball and it was well defended out.
After 14 minutes, the ball fell nicely for Matthew Bell to try his luck but his shot flew a yard over the bar.
With 17 minutes played, Peter Heler fell victim to a high challenge from Julien whose boot drew blood from the Newcastle winger. However, after a change of shirt and just a warning from referee Mr. Woodward, the game continued.
Barwell did have a number of attacks midway through the half notably through Jamie Towers who was proving a handful and Luke Barlone but they were unable to penetrate the Newcastle defence who were solid behind the ball and skilful at the back.
After 24 minutes, coach Martin Hier received a warning from Mr. Woodward as a ball disappeared behind him into the stand.
With 29 minutes played, a defensive backpass from Scott Lower had Roper scrambling to make a clearance but the Barwell keeper was first to the ball and cleared his lines under pressure.
After 32 minutes. Newcastle were awarded a free kick for a “shoulder charge” by Francis which was played dangerously into the box. Roper dived at the feet of Chris Budrys and gathered well.
A minute later saw Barwell on the attack and after a period of head tennis, the ball fell nicely for Lewis Dodd whose shot drew a good save from Daniel Read of Newcastle.
Barwell had a chance to equalise on 34 minutes as Towers and Julien descended on the home goal. However, in a mix up on the six yard line, Towers shot was deflected out and eventually a flick from Julien went past the post.
After 38 minutes, Towers ran onto an excellent ball from defence which he squared for Julien on the penalty spot. The control was lacking from the Barwell forward and the Newcastle keeper gathered easily.
In stoppage time at the end of the first half, Douglas had a chance to shoot for the home side but his effort went past the right post.
The second half was a much livelier affair. Barwell had the ball in the net on 50 minutes as Lewis Dodd squared for Scott Hadland but he was adjudged offside and the goal was disallowed.
Within a minute of this, the ball was sent log for Chris Budrys to chase on the left side of the penalty box. He went down under the challenge of Francino Francis who appeared to have made a connection with the ball. Despite a considerable distance between the official and the play, Francis was deemed to have denied a goalscoring opportunity as the ball deflected away from goal and the big Barwell defender was given his marching orders. Jordan Johnson despatched the penalty.
Barwell were able to respond soon after with a bizarre incident that was the ball headed goalwards by Scott Hadland. As he appealed for a goal, the ball was defended off the goalline and headed back in by Guy Sanders and again scrambled clear. Following an entreatment to the officials who had originally not signalled a goal, the linesman having made no indication of this, the ball was adjudged by the referee to have crossed the line and the Canaries were back in the hunt after 55 minutes.
However, as they were now playing with ten men this was always going to be a difficult task for the visitors as it proved in the end.
Following the introduction of Kev Charley on the hour, Barwell switched shape and Jamie Towers reverted to a wider role on the right. This was to see more chances for the away side as they pushed for an equaliser.
After 61 minutes, Newcastle again pushed forward and Peter Heler received the ball from Jordan Johnson which he volleyed past the post.
Barwell were pushing for an equaliser with the excellent feeds from the right by Towers narrowly escaping the attackers and after 66 minutes they went closest as Karl Espley rose first with three Barwell heads waiting to deflect the ball out for the corner.
After 69 minutes, Jamie Towers was called into a defensive role but he mistimed his tackle on Louis James and received a yellow card for the lunge.
Barwell continued to push and after 71 minutes, Craig Dutton fed the ball to Scott Hadland who had a shot which went narrowly past the post.
Two minutes later, Barwell had a narrow escape as Chris Budrys shot from close range. The ball beat Roper but it hit the base of the post and jumped up conveniently for the Barwell keeper to gather.
After 76 minutes, Budrys put a further nail in Barwell coffin as he ran through the defence and went one on one with Mark Roper. He slotted the ball neatly past the keeper but in his celebration, he removed his shirt and was booked for his exuberance.
Three minutes later, Newcastle again pushed forwards and Jordan Johnson ventured into the box to be upended by Guy Sanders. Johnson again scored from the spot with 79 minutes played to give Newcastle an unassailable lead.
With two minute left to play, Luke George of Newcastle picked up a booking for an ankle tap.
As he put in a solid hard working display, Chris Hollist was awarded Man of the Match.
So Barwell still have more to do to cement the League title as they travel to Goole next Saturday still needing two points for certainty due to the superior goal difference of Newcastle.
Team: Mark Roper, Scott Lower, Chris Hollist, Guy Sanders, Francino Francis, Lewis Dodd, Jamie Towers, Scott Hadland, Luke Barlone (Scott Rickards 45), Nigel Julien (Kev Charley 60), Craig Dutton (Jai Stanley 75).
Subs not used: Richard Letts, Adam Wykes.
Goal: Sanders 55.
Red Card: Francis 50.
Man of the Match: Chris Hollist.