Barwell 1 St. Albans City 3
Sinners punished by Saints
Barwell started with two new recruits on show, Danny Newton on loan from Nuneaton Town and Danny Gaunt returning to the left flank after two years.
Despite having control of the match for the first twenty minutes, nine man Barwell went down to a three-one reverse as St. Albans City took advantage of the situation.
Everything was to change as, just before the half hour, Richard Lavery was given his marching orders following an alleged elbow witnessed apparently by the assistant referee and matters were made worse with ten minutes remaining as debutant Danny Newton was shown a straight red card for a tackle on James Comley.
Initial exchanges were fairly even with both sides having attempts in the opposing areas.
In the third minute a ball played through by Richard Graham came to James Comley on the edge of the box. He made the most of a challenge trying to obtain a foul but the referee was not convinced. Still, the seeds were sown for later in the game.
Play switched to the St. Albans area and a free kick from Danny Gaunt following a foul on Danny Newton was shot towards goal. Nick Jupp dropped the ball and just managed to gather at the second attempt with Jack Edwards bearing down on him.
After 12 minutes a run down the left by Chris Henry of St. Albans gave him a chance to cross for Greg Ngoyi but the Saints forward could only guide the ball past the post.
Three minutes later St. Albans again broke forwards. A long ball found last defender Mark Albrighton who did well to reach it and clear at the second attempt as the St. Albans front line were bearing down on him.
A minute later Liam Castle did well to gather as Henry and Ngoyi combined again but the Barwell keeper was brave and took control of the situation.
Scott Hadland had a chance to break the deadlock as he shot first time from 30 yards. He did well to keep the ball down but it deviated at the last and drifted past the post.
After 18 minutes, Ngoyi shot across the Barwell goal but Castle got a hand to the ball and guided it out for the corner.
Dave Barnett combined well with Danny Newton, having a shot which was well saved. The ball rebounded to him and he eventually fed it to Jamie Towers. Towers was pushed by James Kaloczi. He went down and the referee, Mr. Da Costa awarded the penalty.
Towers himself took charge of the spot kick at despatched the ball via Jupp’s hand into the corner of the net to give Barwell the lead on 20 minutes.
Shortly afterwards the referee booked Richard Graham for a foul on Danny Gaunt.
After 24 minutes a combination between Dave Barnett and Jamie Towers allowed a tempting ball to be floated over on the six yard line. Jack Edwards was coming in at pace but the ball was tantalisingly inches over his head, much to the frustrations of the young midfielder.
After 28 minutes, the game took a dramatic and significant turn as the assistant referee called Mr. da Costa over after Comley stayed down after a challenge. The referee showed a red card to Richard Lavery after an alleged elbow was used.
Shortly after Comley was again in the thick of the action as he supplied a ball across the penalty area for David Keenlyside who gathered well and shot past Liam Castle with 32 minutes played.
St. Albans could have doubled their lead after 37 minutes as a ball drilled across the Barwell six yard area by Chris Henry found Greg Ngoyi who flicked the ball past the left post.
Despite a period of pressure from Barwell just before the half time whistle, the game went into the break with honours even.
After 50 minutes Comley drove into the box beating Jamie McAteer but Guy Hadland was covering well and dispossessed the St. Albans player.
Four minutes later Barwell ventured forwards and Jamie Towers crossed well for Scott Hadland who headed a yard past the right post.
After 62 minutes Comley was again involved in an unpleasant exchange as he refused to give up a ball for a throw. Scott Hadland reacted to this and was shown a yellow card for his reaction.
After 65 minutes Comley was booked for a foul on Scott Hadland.
After 67 minutes Barwell had a promising move forward as Tom Weale drilled an excellent ball across the box but Nick Jupp got there first and dispelled the danger for the visitors as the Barwell attack closed in.
St. Albans took the lead after 74 minutes as a ball over the top found Bradley Wadkins who had beaten the offside trap. He squared for Greg Ngoyi who sidefooted home from six yards giving Liam Castle no chance.
Three minutes later Layne Eadie tried to outpace Tom Weale down the flank but the rangey Barwell player matched him for speed and did well to defend the ball away.
After 79 minutes in was Matt Brown’s turn to encounter James Comley and the Barwell forward received a talking to from the referee for his tackle.
After 81 minutes Henry slipped past the challenge of Tom Weale and shot but Liam Castle did very well to block the ball with his body.
A minute later Barwell went down to nine men following a late challenge by Danny Newton on James Comley. He was shown a straight red card for a sliding tackle.
As play went into stoppage time, substitute Eliot Bailey shot from close range but Liam Castle again made an excellent stop with his body from close range.
Liam Castle was being kept very busy and with minutes to go a long ball forwards had him heading the ball to safety outside his box as Barwell were feeling the strain of being down to nine men.
The final blow was dealt five minutes into stoppage time as Jamie Towers had an effort from close range cleared off the line by Layne Eadie. The ball went immediately to the other end of the park where Bailey was able to cross for the unmarked Curtis Shaw who tapped home from seven yards.
Although they were always at a disadvantage having had players sent off, Barwell fought hard until the last minutes when they found the two man advantage of St. Albans too much to handle.
Team: Liam Castle, Dave Barnett (Jamie McAteer 45), Danny Gaunt (Matt Brown 63), Guy Hadland (Scott Rickards 80), Mark Albrighton, Richard Lavery, Jamie Towers, Scott Hadland, Danny Newton, Jack Edwards, Tom Weale.
Subs not used: Kevin Charley, Justin Marsden
Goal: Towers (pen) 20
Yellow Cards: S. Hadland 62
Red Cards: Lavery 28, Newton 82