Barwell 0 FC United 3
Barwell go down fighting against FC United of Manchester
Before a record crowd of 1,809 Barwell put up a spirited display against a Manchester team that needed to win to give themselves a chance of becoming Evo-Stik Northern Premier League champions.
It was to no avail however as the visitors won comfortably by three clear goals but their own championship hopes were thwarted by Chorley who won at Buxton to take the title by one point.
FC United dominated the early exchanges and their captain Dean Stott was close with a shot from 20 yards which went narrowly wide.
Barwell hit back and a corner from Tony Capaldi beat David Carnell in the United goal but was headed brilliantly off the line by Tom Davies.
This was the only opportunity for Barwell in the opening quarter and it was no surprise when the visitors took the lead in the 22nd minute.
A free kick for United by the outstanding Liam Brownhill was headed home by Davies who outjumped Barwell keeper Liam Castle to score easily.
FC United increased their advantage on the half-hour mark when a through ball from Jerome Wright found striker Michael Norton who evaded defender Guy Hadland to score, giving Castle no chance.
It was all United at this stage and it seemed to be only Jamie Hood, who was magnificent in the home defence, keeping the score down to a reasonable level.
The rampant visitors should have increased their lead, despite Hood’s efforts, but Tom Greaves shot over the bar from close range and then right on half-time the same player headed narrowly wide from a corner by Brownhill.
Early in the second half Barwell had their best chance of the game when a cross-shot from Connor Gudger was parried by Carnell to the feet of Kevin Charley but he could not force the ball home with only the keeper to beat.
Midway through the second half, with Barwell still pressing to reduce the arrears, Jack Edwards went close with a header from a Capaldi corner but this proved to be the home side’s last opportunity to get back into the game.
On 77 minutes Liam Castle made a brilliant save to deny Norton but with three minutes of the game remaining the goalkeeper came for a ball on the edge of his penalty area which was being dealt with by his defenders and United’s substitute Callum Byrne was left with the easy task of lobbing the ball into the empty net for the visitors' third and final goal.
In the final minute Barwell’s Nigel Julien put Luke Barlone through on goal, but under pressure from the United defenders he shot straight at the keeper to leave FC United of Manchester worthy winners to take their place at the head of the play-offs.
Credit must be given to the magnificent following of a very large contingent of Manchester supporters who were impeccable throughout the game and encouraged their team to a worthy victory.
Team: Liam Castle, Scott Lower, Tony Capaldi, Guy Hadland, Jamie Hood, Richard Lavery, Jack Edwards, Scott Hadland (Ben Love 55), Luke Barlone, Kevin Charley (Nigel Julien 65), Connor Gudger (Kieron Brehon 55).
Subs not used: Tom Weale, Jake Brown.
Yellow Card: Lavery 60
MIRA Man of the Match: Jamie Hood