Barton Rovers 1 Hanwell Town 1
We continued in revival in form by gaining an excellent point from our away game at Barton Rovers that owed almost all to the disciplined manner in which we were obliged to set up to play due to further absences in the squad for various reasons.
With Nick Turner and Joe Chandiram unavailable from the back four that had played so well at Chalfont St Peter earlier in the week and with Georges Ehui and Kyle Watson also unavailable, manager Ray Duffy, was left with just two regular defenders available, his two sons Calum and Oliver. Ray solved the problem by moving Jesse Kewley-Graham into a back three with Calum and Ollie either side of him and perhaps learning from his favourite team, Chelsea, had Glen Yala and Charlie Mitchell in wing back positions. In the event all five had excellent games and throughout the ninety minutes we looked very compact. The enforced positional changes restricted our attacking options but with Calum Wright and Tom Hunt working so hard up front we always kept the Barton Rovers back four on their toes. Both were helped by some astute balls through by Peter Dean playing in a midfield role behind the front two.
We made a bright start with Charlie Mitchell fizzing a strong strike just over Barton's goal. However, the first real chance of the game fell to Barton's James Verney who latched onto a through ball by full back Jack Mace before cutting the ball back into the path of the normal so prolific goalscorer Danny Watson but under pressure he diverted the ball just wide of the far post. On twenty minutes we were awarded a free kick some thirty yards from goal and Ollie sent his free kick just wide of the far post with Adam Harpur in the Barton goal struggling. At the other end, a good flicked pass by Watson sent Verney through but he shot over the bar. A good move between Callum Wright and Charlie set up a chance for the former but he scuffed his shot over the bar. Tom Hunt fired straight at the keeper after another good link up with Callum.
Barton were then forced into their first substitution with Jet Esso coming on for the injured Nathan Olukanmi. Five minutes before the interval we should have taken the lead when Tom played a ball right into the path of Callum through on goal and on his favoured left foot but he blazed the ball over the bar.
In the opening five minutes of the half we might well have been awarded a penalty when Callum was tripped as he raced into the penalty area. He tried to stay on his feet but stumbled over, the referee stating afterwards when questioned that his view was blocked !!!
The Barton keeper then made a fine save diving to his right from a Callum header after an astute chipped cross by Peter. From the resultant corner taken by Charlie, Callum headed just wide.
It was not until the fifty fifth minute that Barton had their first corner of the match and it almost proved decisive and we were fortunate that the towering header of their skipper Paul Andrews was not on target. At the other end, Tom when well placed fired straight at the keeper. Barton made their second substitution with Gerrado Smalldone coming on to replace Jack Mace. With twenty minutes to go it was anybody's game but we wasted another chance when Callum saw his shot blocked by the keeper's legs and shortly afterwards it seemed as if we would pay the ultimate price when Xavi Comes who had had a very quiet afternoon to date chased a long ball forward right to the edge of the penalty area. However, Watson won the race and immediately he went down the referee pointed to the penalty spot and showed Xavi a yellow card. Watson picked himself up to sent Xavi the wrong way from the spot.
Barton made their third and final substitution with Charlie Payne coming on for Verney.
Thankfully, our equaliser came just three minutes after Barton had scored. Having missed so many chances previously, the goal was gifted to us when Harpur trying to punch away an in swinging corner by Charlie only succeeded in fisting the ball down towards his own goal where Lamar Simpson volleyed the ball home from point blank range.
Barton almost regained their lead with five minutes to go when a good move between two of their substitutes Smalldone and Esso linked up to set up a chance for the latter but he turned the ball wide. We then had a free kick on the edge of their box which Ollie fired straight into the defensive wall and the ball was quickly sent back towards our goal with Watson again just beating Xavi in a race to the ball but this time there was no foul and Watson's chipped effort went just over our vacant net. Xavi then made an excellent save form Esso but was left helpless in the second minute of added on time when Salam Amoake headed goalwards and we all held our breath before the ball bounced just wide of our goal. Much to our relief, the final whistle was then blown.
Side: Xavi Comes, Peter Dean, David Sangola, Jesse Kewley-Graham, Calum Duffy, Oliver Duffy, Glen Yala, Lamar Simpson, Tom Hunt, Callum Wright and Charlie Mitchell.