Barton blow away Hanborough in first 45 mins
A great start to the season
The afternoon finally came for Barton to kick off their league campaign for the 2016-17 season and the first surprise of the season was Jake Freeman managing to make the meet time of 1pm early. There is a feeling that he got the time wrong and thought kick off was at 1pm, but we may never know the truth.
Barton were able to field a strong starting 11, with Lee Haynes and Luke Cornforth taking their places on the wet bench and were feeling positive about the afternoons game, even though results in pre season had been patchy to say the least....
Before the game kicked off however, both teams were informed that they were in the presence of a real life ex professional footballer when the referee decided to give each team a pep talk about his life in the game and what he does for a living. It was truly inspirational.
The lines on the pitch were also called into question when it appeared that the goal posts were encroaching the 6 yard box and the centre circle had the look of a psychedelic dream that i had once. There was also need for manager Ash Stevens to clear some 'mess' from the pitch. There was a rumour that one of the subs, upset at being dropped decided to show the pitch exactly what he felt about the decision. CCTV footage is being reviewed currently to pin point the culprit. It was probably a dog though.
The game started at immediately Barton were on the front foot, pushing their opponents back at every opportunity and it wasnt long before the pressure told. Superb work from Paul Kay down the left hand side took him to the goal line, a left foot cross was lifted to the back post where Liam Barnes side footed an excellent finish across the goalkeeper into the top corner. Liam took 10 minutes to score on his debut to emphasise the faith put in him by the Barton management team.
It wouldnt be long until Barton doubled their advantage and after Jack Fowler had beaten his marker down the right hand side, he delivered a cross that Sir Beckham would of been proud of which just missed the incoming John Umney in the penalty box. However, Paul Kay had gambled on the cross and fired a first time volley into the bottom corner. Celebrations were wild, Hanborough were stunned, and their heads needed surgically removing from the floor before they could kick off again.
Barton were now looking dangerous everytime they got the ball and chances were coming thick and fast. However it was the defence that was building the platform to move forward and the signing of Martin Kay was already proving a masterstroke with his organisation and talking together with the confidence to bring the ball out of defence really impressing.
It wouldnt be long until the 3rd goal was scored and it was the pick of the bunch. Nick Higgs won the ball in midfield and played it into Umney who turned and saw Jack Eley peeling off the side of defence, a clipped ball into the run of Eley was made and Eley then had the skill and vision to bring the ball down and square it across the box where the oncoming Paul Kay had the simple task of side footing the ball into the corner of the net.
The first half was soon drawing to a close, but there was still time for 1 more goal before the break. Again, Nick Higgs was involved attempting a strike from 25 yards which was blocked by a Hanborough defender - the rebound dropped at the feet of Liam Barnes who turned and struck a low drive from just outside the box into the bottom corner.
Half Time - Middle Barton 4 - 0 Hanborough Reserves
In what must of been one of Ash Stevens easiest half time team talks, one message was very clear - Remember the first game of last season, where Barton threw away a 3 goal half time lead to draw 4-4.
Hanborough made a number of changes at half time, including changing their goalkeeper and looked a far better outift than they did in the first half. Chances were now less of a premium and Hanborough were making inroads into the Barton territory and it took a fantastic save from Danny Phillips to stop Hanborough pulling a goal back from nearly point blank range.
They were served a chance to pull a goal back on the plate however, when the referee adjudged Martin Kay to have pushed a Hanborough player in the box following a corner. Hanborough dispatched the penalty without issue and there were murmours of the greatest comeback in the history of soccer ball in the making.
However, it was Barton that were given the next opportunity to score and when Jake Freeman stole the ball on the half way line, he released the speedy John Umney through the middle - it looked a formality that Umney would score but his shot was saved well by the Hanborough keeper.
It wouldnt be long before last seasons 2nd top scorer opened his account though and when the goalkeepers kick was struck into Umney's chest he had the simple task of lobbing the keeper from just under 25 yards into an empty net.
Full Time - Middle Barton 5 - 1 Hanborough Reserves
A great start to the season for the Barton boys - lets bottle that feeling, and reopen it next Saturday afternoon in what will be a tougher test against Tower Hill.