Barton unfortunate to draw
2 points dropped
After defeat to Tower Hill the week before, Barton were keen to put the record straight and get back to winning ways against Hailey reserves. Barton were without a number of key players including Jack Eley and Nick HIggs, but were still able to field a strong starting 11, with youngster Luke Cornforth given a full debut on the left side of midfield and fellow youngster Jonny Sokol taking his place on the bench for the first time this season.
Barton started brightly and immediately put the visitors under pressure and perhaps should have been a goal up early on when Liam Barnes was released by John Umney to go one on one with the Hailey goalkeeper. His shot unfortunately just fell the wrong side of the post however. Not long after this and it was John Umney that would be the guilty party, when he picked the ball up just inside the Hailey half and drove towards goal, but indecision and perhaps too much time to think about what to do meant the goalkeeper was able to get his finger tips to the ball and concede just a corner.
The Barton pressure kept coming and with the visitors not showing any attacking promise, the home side thought they had taken the lead when Liam Barnes was again released through the middle and this time making no mistake by finishing past the goalkeeper. With the oppositions linesman keeping his flag down, Barton were amazed to find the referee had decided from the centre spot that he could now see around corners and gave Barnes offside. Barton were incensed - and a number of the home sides players had a few choice words for the man in black - but unfortunately he didnt speak much English so the protests fell on deaf ears....
Bartons frustrations were confounded minutes later when a poor back pass to Goalkeeper Danny Phillips was intercepted by the Hailey forward who was able to pass the ball into an open net to make it 1-0 to the opposition.
The game was slowly becoming farcical, with a number of decisions made by the referee going against Barton, with Hailey players also agreeing that the game was fast becoming a sham due to the referee's incompetence.
Half time - Middle Barton 0 - 1 Hailey Reserves
Barton came out for the second half intent on putting right the wrongs of the first half and immediately set upon getting the equaliser, however, due to some poor final balls and dogged defending from Hailey, they were unable to make a breakthrough.
Chances were falling for the side and for a period in the second half it looked like a shock defeat would be on the cards. However, the pressure finally told and when Umney picked the ball up on the edge of the box, he invited a challenge from 2 Hailey defenders. Umney's brain works far quicker than his feet and on making the decision he would not be able to beat the defenders on the floor, threw himself over the trailing leg of one of the unsuspecting defenders and 'bought' a penalty for the home side. The resulting confusion and arguments from the Hailey defenders saw one of them sent off for dissent - and the thought was that he can feel very hard done by considering the abuse he was getting from 1 or 2 Barton players previously.
Umney dusted himself down to take the penalty and despite changing his mind half way through his run up, was still able to send the keeper the wrong way to take his goal tally to 4 in 3 games for the season.
Barton continued to press and could of been ahead when substitute Jonny Sokol fizzed a cross into the box that found Martin Kay in the middle of the 6 yard box - Martin, probably thinking he needed to clear the ball decided to head the ball 20 yards over the cross bar although in fairness he didnt have a lot of time to think about it.
More chances were falling against 10 man Hailey now and the keeper made a superb save at the back stick when it looked like Umney just had to get his shot on target to score. Then in the final moments of the match, Liam Barnes went one on one with the goalkeeper, the crowd took a collective inhale as Liam entered the box and with Tony Bott and John Umney options in the box it looked a formality that Barton would score the winner. Unfortunately Liams left foot shot did not connect as he would of wished and the keeper had a fairly straight forward save to make.
Certainly 2 points dropped from Barton, with Umney and Barnes guilty of not taking their chances to put the game out of reach for the visitors.
Full time - Middle Barton 1 - 1 Hailey Reserves