Depleated Barton fight back for draw
Lightening strikes twice to salvage point
After an weather enforced break - Barton were back in action hosting Brize Norton in a fixture that Barton really needed to avoid defeat in if they were going to push for promotion again this season. If they were to get a positive result it would be without a number of key players due to unavailability. Martin and Paul Kay both nursing potentially long term injuries were obviously going to be missed, but together with long term absentee Jack Eley and the child party attending Nick Higgs, the management team were forced to beg and plead a number of the outside squad to play. Mark Umney and Nick Pickup were brought in and on Saturday morning, having landed from some planet not in our solar system, Danny Grimes was seen cycling around the village and brought straight into the starting line up.
Barton owed Brize, having been beaten away from home earlier in the season in a game they dominated and are still scratching their heads as to how they didn't win but without so much of the squad available it was going to be a tough ask. However, even with the absentees, the manager felt we had enough to take all 3 points from the fixture.
Barton started slowly - probably due to the fact some players were playing their first games for a long period and also having not played with each other but were limiting Brize to chances outside of the box and it was Barton who had the first real chance at goal when Liam Barnes floated a ball to the back post and John Umney leapt above the defender to drive a header back across the goalkeeper. Umney did everything right, but the goalkeeper was equal to the effort and managed to claw the ball to safety.
Moments later though Brize did take the lead and when the Brize winger skipped past Danny Grimes, Danny unintentionally tripped and fouled the player resulting in a penalty being given. Danny protested his innocence, but it was a penalty all day long - and it did leave a few of us wondering what Danny had been smoking to think it wasn't a penalty - then again we could of had a good guess. The penalty was taken and finished into the top corner leaving Phillips no chance in the Barton goal.
Barton needed to fight back and they were soon on the front foot when a Tony Bott header was flicked on by John Umney and onto the run of Liam Barnes - Liam, in red hot form at the moment found himself one on one with the keeper was not able to finish this time round with the keeper again making a good save.
Minutes later and it was Tony Botts turn to test the keeper with a strike from just outside the box, and again the keeper was equal to the effort - it was going to take something special to beat the Brize keeper at this rate.
Barton continued to press and with the makeshift defence of Lee Haynes, Nick Pickup and Dave Stevens being able to deal with the pace of the Brize strike force, it was giving the Barton side a good platform to build their attacks from and it wouldn't be long until Barton were on level terms.
Barton won a free kick 25 yards from goal when Liam Barnes was fouled and whilst it would have suited a left footed player better, Barton were without a natural left footed player so John Umney took responsibility of taking the set piece. With Jack Fowlers comment of 'get it on target' ringing in his ears, Umney knew he had better do some pretty incredible with the free kick - and he did just that. Whipping the ball up and over the wall and into the top left hand corner of the net, Barton had equalised with an unstoppable effort. One supporter cried 'you could of put 5 goalkeepers in that goal and they still wouldn't of stopped it' in amazement - and he was right.
However Bartons lead did not last too long and when a lapse in concentration occurred in the back line - Brize were able to fire the ball past Phillips and retake the lead.
Half time - Middle Barton 1 - 2 Brize Norton
Barton came out for the second half looking to take the game by the scruff of the neck and get back into the game but Brize were proving to be a difficult side to break down and their stubborn defence were keeping the waves of attack from Barton at bay.
Barton were given an opportunity to draw level though in fortuitous circumstances when John Umney was adjudged to have been fouled in the box by the keeper - even Umney himself will admit that the penalty decision was soft - but there can be no excuses for the resulting penalty kick which Umney put wide of the target meaning Barton missed the opportunity to draw level.
It wouldn't take long though until they were level and after fantastic work from Jack Fowler down the right hand side he cut in to find the lively Nick Acock just inside the box - Acock showed great technique to hit the ball across the goalkeeper and into the far corner with the keeper only able to get fingertips to the ball.
It was now anyones game and with the action going from end to end it would be whoever wanted the game most that would take away the 3 points and for a while it looked like Brize would be that team when they retook the lead after some good work in the box by their attackers.
Barton did not give up and kept going and looking for the equaliser and when Dave Stevens was fouled 25 yards out it gave Barton the opportunity to get probably a final strike on goal. Now I'm not sure what the Dave Stevens was doing with 2 minutes to go being 25 yards away from goal - especially at his age, but we did well to win the free kick. After the earlier goal, nobody was going to argue when John Umney took the ball and placed it infront of goal. Umney then struck the ball over the ball over the Brize wall and into the top left hand corner again to rescue a point for Barton.
On reflection, a draw was not a bad result considering the patched up side that Barton had to put out. Barton showed a huge amount of determination and a never say die attitude coming back 3 times to ensure they took a point.
The game saw a 90 second cameo performance from the gaffer Ash Stevens and he must of been drunk at 7.30pm after the game as he sent a text around claiming that he would of won the game for Barton had he been given just a few seconds longer.
Next week sees Barton travel to Tower Hill All Stars in a massive test, and another opportunity to right the result from earlier in the season.
Final Score - Middle Barton 3 - 3 Brize Norton