REPORT I Barwell 3 Leiston 0
By Simon Mathieson
Canaries now 6 unbeaten
Guy Hadland hailed his Barwell team after a comfortable 3-0 win over Leiston meant it was 6 games unbeaten for the Canaries. Hadland highlighted the young age of the squad, currently an average age of just 22, and the attractive brand of football that was now being played by his men. After an unbeaten month of March and a good start to April, it was pleasing to see Barwell competing with teams in the top 8 and taking points from them all. That run undoubtedly helped with the win over Leiston in which the whole team looked confident and full of energy.
Jai Rowe scored twice early on and Brady Hickey grabbed the third late in the game. For Rowe it rounded off an excellent week with his signing for Scunthorpe United being announced midweek and it was Hickey's 25th of the season in all competitions.
On a spring like afternoon Barwell started well and after only 1 minute there was a Dom Brown-Hil cross that Jamie Towers headed over. Great. positive play followed for the home team and they were well on top. Leiston looked sluggish in their 2nd long away trip of the week. On 8 minutes there was a great chance for Jai Rowe who shot over the bar and Sam Hollis had almost made contact with a cross, but his overhead kick attempt was not executed quite how he might have liked. Jai Rowe had another effort on 12 minutes but it was well saved by the goalkeeper and went out for a corner.
Only a minute later and from the corner, Jai Rowe opened the scoring with a heat downwards header from inside the 6 yard box. Jai Rowe then doubled the lead just 4 minutes later when he shot from the edge of the area and the ball hit the inside of the far post and went in. Rowe had collected the ball well and had time to compose himself. He could have passed to Whitmore on the overlap but instead turned inside to shoot, netting his 5th of the season. It was a well deserved quickfire double from Rowe who was looking in very good form.
Sam Hollis was put through one on one after 19 minutes and it looked like a 3rd goal was coming but the Leiston keeper saved well with his legs. Another great chance came on 25 minutes when Jamie Towers headed an Eliot Putman cross wide. Leiston were in danger of sinking fast but after chances from Jai Rowe and another for Jamie Towers they finished the half more strongly with a couple of shots themselves.
Half Time: Barwell 2 Leiston 0
Leiston started the 2nd half more strongly and had 3 quick corners that put some pressure on the Barwell defence. Liam Castle punched one clear, Brady Hickey cleared one off the line and one ended with a volley being hit just wide. Barwel struggled to get going and to keep the ball. On 52 minutes there was shot from Leiston that was just over the bar and it looked likely that the Suffolk side would grab a goal back at any time.
Barwell forced themselves back in to the game and on 60 minutes Sam Hollis had a great chance to score when he was played in well by Brady Hickey but the goalkeeper collected the ball easily. On 72 minutes the man of the match, Eliot Putman, had a great effort that curled just wide. It would have been no more than the left back deserved for his fine performance in the game.
On 82 minutes the 3rd goal came and it was Brady Hickey who got it. Hickey got ahead of a defender and headed the ball in from a Dom Brown-Hill cross. The home fans were delighted behind the goal that Hickey scored in. This was goal 25 for the season for the Barwell captain. He almost had goal number 26 when his free kick hit the crossbar in the 85th minute but it came back and hit the back of the Leiston keeper and somehow went wide of the goal.
At the final whistle there was jubilation for Barwell as a relatively comfortable 90 minutes came to an end.
Full Time: Barwell 3 Leiston 0
Attendance - 138
Referee - Richard Walker
Man of the Match - Eliot Putman