REPORT I Barwell 0 Tamworth 1
By Simon Mathieson
Lambs beat Canaries
Barwell ended their home fixtures for this season with a single goal defeat to Tamworth. In a game played in hot conditions on a hard, dusty pitch there was a wonder goal from Ravanelle James on 73 minutes to settle it but Barwell had, again, enough chances to feel that a point would have been well deserved. A missed penalty by Brady Hickey inside 10 minutes could have set the course for a different outcome had it been scored. It means that the Canaries record at home this season is won 4, drawn 8 and lost 8 and it has been away form that has yielded most success for them. It was a depleted Barwell squad that was named for the match with both Kev Charley and Guy Hadland on the bench; injuries and the like claiming a couple of regular starting players.
A crowd of 302, with a good turnout from Tamworth, saw the game get underway in warm April sunshine that got hotter as the game went on. Barwell started with the unusual formation of 3-5-2 with Henry Eze in the middle of the back 3 with Elliot Percival and Eliot Putman either side of him.
In the first 5 minutes there were chances for Brady Hickey to add to his impressive goal tally this season. The first of these was within 1 minute of the kick off and followed good work by Danny Durkin who cut the ball back to the captain but the shot went straight at keeper Jas Singh. Hickey then had another shot just 4 minutes later but it was deflected wide.
Tamworth also had an early chance when a poor back pass from Henry Eze allowed an attacking player to pick up the ball and bear down on Liam Castle. However, Castle rushed out and stood strong to block the attempt and thwart the chance.
Barwell were awarded a penalty on 9 minutes when a high foot on Brady Hickey was punished. Hickey stepped up to take the spot kick and struck it to the left of Jas Singh but the keeper was equal to it and parried it away. Barwell had another 2 penalty shouts in the game but neither was awarded.
A series of half chances and good defending meant that no real goalmouth action took place during the middle of the first half. Tamworth had a dangerous looking free kick turn out to be no danger when it failed to clear the first man but there was not a lot else to get the fans excited.
On 37 minutes Tamworth worked the ball well and slotted a ball through to Chris Lait who saw his opportunity to take the ball round Liam Castle and score but the initial pass was played with Lait in an offside position. The Lambs then had another good chance a couple of minutes later when Jaanai Gordon dashed down the right and got round the back of Eliot Putman only to see his shot across goal miss well wide.
The half ended in bad tempered fashion when an altercation between Dom Brown-Hill and Chris Lait got some people excited. Both players received yellow cards but the calls for something more from the away fans were clearly expressed as the teams went in the tunnel for half time.
Half Time: Barwell 0 Tamworth 0
Tamworth made a substitution at the start of the 2nd half as they looked to extend their recent good run of results and claim a top half finish.
Sam Hollis displayed some fine skills on 52 minutes and created a chance for himself. He collected the ball on the right hand side of the box and made a couple of little flick ups that beat a couple of defenders and opened up a shooting opportunity. His skill was not rewarded with a goal with his shot being blocked. Former Barwell striker, Anthony Dwyer, was in one on one with Liam Castle not long after this but, again, the Barwell stopper was up to the challenge and made the save.
Still the chances kept coming for Barwell and, in particular, for Brady Hickey. Hickey had the ball laid off to him by Jamie Towers for a great set up but his shot was saved again. Sam Hollis had played a great ball to Jamie Towers to start the whole move.
Both Henry Eze and Jamie Towers suffered injuries as the half went on. Towers had to be replaced by Kev Charley who was making a very rare appearance which had the home fans hoping he could roll back the years grab a goal or two.
The match winning goal came on 73 minutes when a long ball pumped forward by Jannai Gordon was met by Ravanelle James not far inside the Barwell half and in acres of space. With his first touch he hit the ball and it looped over Liam Castle and found the far corner of the net. It appeared a wonder goal but there was, perhaps, a suspicion that it was not meant as a shot but it gave Tamworth the lead and they kept it.
Tamworth looked more confident after the goal and gave the Barwell a few more scares before the game ended. Their ability to make 3 substitutions meant that they were able to keep the pressure up in the final stages. Barwell had another half chance right at the end when Sam Hollis looked to make a good cross in to the box but no one in a green shirt could get on it and the danger passed.
It ended with the win for the away side but there was not much between the sides and a draw would have been a fair result. Barwell complete their season away at Royston Town on 27th April.
Full Time: Barwell 0 Tamworth 1
Man of the Match: Henry Eze