Sat 21
Stapenhill FC
4
-
1
League
Barrow Town
C McBride (18'), (86'), N Dawkins (20'), L Campbell (30')
Stapenhill 4 Barrow Town 1

Stapenhill 4 Barrow Town 1

By Wes Yardley
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Swans make it 5 wins in a row


CALLUM McBride netted twice as Stapenhill's good run of form continued at Edge Hill.

Niall Dawkins and Lewis Campbell also struck to complete the scoring for the Swans, with Ben Law on target for the visitors.

With the temperature hovering just above freezing, it was East Midlands Counties League Premier Division strugglers Barrow who created the first decent opening, Law sending a left-footed cross-shot just wide from Ebony Assante's pass.

But Steve Gough's side hit back immediately – and to devastating effect, as they opened the scoring.

An inswinging corner from Harry Austin was met by McBride, whose bullet header gave visiting keeper Ashley King no chance.

The visitors went in search of a response, Law chasing down a long ball but failing to beat Ben Gough in the Stapenhill goal with the home defence stranded.

That miss seemed even more costly when the hosts doubled their advantage moments later.

Campbell picked out Brent Upton, whose goalbound shot was beaten out by King, only to hit Dawkins and rebound into the unguarded net.

Town still appeared unaffected by the size of the challenge now facing them, with Jake Limbert and Assante combining to give Law half a chance in sight of goal, Austin getting across well to make a crucial tackle.

The reprieve was short lived for the hosts though, as Barrow halved the deficit on 21 minutes.

Right-back Jamie Sharman whipped a terrific cross to the irrepressible Law, who got between two defenders and headed past Gough.

And just moments later, they were almost level.

Goalscorer looked to turn provider as Law crossed to the unmarked Assante at the back post – but the striker glanced his effort inches wide.

The Swans stepped up a gear after that narrow escape, notching a crucial third goal on the half-hour.

A precision delivery from the right by Alex Britton was met by Campbell, Stapenhill's leading marksman guiding a composed header into the net.

While Town shotstopper King was beaten in that instance, he did well moments later, racing off his line to deny the hosts' goalscorer after a fine ball by Paul Furniss.

The visitors kept pushing in response, Assante – Town's standout player – setting up Law, who cleverly made room for himself only to fire just over.

Then the willing Assante chased down what looked to be a lost cause and just got there before Gough, who somehow reached a hand to the ball as the striker slipped – and the chance was lost.

At the other end, a low free-kick by Austin was driven to the near post, Dawkins flicking it just past the upright.

But Barrow finished the half strongly and, on 36 minutes, Assante brought possession down and knocked it past Gough before going down in the box after a challenge by Furniss.

Strong appeals for a penalty were waved away by referee Steve Thomson – and just three minutes later, the game exploded following a similar incident.

Sharman hit the deck after a clumsy Campbell tackle, but the Barrow full-back was sent off for dissent and teammate Shaun Martin was booked when the referee waved play on.

On 43 minutes, a McBride cross, met by Dawkins, ended with Francis Finnemore crashing the ball into the roof of his own net in a desperate attempt to clear the danger.

Fortunately for the Town player, however, the referee's assistant had already raised his flag for offside.

After the break, Campbell burst forward before releasing Dawkins, and the winger crashed the ball against the post.

The same two players then traded passes and opened it up for Campbell to test King with a decent strike.

At the other end, Louis Finney-Neckles kept Gough's hands warm with a good effort, the keeper then denying Limbert before clawing out a goalbound header from Barrow substitute Luke Underwood.

Shortly afterwards though, the visitors suffered another setback when Martin picked up his second booking after a poor challenge on McBride, leaving Barrow with nine men.

That was evened up somewhat on 79 minutes when Dawkins received his marching orders for two yellows.

With the various dismissals and substitutions, the game could hardly get going again – but a full-stretch McBride almost converted an Alex Britton cross.

And four minutes from time, substitutes Matthew Oliver and Connor Ward combined to set up McBride, who made no mistakes from inside the six-yard box to wrap the points up for Steve Gough's side and make it five victories on the bounce.

GOALS: McBride 14, 86, Dawkins 20, Campbell 30 (Swans), Law 21 (Town).

STAPENHILL: Gough, Gilligan, Rolph (Swift 46), Furniss (Ward 71), Austin, Brown, Upton (Oliver 47), Britton, Campbell, McBride, Dawkins. Subs not used: Bromley, Chatfield.

BARROW TOWN: King, Sharman, Taylor, Portwood, Finnemore, Martin, Limbert, Allen (Underwood 57), Law, Assante, Finney-Neckles. Subs not used: Gunn, Brightwell.

YELLOW CARDS: Brown (Swans), Assante (Town).

RED CARDS: Dawkins (Swans), Sharman, Martin (Town).

REFEREE: S. Thomson (Buxton).

ATTENDANCE: 31.

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Match details

Match date

Sat 21, Nov 2015

Kickoff

15:00

Attendance

35

Competition

Premier Division
Callum McBride

Player of the match

Callum McBride