BARWELL 1-0 MATLOCK TOWN
A fortunate 30th minute strike from OWEN STORY proved to be the matchwinner from a close hard fought clash which saw Barwell gain revenge for their equally narrow defeat at the DCJ Group Arena just three weeks earlier.
The Canaries had clearly done their homework as Matlock, stifled by the hosts’ no nonsense approach, simply never got anywhere near the heights of their fine win against Hednesford last weekend. The Gladiators were closed down at every opportunity, the visitors’ approach play often being rushed and a faulty pass was more often than not the result. “After the Lord Mayor’s Show” is probably a harsh assessment, but that extra touch of quality was sadly lacking, despite plenty of effort from the men in blue who started with the same side which began the Hednesford win.
Had a 9th minute chance which fell to Marcus Dinanga gone in, then the contest would have taken a completely different outlook. Niall McManus teased Liam Kay out on the right to cross low along the six yard box but Dinanga could not find the positive finish as Barwell stood firm for the ball to be scrambled clear for a corner from which Michael Williams skied his shot high over the bar.
Defender Joe Ballinger nodded wide from a flag kick at the other end and after goalkeeper Liam Castle’s low clearance only found Ted Cribley forty yards out, Castle was relieved to see Cribley’s speculative low shot fired straight at him.
Barwell upped the tempo and after Luke Barlone nodded down Cleveland Taylor’s cross from the right to Nigel Julien, the midfielder drove wide from fifteen yards.
But Barwell went in front shortly afterwards, the goal being hard on Phil Barnes. Against Hednesford he made a world class save from a shot he should not really have seen. This time he was left helpless as STORY’s shot took a wicked deflection to loop over him and find the target.
Barnes though failed to let that setback upset him as he was down quickly to push away another strike from Story, this being a crisp cleanly struck low effort, a couple of minutes after another Williams shot was again too high following a quickly taken free kick. The half closed with Joe Doyle-Charles shooting first time from a McManus square pass but Castle making a relatively comfortable stop.
As on Saturday, Alex Pursehouse replaced Williams at half time as Matlock looked for a way back. There was a sniff of an opportunity when Dinanga did well to swivel on a Jake Green cross but a difficult volley was too high. Curtis Morrison then cut in from the left only to be denied by excellent Barwell defending as Ballinger deflected his shot wide, the referee confounding everyone by awarding a goal kick.
Clear cut chances though were sparse as both defences dominated. Marc Newsham was sent on for Morrison and within four minutes of his introduction, Castle grabbed the ball off his toes after a McManus shot had its venom removed thanks to a deflection off Eddie Nisevic.
A rare Barwell chance disappeared as quickly as it arrived when Jake Green was in quickly to rob Callum Ball, but by the same token, Matlock needed either a slice of good fortune or an inspired moment to create the chance from their late surge..
Barwell though would not throw in the towel, they were solid and determined and that clear chance would not come. Dinanga briefly looked like repeating his finish which saw him strike gold at the weekend, but the chance came and went in a flash as Dinanga lost his footing as he looked to pull the trigger.
So the plaudits went to Barwell who gained a second successive league victory to pull away from the danger area. They will be fine, they play to their strengths, it;s not pretty, but it’s effective. Matlock were left to reflect on a rare off-night.
BARWELL: 1 Liam Castle 2 Cleveland Taylor 3 Eddie Nisevic 4 Liam Kay 5 Joe Ballinger 6 Nigel Julien 7 Owen Story (14 Samuel Grouse 83) 8 Craig Stanley 9 Luke Barlone ( 12 Romario Martin 80) 10 Brad Hickey 11 Callum Ball Other subs: 15 Alex Tomkinson 16 Nathan Edgington 17 Declan Towers
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Phil Barnes 2 Liam Marsden 3 Jake Green 4 Joe Doyle-Charles 5 Adam Yates 6 Dwayne Wiley 7 Niall McManus 8 Michael Williams (12 Alex Pursehouse 46) 9 Curtis Morrison (14 Marc Newsham 69) 10 Marcus Dinanga 11 Ted Cribley (15 Jamie Yates 77) Other subs: 16 Kevin Grocott 17 Nico de Girolamo
REFEREE: G Rollason (Birmingham) ATTENDANCE: 142 BEST GLADIATOR: Adam Yates