Barton Town Old Boys 2 Long Eaton United 2 - North Counties East Premier
Two goals down with just 16 minutes on the clock, Barton Town Old Boys dug deep to haul the deficit back by the break and given better finishing allied to a little more luck in a second half in which they dominated, should have gone on to record all three points against an equally-committed Long Eaton United, WRITES PETE MITCHELL.
With keeper, Ben White getting the nod, Peter Crook had to make do with a spot on the bench, alongside Simon Spencer, the returning Steve Norton, Luke Anderson and James Branford. And with Craig Suddaby and Adam Crane injured and unavailable respectively, there was a debut for youngster, Phil Winn, recently transferred from North Bank neighbours, Hall Road Rangers, alongside skipper, Ash Dexter at the heart of the Swans’ defence. ,
Barring a marvellous interception by Gareth Barlow, reacting quickest to poke the ball off the toes of the lurking Danny Gordon after White, seeing the ball late, was only able to parry a low drive that came through a ruck of players, Town would have found themselves a goal down within the opening two minutes.
Gordon made amends just seven minutes later, his superb ball into the box inviting Shaun Rickford to get on the end of it and Long Eaton’s top scorer duly did, flinging himself to head powerfully beyond the exposed White.
And it got worse for Barton in the 16th minute. Following another quick counter-attack, Matt Savage found himself one on one with White before dinking the ball over the prone keeper for a neat finish.
16 minutes gone and Town found themselves chasing the game and chase it they most certainly did. Gareth OWEN began the fight-back in the 32nd minute, firing home following a scramble.
Blaine Hancock then saw his low drive well-held by White as the visitors tried, in vain, to restore their two-goal cushion before Tom Bennett saw a similar effort deflected for a Town corner which came to nothing.
With the referee looking at his watch, it was all-square, Ash LATTIMORE rifling home. left-footed for his 12th goal of what is proving a productive season and putting him one in front of Norton in the scoring charts.
With no time to re-start, the Town players went in at half-time buoyed by their excellent comeback and began the second period like they had ended the first, on top.
Within a couple of minutes of the re-start, Bennett and Tim Taylor, who put in another very solid shift alongside Ryan Cooper, combined only for Lattimore’s right-footed effort to fly over from just inside the box.
It was then the turn of Alex Sherwood, finding the feet of Barlow for the Town man’s cute ball to release Lattimore only for United keeper, Scott Miles to do enough, just, as the two players went head to head in a 50/50, the ball ricocheting off Lattimore’s shin before eventually being cleared to safety.
Twenty minutes into the half and Barlow again turned provider, getting on the end of a Bennett head-on to make tracks into the visitor’s area before unselfishly squaring to the supporting Owen but a tame finish didn’t trouble Miles.
Sherwood, popping up increasingly in advanced positions as Barton continued to press, then picked out Lattimore to see his shot deflected for a corner before the same player did well to stay on his feet in the area when others might have gone to ground, but both Barlow and substitute, Anderson were unable to capitalise.
It seemed just a matter of time before Town would make the turn-round complete, but when Kelvin Mushambi’s sliced wild clearance cannoned off the post after Miles had done just enough to thwart the ever-dangerous Lattimore, it wasn’t going to be.
And in the closing minutes, White, who had been a spectator for much of the half, had to be alert to turn Rickford’s effort round the post.
Particularly pleasing for manager, Dave Anderson was the very encouraging debut of Phil Winn. After an understandably nervous opening, the Old Boys’ new boy acquitted himself extremely well, gaining in confidence as the game wore on, helped in no small measure by the guidance of skipper Dexter, leading by example and the ever-dependable Danny Brunton.
A point won or two lost? From coming back so strongly from a two goal deficit, then it has to be a point won, one which keeps Town in range of a top six finish, although there are some very tough challenges ahead.
Barton Town: White; Sherwood, Winn, Dexter, Brunton; Taylor, R.Cooper ( Spencer ), Bennett; Owen ( Anderson ), Barlow, Lattimore. Subs ( not used ) Norton, Branford, Crook.
The next big test comes tomorrow (Tuesday night) when Town make the difficult journey to Thackley for a League Cup third round tie (kick off 7.45pm).
That’s followed by a trip to Nostell Miners Welfare, hovering dangerously close to the relegation places, next Saturday (kick off 3pm).