Barton Town Old Boys FC 1 Tadcaster Albion 4
Second best on the day, Barton Town Old Boys saw their eight game unbeaten league run came to an abrupt and disappointing end, going down comprehensively to a Tadcaster Albion side with a point to prove of their own after a surprising midweek home defeat against basement team, the rejuvenated Lincoln Moorlands.
With Gareth Barlow unavailable for Barton, Mike Gibson, out since early September following an ankle ligament injury, returned to partner skipper, Ash Dexter in central defence.
The only other change saw Declan Marshall restored to a central midfield role, Joe Cooper dropping to the bench.
The second game in less than 72 hours following Town’s narrow win over Pickering Town in midweek and the heavy winter showers which preceded it, saw the Marsh Lane pitch get increasingly heavy as the game went on. As did a number of legs.
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Tadcaster raced out of the traps but a combination of good luck and solid defending saw Town come through their poor start unscathed before making inroads of their own, but it was fully 13 minutes on the clock before the hosts showed any real signs of attacking intent, Josh Schofield rising highest at the near-post but was not able to direct Ash Lattimore’s corner down.
That served to give Barton some impetus and Lattimore almost opened the scoring in the 24th minute, his off-balance right-foot volley grazing the outside of Albion keeper, Adam Mitchell’s right-hand post, following good work by Tom Bennett.
But then the game was won and lost in the space of 11 “ purple patch" minutes.
In the 31st minute, Tadcaster’s Ryan Qualtar outjumped everyone to head home powerfully off the underside of Dave Bramley’s crossbar before Steve Jeff, cutting in from the left flank, made it two for the visitors six minutes later with a great strike. Not to be outdone, Chris Kamara then scored the goal of the game, picking up another loose Town clearance before drilling beyond the outstretched arm of the despairing Bramley from some 25 yards.
Miracle comebacks notwithstanding, it was effectively game over, leaving Town with nothing but pride to play for in the second half. Switching from 4-3-3 to 4-4-2, which saw the half-time introduction of Richard Medcalf to partner Steve Norton, Marshall moving to the right flank at the expense of Schofield, Barton made a better fist of things in the second half, but without finding enough quality final balls in and around the Tadcaster area to trouble Mitchell who was well protected by a solid Albion back four.
Tadcaster substitute, Ryan Williams’ 89th minute goal merely rubbed salt into Town’s wounds, before JOE COOPER, on for Bennett, pulled one back in added time.
Town can have no complaints about the defeat, which had looked on the cards ever since the somewhat fortunate defeat of Pickering in midweek. Playing badly and winning is one thing, it’s the sign of a good side, or so they say. Playing badly and losing is a different matter entirely, as was the case here, although the result underlines once again, along with others from around the Premier Division this weekend, just how competitive this league is, from top to bottom.
Nothing should be allowed to detract from what has been a great run by the Old Boys, one which has seen them climb to fourth in the table, separated from a top three spot by goal difference only. But it does emphasise the fact that, in Dave Anderson’s words, Town are “ a work in progress" and with any such work, setbacks will occur.
One of the beauties of football is that there is always another game just around the corner and the Swans will be looking to get back on track, sooner rather than later. And the next game just around the corner? Just the small matter of next Saturday’s trip to current league leaders and probable title favourites, Bridlington Town. At this level, they don’t come much tougher than that, but what an opportunity...
Barton Town OB: Bramley; Sherwood, Gibson, Dexter, Brunton; Marshall, R.Cooper, Bennett (J.Cooper); Schofield ( Medcalf ), Norton ( Owen ), Lattimore. Sub (not used) White.