Barton Town Old Boys FC 2 Maltby Main 0
After three rain-infested weeks without a game, Barton Town Old Boys FC finally got back to playing, and winning, against a resolute Maltby Main side left chasing the game after two first half Simon Spencer strikes had put Town in the driving seat.
Town welcomed back two former Swans to the fold, both recently transferred from Hall Road Rangers. But with Craig Suddaby sitting this one out as part of an ongoing two match suspension, it was left to Adam Crane, starting on the left, to make his second debut for the club. Crane’s arrival saw Ash Lattimore switch to the right, where he is equally at home. Simon Spencer began up top in place of the unavailable Steve Norton.
On a good playing surface, but one which was very soft underneath and, as a result, cut up badly as the game went on, Town, belying the notion that three weeks of inactivity over Christmas and the New Year would inevitably takes its toll, began very brightly, with both Crane and Lattimore very much to the fore.
As early as the fifth minute, Crane’s pace took him inside his man, ex.Swan Matty Plant and his pull-back appeared to be controlled by the hand of Maltby’s Daniel Reilly but the referee was having none of it, presumably deeming it ball to hand. Skipper Ash Dexter then saw his goal-bound effort blocked on the line as Town continued to seek the breakthrough.
Maltby, gaining in confidence, began to threaten on the counter before Gareth Barlow, playing confidently alongside Dexter once more at the heart of the Barton defence, superbly stopped one such breakaway in its tracks and drove out from the edge of the area to release Crane to round Main keeper, Jamie Bailey, but forced wide, the returning Old Boy could only hit the sidenetting.
Moments later, Crane was involved again, linking well with Danny Brunton to find the head of Spencer whose glanced effort was won back and when the ball was eventually returned to him, Spencer made a much-better fist of things second time around, but his well-struck effort from the edge of the box still failed to trouble Bailey.
Town finally broke the deadlock in the 25th minute with a goal fashioned by Lattimore, cutting in from the right to release the supporting Ryan Cooper who slipped the ball under the advancing keeper, SPENCER helping it over the line.
Lattimore then tried his luck, firing powerfully but well over before Town doubled their advantage in the 40th minute. Gavin Cooper , quietly effective in the holding midfield role, played a superb through-ball to Lattimore whose inviting first-time cross was swept home by SPENCER.
Two goals to the good at half-time, Town began the second half looking to kill the game off and had the chance to when Tim Taylor picked out the unmarked Lattimore to home-in on goal before being crowded out.
Bailey then did well to parry an effort from the edge of the area by the hat-trick-seeking Spencer to signal a spell of sustained pressure from the visitors, including a good shout of their own for a penalty for handball, once more not given on the basis of ball to hand.
Town keeper, Peter Crook, becoming ever-more confident with a run of games under his belt, twice dived bravely at the feet of on-rushing forwards to earn his first clean sheet for the club, before time was called on an encouraging start to 2013 for the Old Boys.
The win sees Barton move up to fourth in the table and Town will be looking to consolidate that spot when they make the short trip over the Humber Bridge next Saturday to face North Bank rivals, Hall Road Rangers (kick off 3pm).
Barton Town OB: Crook; Sherwood, Barlow, Dexter, Brunton; R.Cooper, G.Cooper, Taylor ( Owen ), Lattimore, Spencer, Crane. Subs (not used) Bennett, Marshall, Anderson, White.