Macfarlanes 2 - BLG 3
OG (Acquaye assist)
OG (Greeny assist)
The Macfarlanes players were counting their lucky stars this morning that they do not work for a Colombian law firm, otherwise they might be a couple of players short for the return fixture come Monday. Two own goals in the second half helped to extend Barlow's unbeaten run now to four games.
The goal spurred Macfarlanes into life and they responded well, focusing their attacks through their tricky right winger and putting the Barlows defence under pressure. On the half hour mark a free kick was conceded on the right hand side of the area. A well taken delivery saw the Macfarlanes player header in unchallenged at the back post. The game was then very close with both teams creating some good half chances either end until the referee blew for half time. 1-1 and we knew we were in for a tough second half.
The Barlows pressure finally paid off when Craig Aquaye rounded the on rushing Macfarlanes keeper, who must have thought he was Rene Higuata, forcing Craig to hit a hard cross at an empty goal from the by-line. The Macfarlanes defender was forced to attempt a clearance on the goal line with the Barlows forwards ready to pounce, but unfortunately for him, ended up clearing straight up into his own net!! A inspirational team talk by Captain Eccles at half time ensured Barlows start the second half with the bit between their teeth. Stronger in the challenge and less wasteful in possession saw Barlows stamp their authority in the second half, with Richard Craig and Robbie Chapman impressing and gaining the upper hand in the centre of the park, building upon the foundations of Eccles, who lead by example and didn't lose a header all night. The screams of "Eddddddds baaaaaaaaaaaaaallllllllllll" had been sorely missed in the dark depths of the poor run of form in December.
Unbeaten to date in 2009, Barlows started the game confidently against a strong Macfarlanes team who were far better than their current league position suggests. Though, within the first 30 seconds of the game, the Macfarlanes defence were caught dwelling on the ball by Greeny who dispossessed their defender. One on one with the on-rushing keeper he chipped the ball narrowly wide of the post. It was a positive start to the game and after 15 minutes Hooksie and Greeny linked up well on the break which saw Greeny chopped down in the area. Penalty! This time it was nice to be on the right end of a penalty decision for once this season. Hooksie dispatched a well taken penalty in the bottom right hand corner which gave the keeper no chance.
With the game swung well and truly in Barlow's favour a hopeful clearance by Macfarlanes found Eccles who controlled the ball. The clearance should have been a formality, especially after another rock solid performance at the back. However, unfortunately somehow Ed mis-kicked his clearance which fell straight to the feet of the Macfarlanes striker who caught Chris Barnes off his line with a fine finish in the top corner from 25 yards.
Barlows once again raised their game and after some good chances swiftly re took the lead when, this time Greeny rounded their keeper and shot from a tight angle. The ball hit their unfortunate defender who was running back to the goal line and ricocheted into the net. 3-2.
Barlows held out well for the final 15 minutes and even created a number of excellent chances to extend their lead, with Robbie Chapman hitting the outside of the post after another one of his darting runs at the Macfarlanes defence. Macfarlanes almost equalised with 5 minutes to go, which saw a fantastic finger-tip save from Chris Barnes at his near post, but could only parry the ball to the on rushing striker following up. Fortunately for Barlows he could only manage to hit the side netting from a tight angle.
Barlows then held firm for the final few minutes and deservedly took the 3 points on what was a well fought and entertaining game for the neutral.
Team: Chris Barnes; Grant, Eccles (c), TC, Dave H (sub Hogey HT); Craig A, Richard Craig, Robbie Chapman, Dom; Greeny, Hooksie.