Stafford Town were once again on the wrong end of a heavy scoreline as they were eliminated from the Macron Cup at the first hurdle following a 5-0 defeat at the hands of Barnton at Evans Park. Barnton are flying high in the league, currently sitting in the playoff places and after taking the lead from the penalty spot, the visitors completely dominated the vast remainder of the match as Stafford showed low levels of confidence and a concerning fragility. The opening fifteen minutes of the game saw both sides have some good spells of possession but without creating clear chances, Stafford having a half chance headed wide for a corner and a weak Barnton shot easily saved by Rhys Williams. In the 16th minute a Barnton attack down the right channel resulted in Dan Kelly attempting a sliding tackle along the edge of the penalty area but the Barnton player got his toe to the ball first and a penalty was rightly awarded. After the penalty was duly converted, Stafford showed their current lack of confidence, constantly conceding possession cheaply and needlessly to the visitors who were not so forthcoming at coughing up the ball, displaying a number of neat pieces of interplay and putting Stafford under constant pressure. Dan Turton was then forced into a last ditch interception to stop a cross from the right before he was forced off with a knee injury a few minutes later, necessitating a reshuffle of the Stafford rearguard. In the 28th minute a Barnton overlap down the right resulted in a shot in the box that hit the far post and ricocheted to safety. Barnton doubled the lead with five minutes to go in the half, a free kick from the right into the box headed home uncontested at the backpost. Stafford almost pulled a goal back in the final minute of the half, Taylor Draper heading wide from a Josh Wilson Sr freekick delivered into the box from the right. HT 2-0 Barnton. Stafford were forced to scramble away a Barnton corner in the opening five minutes of the second half, before Barnton added to the lead in the 56th minute; an excellent spell of possession saw the ball moved around the edge of the Stafford box, ultimately ending with a curling shot into the bottom corner of the goal when Stafford failed to press out to the ball. Ryan Taylor then had a 63rd minute header pushed wide for a corner following a good cross into the box by Reece Bailey before Barnton rifled over minute later following a break and cut back down the left. Another cross by Bailey in the 74th minute was then headed wide by substitute Nathan Brayford, whose performance was a rare bright spot for the hosts on a tough afternoon. Youngster Remay Porter then had a shot at the backpost saved following a Taylor corner, before Barnton added to the lead with an incisive break down the right leading to a low cross that was finished at the far post. The final ten minutes saw Sean Kinsella head wide from another good corner by Taylor, before Taylor put a freekick high over the crossbar. Barnton added further gloss to the result in injury time, Stafford failing to respond to another break on goal from the left that was finished past Williams. FT 5-0 Barnton. Stafford now return to league action with two crucial home fixtures at Evans Park that will determine if they can pull away from the relegation dogfight. First up is the visit of Alsager Town on Saturday 22nd October followed a week later by the second league meeting of the season with Cammell Laird on Saturday 29th October, Stafford having won the reverse fixture 3-0 earlier in the season.
As always them ain action can be accessed here at Stafford Town TV: https://youtu.be/I3Q4ufJYtjM