Barnstoneworth United AA2 v Maccabi Hakoah
After a terrible start to the season in last week's disgraceful loss to UNSW, it was surely not going to get any worse for Barnstoneworth AA2. A fair few changes were made to the Barney starting line-up with a several players back from injury and suspension.
The House of Paine was looking in pretty decent condition although it could have done with a wee trimming of the turf and there was a lot more room to play football than on the small David Phillips pitch from last week. This seemed to suit Barnstoneworth massively in comparison, with some good passing from the back through the midfield, there was already more football played by Barney in the first 10 mins than the whole of last weeks effort. There were however limited decent chances early on from either team with shots from distance being the closest anyone came to breaking the deadlock.
With some terrible shooting from Barnstoneworth midfielders Sleight, Whelen, Noone and Kieran the Maccabi goalkeeper didn't have much to do except collect the ball from across the street and dodge the traffic. The young Maccabi team looking to play long from the back were put under some good pressure but still managed to play some decent long balls down both flanks in an attempt to get in behind the Barney defence which were proving to be a lot tougher to breakdown. Maccabi were still being limited to shots from outside of the box but their strikes were a lot closer with their first decent effort from 20 yards but a crucial touch/block from Bentley Rythum Ace deflected a Maccabi shot onto the post but goalkeeper Ollie making his home debut surely had it covered.
Barnstoneworth responded well with some more good passing leading to a good effort by Noone which the Maccabi keeper could only parry away from goal falling into the path of another home debutant Sam Ellis playing at left back with that wand of a left foot Barney were going to take the lead surely. Sadly a fine save from Maccabi keeper defied young Ellis from the opener.
Maccabi in turn went up the park and threatened initially when Ellis again involved, was bundled over. Some Barney players thinking the ref was going to blow for a free-kick while Maccabi believing they should have had a penalty but the referee Edmond Sweeney let the game flow beautifully. Barnstoneworth then threatened in the box with Andy ‘twinkle toes’ Lees doing well in the box but couldn't quite get a decent shot off to trouble the keeper. It was then Maccabi who looked dangerous got had their first corner which went near post was clipped to the far post definitely goal bound but was brilliantly cleared off the line by Andy Lees. There was time for a couple more attacks which fell to Barnestoneworth. The first a cross coming over from Andrew Noone who had been causing the Maccabi right side massive problems all half, managing to put a cross over to Lees who perhaps had too much time only to drag his shot wide. Then Noone himself made a chance out of nothing by beating three players but the finish was again just wide of the target.
The 2nd half would prove to be similar end to end stuff with the Barnstoneworth midfield starting well. The addition of McAdam in the centre seemed to encourage more passing from Barney and chances came thick and fast with some excellent work down the right with Stevie having a great chance but failing to strike as well as he would have hoped with the Maccabi keeper unconvincing kicking away from goal. Ross Adamsom made an immediate impact for Barney when coming on and linking up with the midfield but couldn’t quite get his shot on target.
Maccabi came back up the other end and carved up a great shooting opportunity but a wonderful block by Ellis putting his whole body on the line taking a powerful shot to the coupon which was definitely goal bound-great defence!
Yet more chances came to Barnstoneworth with Adamson again getting on the end of a good cross from the right but failing to direct his shot well enough and McAdam with a decent effort well saved. Noone then had a couple of good chances but couldn’t find the back of the net.
With 5 to go, a questionable pass back from (someone) in the Barney midfield put Ollie under pressure and with Maccabi’s best chance of the match, the Barney keeper came to his team’s rescue with a great save. In the last minute Barnstoneworth created yet another tremendous chance with Noone having the keeper to beat lobbed it over him but it just didn’t quite have the legs to hit the net.
So, the match finished a stalemate but it was an entertaining game with a draw probably being a fair result. A clean sheet from Barnstoneworth and lots of chances created it was a vast improvement on their first match of the season and it will surely give the team plenty of confidence to go into their next game.