Despite only taking 1 point from the last 5 games Barnstoneworth found themselves in a situation where 4 wins from the final 4 games could secure a top four finish and a guaranteed spot in the end of season finals.
The first of these games was against Waverley Old Boys (WOB) who find themselves rooted to the foot of the table without a win all season. After a narrow defeat in the last outing against top of the table, South East Eagles, Barney were full of confidence that a repeat performance would be too much for WOB.
The starting line-up was Andy Cameron in goal, a back four of Jett and Dylan at full back with Jay and Joe at centre half. The midfield 4 consisted of Alec and Chris on the wings with Merv and Luke in the centre leaving Lynchy and Danny to lead the line. A strong bench of Steve, Rowan, Billy and James finished out the squad.
The match started with Barnstoneworth on the front foot pressing WOB all over the pitch trying to force errors and pick off any loose balls. The first real chance fell after some excellent pressing on the Waverly goal keeper who had ventured outside his box. The ball fell to Merv 25 yards out and his first time shot looked destine for the net but came back off the post. Alec was there to follow up but a great challenge from the WOB defender diverted the ball out for a corner. It was a good sign for Barnstoneworth but we have been in this position before and knew that these sorts of chances had to be put away.
Despite the early pressure the score was still poised at 0-0 and Waverley were starting to find their feet in the match. A long ball over the top forced Joe into an error that gifted WOB a corner and a chance to apply some pressure, the ball was cleared but only as far as a Waverley body on the edge of the box but his shot never looked like troubling Andy in the Barnstoneworth goal.
After a short spell from the home side Barnstoneworth soon found themselves back in control. A fine cross field ball from Jett at left back found the early run of Chris Moore, he took one touch to get away from his defender before cooling placing his shot across the keeper to make it 1-0 to Barney.
Shortly after his assist Jett found himself with the ball at his feet again wide on the left flank. Everyone was urging Jett to pass, but cutting in onto his favoured right foot he managed to beat a couple of defenders before unleashing a speculative effort from at least 25 yards. The collective groans on the pitch as he shot were quickly silenced as it dipped at the right time over the keeper and into the roof of the net. Definite goal of the season contender, 2-0 BUFC.
Barney were in full control for the rest of the half but struggled to turn their dominance into goals. A flurry of corners came to nothing with the wind causing havoc and the referee was giving nothing to the away side, turning down three penalty appeals for hand ball. Lynchy had a good chance from the edge of the box but his shot was too close to the keeper and Danny didn’t quite connect with a volley at the back post when a goal looked certain. 2-0 at half time.
Despite a good first half, the next goal was always going to be crucial and it wasn’t long before it came. Again there was good pressing high up the pitch and Merv found himself through one on one with keeper, scared about getting a grilling from JD if he missed Merv slid the ball across to Danny to tap in to make it 3-0 BUFC. This goal all but sealed the three points and the game was now about trying to improve the -10 goal difference. Shortly after the third a neat move down the left should have brought about the 4th goal but as the ball was whipped across the six yard box Steve Shave managed to somehow crash his shot against the cross bar from all of 3 yards out.
Waverley continued to try and play out from the back but were unable to do anything about Baney’s high pressing game. This time a loose ball was picked off by Joe in the middle of the park who played a neat one two with Rowan on the left flank, but the Waverley defender was having none of it and dragged Joe to the deck. The resulting fee kick was whipped into the box by Danny and not one WOB defender attempted to win the header, Joe found himself free on the penalty spot and nodded in to make it 4-0 BUFC.
It was all one way traffic from here for Barney as Waverley struggled to make anything stick up top despite some neat passing in the middle of the park. Another quick ball over the top caught Waverley out again and Alec had too much pace for the covering defender, he took a couple of touches into the area and despite calls for him to square it Alec took the shot on from a tight angle and smashed the ball past the keeper, 5-0 BUFC.
Danny soon made it 6-0 and grabbed his second of the game after picking up the ball just outside the Waverley box. His shot looped over the Waverley keeper who wasn’t blessed with height. It looked as if 6-0 would be the final score but right at the death more great pressing from Barney’s front line caused yet another turn over. Danny completed his hat-trick with another tap in from the edge of the box as the keeper found himself stranded out of position. 7-0 BUFC.
A great team performance and Barney were finally rewarded with the result that their season deserved. After some hard fought defeats in recent games this was the perfect way to start the first of four cup finals as Barney make a push for the play offs.