After what seems a lifetime ago since our last match at home to Maccabi, due to various weather conditions, we finally got permission from the council to open a pitch for our make or break fixture with Dunbar Rovers FC AAM1 White at Chifley Sports Ground.
On a cold week night fixture when NSW were taking on QLD in a potential Origin winner we could have been excused for being short of numbers, but once again the togetherness of this Barnestoneworth team showed as we all grouped together to try and claw our way back into contention for the league title.
Barney started with the preferred 4-4-2 formation that worked so well in previous weeks as our form is starting to be portrayed with results. A semi fit Gaffo between the sticks, with a special mention for Wynton stepping up from the seconds for cover. A similar back four consisted of Andy and spider-boot in the full back positions, with the two Joes pairing up at centre half. Alec and Mooreman pushed for width on the wings and a solid central midfield pairing of Merv and Davey looked to boss the game from the off. Tom and washy to lead the line hoping to add to their respective goal tally's this term.
Dunbar to kick off and as they do Barney were straight on to them, pressuring them all over the field and within minutes that pressure paid dividends. Their RB attempted to square the ball back to the goalkeeper but with our two centre forwards so high up the pitch Tom managed to read the situation, intercepted the ball and rounded the goalkeeper before managing to square the ball to Walsh who effortlessly played it into the back of the net. 1-0 BUFC and a perfect start!
Constant pressure throughout the first 10-15 minutes created various chances for barney with Mooreman and Merv both coming close from knockdowns and excellent crosses. Special credit to Alec on the left wing using his pace to get around their defence every single time and delivering excellent crosses and we are really starting to pile it onto the home team.
As has been on various occasions we seemed to switch off for one single moment and we gifted Dunbar a lifeline. A cross came in from the left and after a great tackle by Chris there was some some confusion between the defence on who was going to clear and this allowed the ball to drop to an unmarked Dunbar striker to poke home to make the score 1-1. What has to be praised from this is that we showed a collective spirit within our ranks to lift each other and use this as a springboard to push on even further.
This goal seemed to lift Dunbar and they had a chance to grab a second a few minutes later after a hopeful long ball found its way to their left winger who had made the diagonal run through the middle. Andy tracked him well but he managed to get a shot away that Gaffo magnificently tipped onto the post to keep the scores level.
Barney regained control after this chance and constant pressure on the Dunbar midfield resulted in us reestablishing our lead. A brilliant piece of team work between Joe Peters, Mooreman and Andy resulted in an excellent ball down the wing for Tom to run onto, just keeping it in. A great run from Walsh into the box and a clever flick on from our number 11 found Merv making that late run and finding the bottom left hand corner. 2-1 Barney!!
10 minutes to go in the first half and we managed to extend our lead to 3-1. A dangerous cross came in from the left and a scurry of Dunbar defenders attempted to clear the ball all without success. Another calm piece of play by Walshy, who was able to bring the ball down and lay it into Tom who put the icing on a solid first half display for the away side with a great finish into the bottom corner! 3-1 BUFC.
With only 5 minutes to go in the half Dunbar decided to throw everything they had at Barney to get a goal before the break. A number of crosses and long shots flew into the box but each one met with a clearance or a block from a man in red. A crucial spell of resistance for Barney and as the half time whistle went we could be happy with our job so far. There was no room for complacency though as we knew we would have to step up after the break because there were still goals in this.
No changes on the 45 from Barney, the same again was the words coming from each individual donning the red jerseys. We knew we had to push on and that we did, Merv almost adding to his earlier goal with a brave header that just sailed wide, Walshy and Tom both coming close with individual efforts and constant pressure from the midfield through the middle and out wide.
The two Joe’s were constantly bossing it, winning every header, tackle and even bringing the ball out into the opposition half looking to create chances. This was the strongest we have looked all season, in every single position.
A rare 5 minute spell occurred on the hour mark when Gaffo had to react to a few half chances, especially a good piece of skill from one of the Dunbar wingers, cutting in but our goalkeeper was the perfect match pushing the effort around the post.
Then came the changes with the returning Sam Binks, and Marty coming on to replace Alec and Merv and Jimmy on to replace Andy at fullback. The 3 had their work cut out to replicate the performaces of Alec, Merv and Andy who all had great games. The changes seemed to do the trick and the strength of the Barney bench showed as Sam made it 4-1 with almost his first touch of the game and his 3rd of the season with a low shot through a crowd of bodies into the bottom corner, and victory was almost in the bag. 4-1 BUFC.
A slight scare came towards the end of the game when our Man of the Match Joe Peters was caught with a high boot and shoulder charge which left the vice-captain on the ground for several minutes. The hammers fan showed his true colours though and managed to return to the pitch after a short spell on the sidelines to lead the team to victory.
Dunbar huffed and puffed in the final 15 minutes to try and create chances but never looked like getting back into the match. In fact it was Barney who could have extended the lead further after a great cross in from Boot on the left flashed across the face of goal just missing the heads of Walshy and Tom.
The final whistle went and Barney came away comfortable 4-1 winners!!
An excellent and tireless display from the team tonight, impressive from the off in every single position. Lets take this into the weekends fixture against South East Eagles and build on this result. MTB