Barnstoneworth United hosted Sydney Uni at Paine Reserve on Sunday with both teams looking for their first win of the season. New manager Nick Keiran was feeling the pressure and decided to mix things up with the starting 11 in a bid to get the 3 points. With Dangerous Dave Sleight serving a 5 match ban, long term casualty Ben Wardle still out and and Sam Palmer still enjoying his retirement, he started with Gaffo in goals and a back 4 of Paul at left back, Ryan and himself in central defence and Wynton “Stretch” Fictoor at left back. Ian “IRA” Rodgers started in the middle with new signing from Japan Hiro, Sparky and Matty on the wings and Damo and Cosmo starting up front. There was plenty of strength and depth on the bench with Niall, Shaun, Stevie, Gerry and Stu. After conceding a last minute equaliser to Heffron Hawks last week the pre match team talk focused on being more clinical in front of goal and not giving away any “stupid f*$#ing goals” this week.
Barney started the match well and were the dominant team from the get go with Rodgers and Hiro seeing plenty of the ball in the middle of the park. Despite the language barrier with Rodger's lack of basic english the pair combined well and they started knocking the ball about nicely and both Matty and Sparky were finding space on the wings and were able to start to getting some great balls in to the box, although Damo and Cosmo were not able to get on the end of them. Cosmo and Damo were both putting the central defenders under pressure and Sydney Uni were finding it hard to get the ball up the pitch. Although having the majority of the possession Barney were unable to test the goalie with a long range effort from Matty going wide of the post and Cosmo failing to get a shot away quick enough inside the box before being closed down by the defender.
Assistant manager Billy was on the sidelines and decided to mix things up after 30 mins. He brought on Stu for Cosmo up front and swapped Stevie for Sparky on the right. Stevie’s energy on the right had an immediate effect and he and Damo linked up well with Damo managing to test the goalie from the edge of the box. The deadlock was broken after 35 minutes when Stu got on the end of a superb free kick from skipper Ryan to header the ball past the goalie from the penalty spot. It was just what Barney needed, and no more than they deserved.
The dressing room at Paine was a happy place at half time for a change with everybody in good spirits after such a positive first half performance. Billy wanted to make sure that the lads didn't become complacent and told them in no uncertain terms that they had to remain focused and get the second goal and not suffer the same disappointment of last week. Damo came off at the break with Shaun coming on at left wing and Matty moving up top alongside Stu.
From the first whistle Barney went for the jugular with Stu hitting a shot from the edge of the box which looked like it was destined for the top corner before the goalie got a finger to it to tip it round the post. From the resulting corner Ryan had a good header which just went over the bar. It was one-way traffic and 10 minutes into the second half the home side doubled their lead. Matty volleyed home with his left foot from just inside the box from a “pin-point” pass from Paul. It was nothing more the Barney deserved. Goalkeeper Gaffo had been having a very quiet afternoon but managed to make and outstanding fingertip save from a rare Sydney Uni chance which could have allowed them to get back in to the contest. With 70 minutes gone Stu got his second of the afternoon, he took the ball past the last defender with a nice touch before slotting it home. The third goal killed off any slim chance Sydney Uni had of getting back into the match then Barney sealed the win in style with a forth goal in the dying stages. Barney Veteran Niall got the end of a through ball from Wynton and after rounding the full back he lobbed the helpless Sydney Uni goalie. That goal rounded off the best performance of the season to give Barney the must needed 3 points.
Billy was so happy with the result that he jumped on Wynton’s skateboard to go and buy the boys a case of beer at the bottle shop to celebrate!