Saturday 8th October 2011 – Blue Square Bet Premier
Match Report by Steve Humbles
AFC Telford United were once again undone by a late goal as Barrow took all three points at a cold and damp Holker Street.
Both teams came into this match level on points with an identical goal difference so a tight encounter was expected as the action kicked off in conditions bearing a marked contrast to the searing heat of last Saturday. The home side threatened first when Paul Smith’s free-kick was comfortably gathered by Ryan Young amidst the gloom and Dominic Rowe also had a half-chance for Barrow on 10 minutes after receiving Louis Almond’s neat pass, but he fired well wide from the edge of the area.
Young was called into action again on 13 minutes to save Adam Boyes’ header from Kelvin Lomax’s right-wing centre before the Bucks fell behind following a double controversy involving the linesman on the popular side of the ground. Firstly the official awarded a corner to the hosts after Young had appeared to keep a high ball in play. That corner was cleared for a second flag-kick, and from that the same assistant signalled a handball against Sean Newton despite the ball appearing to strike the full-back’s chest. Boyes converted from the spot on 21 minutes by shooting low to Young’s right, though Young went the right way and nearly kept it out.
Telford looked set to equalise on the half-hour as striker Craig Farrell – recalled to the starting line-up at the expense of Adam Proudlock – burst down the right. The Bucks were two-on-two and Farrell did everything right to square for strike partner Chris Sharp who was waiting to pounce in the middle, but Sharp was denied by a superb last-ditch intervention from Lomax who deflected Farrell’s cross for a corner. Loan man Conal Platt also came close on 37 minutes with a delicate chip from the edge of the box. That effort appeared to have Danny Hurst beaten but failed to dip quickly enough and landed on top of the netting.
As the rain fell with increasing intensity both sides were struggling with the slippery conditions as the first-half entered the closing stages. Barrow had the last noteworthy effort of the half when Paul Smith tested Young from outside the area in the final minute of the half, but Young was equal to the challenge and Telford were forced to head for the dressing room 1-0 down. Boss Andy Sinton was clearly seething at the controversial decision which separated the sides as he trudged towards the tunnel, but he will also have fancied his side’s chances of getting back into the game after a first-half which was just as even as the league table suggested.
The second-half began with increasing amounts of surface water on the Holker Street pitch as the rain continued to fall with real gusto. However Telford didn’t let that bother them and after making an encouraging start to the second period, the Bucks forged an equaliser on 58 minutes. Sean Newton delivered a good cross from the left and Sharp’s header was well-saved by Hurst, but Farrell was on hand to take a touch and then fire inside the near-post. Greg Mills – who had been preparing to come on for Telford – initially sat back on the bench but he was soon introduced to the action, coming on as a direct replacement for Cambridge loanee Platt.
Telford were enjoying a strong second-half and the Bucks forced a series of corners; Phil Trainer heading over from one of these when well-placed in the centre. For Barrow Boyes had a good chance on 77 minutes only to shoot weakly at Young but Telford had a fantastic chance to snatch the lead one minute later. The impressive Farrell played a delightful through-ball to release Sharp one-on-one with Hurst in the inside-right channel, but Barrow breathed a huge sigh of relief as Sharp’s strike across the goalkeeper went wide of the far-post.
There was always a feeling there would be another goal in this game, however, and Telford were made to pay for that miss on 84 minutes. The Bucks had a warning just seconds earlier when substitute Richie Baker nearly converted after good work by Jack Mackreth on the left, but Telford didn’t survive a second time as Gavin Skelton this time burst down the left and crossed for Baker whose powerful header proved too much for Young. That left the Bucks to rue a third consecutive Saturday where a late goal has cost points, a record Telford will look to put right when they head to Kidderminster for a local derby on Tuesday.
1. Danny Hurst, 19. Kelvin Lomax, 3. Gavin Skelton (c), 4. Andy Nicholas, 17. Adam Quinn, 16. Jack Mackreth, 12. James Owen, 15. Paul Smith, 11. Adam Boyes, 18. Louis Almond, 24. Dominic Rowe.
Substitutes: 7. Paul Rutherford (for Rowe, 71 minutes), 8. Richie Baker (for Smith, 60 minutes), 21. Kyle Clancy, 22. Ryan Brooke (for Almond, 88 minutes), 23. Haydn Hollis.
1. Ryan Young, 3. Sean Newton, 6. Shane Killock (c), 8. Phil Trainer, 11. Jon Adams, 16. Dan Preston, 19. Craig Farrell, 20. Richard Davies, 23. Ryan Valentine, 25. Chris Sharp, 26. Conal Platt.
Substitutes: 2. Will Salmon, 5. Stuart Whitehead, 24. Greg Mills (for Platt, 63 minutes), 31. Adam Proudlock (for Valentine, 86 minutes), 32. Ryan Robinson (GK).
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