Match day had arrived. Barton Athletics first game in the Sheffield League and I don’t know who was more excited, me or the players. We were trying a new formation and I was looking forward to the lads taking on this new challenge, writes Manager Richard Day.
The game kicked off against Brunsmeer Awareness and Brunsmeer started off the better team. There were a few nerves from the Barton lads and an early injury for our captain Bentinio who soldiered on. With early pressure from Brunsmeer, there was a shot deflected and brilliantly saved by our stand in keeper Zak (His first of many world class saves) Barton did produce a good chance in the first half with play between Jamie, Ben, Dave and Seb creating an opportunity for Dave which was saved by their keeper. Half time 0-0
Barton started the second half a different team, you could see they had found their confidence. The guys had found their flow and started to cause Brunsmeer problems with Barton’s own Messi – Jamie in midfield. Jamie was working so hard at winning the ball back and starting our attacks.
Then the breakthrough, 1-0 from Dave. Dave was superb holding the ball up in both games and struggling through a knee injury; turned his defender and powered it passed the keeper. Brunsmeer worked hard to get back into the game. Shaun and Ryan at the back were defending brilliantly along with another great save from Zak.
Another great goal comes this time from Seb who had found space and drilled a powerful shot into the bottom corner. It was a great reward for Seb who has been incredible with his coaching role with the Barton Inclusive Wildcats.
Final whistle 2-0 Barton.
A brilliant game played by two very honest teams, I thought Brunsmeer was superb and wish them well for their season. We will look forward to another great game when we play them again.
Our next game was against Derek Dooley FC and a bit like the first game, Barton were trying to find their feet. We found ourselves 1-0 down early on, which came from a good strike from eight yards out. After their goal, Derek Dooley FC kept their pressure on with plenty of corners and shots. It was only thanks to our brave defending and saves that we kept the score at only 1-0. Then on the break, the ball falls to Seb who is a long way out and he hits an unstoppable shot that flies into the net. 1-1
Upfront, our striker Dave succumbed to his knee injury. The game was stopped and he was helped off the pitch. Hopefully with rest, he will be ok. Because two of our players, Jay and Tim couldn’t make the game through other commitments, we were without subs and had to continue with a player less. Claire, the manager of Derek Dooley FC seeing our predicament showed incredible sportsmanship and took a player off to level the sides. Derek Dooley FC are very lucky to have a coach setting all the right standards for their players.
Another great show of team work sets up our man Seb who fires in a skilled shot from a tight angle. 2-1
Barton was unlucky not to make it 3-1 and with another class save from Zak, could have been 2-2. Barton finished strong to see in the win.
I am so proud of the players who gave everything for their team and their coach. Their behaviour on and off the pitch did everyone at Barton Inclusive proud.
A special thanks to club chairperson, Sophie Bartup, who made our first league game possible. To Zak in goal who was world class. To the captain for the day, Bentinio. To both teams we played and to Seb, the Man of the Match, for his brilliant goals and movement.