Barton Rovers progressed to the second qualifying round of the FA Cup with an excellent 1-0 win at Thurlow Nunn Premier Division side Stanway Rovers on Saturday.
Blues boss Jimmy Gray continued with the same side that beat table-topping Chalfont St Peter on Bank Holiday Monday but the performance was a stark contrast to the brilliance shown in the league game just days before.
On a dusty sloping pitch devoid of any real grass and a cross-wind blowing strongly, the game wasn’t destined to be a classic, and it certainly lived up to that billing. Stanway made the brighter start and enjoyed the wind in their favour but far too many passes went astray to trouble Barton in the final third.
If the hosts were sloppy then Rovers were matching them ball for ball as they failed to come to terms with conditions and a tenacious physical home side who gave no space. The first period was littered with broken play which was also exaggerated by an overzealous official who like the sound of his whistle more then the game being played.
Barton introduced the pacey Rod Young at the break and he made an immediate breakthrough, picking the ball up on the halfway line to set off on a mazy run, fending off two defenders and calmly slot past home keeper Nick Punter. The visitors took control of the tie from there on and searched for more goals but to Stanway’s credit they defended resolutely, although were reduced to 10 men late on when Jack Crawley was shown a straight red for an off the ball incident with Rovers captain Paul Andrews.
Barton are now in Monday afternoon’s draw for the second qualifying round as boss Gray said: “It wasn’t pretty, the conditions were always going to be tough for both sides to get the ball down and play. “We just stuck to the task in hand and ground out an ugly result which was in our favour and that’s all that matters at the end of the day.”
Next up for the Rovers is the visit to Sharpenhoe Road of Egham Town FC on Saturday, kick-off 3pm.
Stanway Rovers 0 Barton Rovers 1
Rovers line up