Rovers 8 game unbeaten league run ended at the hands of newly promoted Ashford at the weekend in a 9 goal thriller. Barton made the best possible start and were ahead after only 3 mins when Elliott Bailey headed home from a Charlie Smith cross to stun the home side. It wasn’t long though before parity was as sloppy defending from the Rovers back four allowed Mark Bitmead to score his and Ashford's 1st of the afternoon. Rovers were again on the luckless side of the referee shortly after as he awarded a penalty for hand ball which was converted by Bitmead for his and Ashfords second.
Rovers pressed further up the pitch and were in no mood to let their great league form slip away, Conner Calcutt should have levelled things up on the half hour mark but his shot was expertly kept out by the home keeper. Rovers pressing high up the pitch caused gaps at the back and Ashford extended their lead with a further two goals before the break Dan Flemish and Cameron English with identical goals with long balls over the top of a missing Rovers defence. Half time with Rovers 4-1 down and a mountain to climb but an air of optimism in the camp.
If rovers thought they could get back into the game in the 2nd half then it started the worst possible way for them conceding a 5th and English’s 2nd of the game. Bailey narrowed the deficit on the hour to 5-2 and completed his hat rick from the spot late on in the game to make it 5-3 but the high Rovers line coupled with chasing the game allowed Ashford English to complete his hatrick in stoppage time and make the final score 6-3 in Ashford's favour.
A great game to watch, defending by either side wasn’t on the menu today and Rovers will feel the scoreline did not fairly represent the game.
Rovers line up