Barton Rovers FC 0 vs 1 Cambridge City FC
A match where Rovers were looking to arrest a poor run of home form and get a run of three consecutive home games off to a winning start.
Rovers were forced into a late change when centre-back Jordan Odafin pulled up in the warm-up and this meant a start for club captain and Rovers stalwart Paul Andrews paired at the heart of Rovers defence with new signing George Quarrington-Carter. The opening exchanges were fairly even but with little or no penalty area action at either end until, in the 10th minute, from some good City wing play on the right a floated cross was missed by Rovers’ centre backs and keeper allowing Ryan Sharman the City centre-forward to open the scoring. This setback sparked life into Rovers and both Danny Hutchens and Ebby Nelson-Addy had shots that had power but lacked accuracy and never troubled City Keeper Niall Conroy. In the 30th minute a half-chance for Rovers came and went when Conroy inadvertently handled outside his box but Hutchens effort from the free-kick sailed over the bar. Danny Watson then had a great chance for Rovers in the 36th minute but shot straight at City keeper Conroy. Right on half-time, from a Rovers corner on the right David Longe-King headed over when it looked easier to find the target. Half-time 0-1.
Rovers began the second half strongly and Jack Keating, working hard in the Rovers midfield , found room to have a couple of long-range efforts but, as in the first half, these efforts failed to bring Conroy in the City goal into action. In the 51st minute an inviting Nelson-Addy cross from the right found Watson with space and he got his shot on target but found Conroy able to block and Rovers failed to get on the end of the loose ball which was cleared for a fruitless Rovers corner. City then crept back into the game and with 20 minutes remaining were dominating possession and looking able to get a second and clinching goal. However, with Paul Andrews standing firm in the heart of the Rovers defence, City were limited to long range efforts which Adam Harpur in the Rovers goal dealt with comfortably and the match ended in a 1-0 away win for City.
This was a more solid all-round performance by Rovers than of recent times, but still lacking that cutting edge in and around the box and perhaps also the creation of goal-scoring opportunities from the midfielders. Saturday sees Hanwell Town visiting Sharpenhoe Road and another home game Rovers will hope to win and banish the memories of recent home form.