Barrow Triumph in FA Trophy Final

05/09/2010

On Saturday Wembley was cente-stage as the FA Trophy Final took place between Barrow and Stevenage. The FA Trophy is the equivalent to the FA Cup but is the premier competition in non-league football. I managed to get a ticket and I was able to witness one of the most incident packed games I had ever seen. It had passionate fans singing their hearts out for their respective teams. It had 2 straight red cards, a nasty injury to Charlie Griffin that saw him carried off on a stretcher, extra-time and not forgetting 3 superb goals. Although Wembley was just about a quarter full, the atmosphere was amazing and credit must be given to the supporters, especially to the Barrow fans who made the long journey down to London and no doubt the long journey was worth it to see their team lift the trophy. Even before the game, the fans were going to make the most of the day as they marched to support their team. I was sitting amongst the Stevenage fans and they didn’t stop singing throughout. The result will damper their spirits somewhat, but from the chants, they are really excited about next season and playing in the Football League. 

Barrow’s route to the final

1st Round: Kettering 0-1 Barrow
2nd Round: Maidenhead 0-1 Barrow
3rd Round: Barrow 1-1 Gateshead
3rd Round Replay: Gateshead 2-3 Barrow
4th Round: Barrow 2-1 York City
Semi- Final 1st Leg: Salisbury 0-1 Barrow
Semi Final 2nd Leg: Barrow 2-1 Salisbury 

Stevenage’s Route to the Final

1st Round: Stevenage 2-0 Ebbsfleet Utd
2nd Round: Stevenage 6-0 Vauxhall Motors
3rd Round: Stevenage 4-1 Dover Athletic
4th Round: Stevenage 2-1 Workington
Semi Final 1st Leg: Kidderminster 1-5 Stevenage
Semi Final 2nd Leg: Stevenage 0-0 Kidderminster 

Barrow 2-1 Stevenage Borough (AET)

Attendance: 21,223

 Barrow defied the odds as they beat Stevenage in the FA Carlsberg Trophy at Wembley. In an incident packed game it was Jason Walker who scored a brilliant winner in extra time as Barrow lifted the trophy for the first time in 20 years. 

Barrow (Yellow) in action against Stevenage (white)

 

 Barrow started the game brightly with Jason Walker having a shot blocked within the first couple of minutes. However against the run of play, Stevenage were in front on 10 minutes. A long kick by keeper Chris Day found its way to Andy Drury on the right. He cut onside onto his left foot and bent the ball into the top left of the net, giving Stuart Tomlinson no chance in the Barrow goal. 

 Barrow responded well and their chances of snatching a goal were increased on 28 minutes as Stevenage were reduced to 10 men. David Bridges’ two-footed lunge on Barrow’s Andy Bond gave referee Lee Probert no other choice but to send the player off. 

 Despite the one man advantage, Barrow still couldn’t find the breakthrough and it was Stevenage who could have gone in front. Yemi Odubade flew past Barrow captain Paul Jones but his cross come shot flew just wide of Tomlinson’s right post. However just before half-time Stevenage had another glorious chance to pull further ahead. Adam Drury’s cross was only cleared by the Barrow defence to the feet of Chris Beardsley who shot just over and Stevenage went into the break only 1-0 up. 

Simon Spender on the ball for Barrow

 

 In the second half, Barrow began to assert themselves on the game and woke up the travelling fans. However they continued to waste chances. Firstly Jason Walker played a neat one-two with Gregg Blundell but fluffed his shot. Then Andy Bond saw his right foot shot sail harmlessly wide. Stevenage responded and a ball from Michael Bostwick found Obudabe but again he shot well wide. 

 A few minutes later and the speedy Odubade was again the centre of attention. He looked have been fouled in the penalty area after being played in by Adam Drury, but Lee Probert waved away the protests. The game started to liven up after that as Bond went close for Barrow and Jon Ashton saw his header hit the side netting for Stevenage. 

 However that miss was to prove crucial as moments later, Barrow were back level. A Cross by Paul Rutherford was met by the head of substitute Lee McEvilly and he made no mistake as the ball sailed past Chris Day in the Stevenage goal. 

 Barrow continued to push forward but were again unable to make the most of their chances as captain Paul Jones headed wide. With the game heading towards extra-time, Barrow could have snatched a winner but Carlos Logan’s left foot shot was saved by sub keeper Ashley Bayes. There was enough time for Barrow’s Robin Holbert to be shown a straight red for an elbow on Charlie Griffin who had to be carried off on a stretcher but the 90 minutes ended with both teams level at 1-1. 

Barrow Players feeling the pain of extra time

 

 Extra time began with Barrow having 10 players and Stevenage having 9 players on the pitch, and the extra space allowed both teams to create chances. Stevenage had the first opportunity to score but Yemi Obudabe’s right foot shot hit the side netting. Barrow responded when a neat flick from a free-kick by Jason Walker was deflected wide. 

 But Jason Walker was to be the hero as he scored the winner for Barrow in the second half of extra time. Man of the match Paul Rutherford’s pass found Walker and he let the ball roll across his body before unleashing an unstoppable right foot shot past Bayes, sending the travelling Barrow fans into raptures. Stevenage tried to respond but Barrow held on to clinch a famous win against the League Champions by a 2-1 score line. 

 

 Teams 

Barrow: Tomlinson, Spender, Edwards, Jones, Bolland, Wiles (Logan 64), Hulbert, Bond, Walker, Blundell (McEvilly 74), Rutherford (Boyd 110).
Subs not used: Deasy, Pearson. 

 Stevenage: Day (Bayes 90), Laird, Ashton, Odubade, Byrom (Wilson 59), Roberts, Bridges, Beardsley (Griffin 66), Drury, Bostwick, Henry.
Subs not used: Long, Vincenti. 

 Man of the Match: Paul Rutherford (Barrow)
Paul Rutherford ran his heart out for Barrow today. He must have covered every blade of the Wembley turf and was instrumental in both Barrow goals that clinched them the FA Trophy. 

 Match Verdict
Barrow fans will be enthusiastic with this result today. They went into the game as the underdogs and came away as the FA Trophy winners which in truth they just about deserved. Stevenage will be disappointed they weren’t able to achieve the double, but will no doubt be looking forward to playing league football next season. 

 

 

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Ebbsfleet brushed aside by Barrow at Stonebridge Road

02/27/2010

This week I travelled to Stonebridge Road, the home of Ebbsfleet United. The game itself was an interesting one.  It was quite even throughout but Barrow made their chances count. I have to give credit to the Barrow fans though. They sang throughout in support of their team and generated most of the atmosphere. They are real football fans.

Ebbsfleet United 1-4 Barrow AFC

Attendance: 1,146

Barrow eased their relegation worries as they cruised to victory against fellow strugglers Ebbsfleet United at Stonebridge Road. The result saw Barrow climb out of the relegation zone with former Chester player Nick Chadwick putting in a man of the match performance, scoring a superb hat-trick.

Ebbsfleet(red) and Barrow(yellow) in action.

Ebbsfleet started the game brightly and could have been in front inside 2 minutes. First Magno Vieira broke through the Barrow defence and his shot was saved by keeper Tim Deasy. Then defender Darius Charles saw his audacious shot from halfway, bounce off the bar. The Fleet continued to dominate as the half progressed and their best chance to pull ahead fell on 21 minutes. A hesitation in the Barrow defence saw the ball fall to Moses Ashikodi. His pass found Vieira, whose curled shot was saved spectacularly by Deasy in the Barrow goal, finger tipping the ball round the right post.  However Barrow soon found their feet and against the run of play, they took the lead. The ball found its way to Jason Walker on the left and his cross, eluded Fleet keeper Lance Cronin and found the head of Nick Chadwick who headed into the empty net. 30 seconds later and it got worse for Ebbsfleet as Barrow increased their lead further. Winger Carlos Logan ran with the ball down the right, and his cross again found the head of Chadwick, who unmarked at the back post, made no mistake to make the score 2-0.  It could have been even worse for Ebbsfleet just before half time as Jason Walker raced through the Fleet defence, however his shot was well saved by Fleet keeper Cronin and Barrow went in at half time just 2-0 in front.

Ebbsfleet United started the second half exactly as they did the first and could have pulled a goal back instantly. A throw-in on the right found its way to Jordan Collins, who from the edge of the box fired a left foot shot towards goal, only to see his shot well saved again by Barrow keeper Deasy.

Ebbsfleet and Barrow battling for possession

Although Barrow still threatened to increase their lead, with both Jason Walker and Carlos Logan going close, it was Ebbsfleet who created the best chance on 63 minutes. Magno Vieira weaved his way into the box, but he shot directly at the Barrow keeper.

However Barrow did eventually make it 3-0 just minutes later. A nice interchange of passes between Paul Rutherford and Nick Chadwick saw Rutherford cross from the left and there was Chadwick again who headed in to seal his hat-trick. Ebbsfleet managed to pull a goal back when a Peter Holmes free-kick was headed in by Moses Ashikodi, to make it 3-1, but Barrow scored again. This time in controversial fashion. Ebbsfleet’s Leon Crooks seemed to have handled the ball in the box and although the referee didn’t give it, the linesman did, even though he was further away, and up stepped Jason Walker to slot home from the penalty spot to seal an emphatic 4-1 win.

Teams

Ebbsfleet United: Cronin, Pooley, Crooks, Charles, Collins (Ginty 71), Holmes, Bailey (Wills 87), Stavrinou (Welsh 58), Shakes, Vieira, Ashikodi.
Subs Not Used: Salmon, West

Barrow: Deasy, Spender, Jones, Bolland, Jelleyman, Rutherford, Hulbert (Boyd 87), Bond, Logan (Wiles 72), Walker (Blundell 85), Chadwick.

Man of the Match- Nick Chadwick

Nick Chadwick led from the front today and was rewarded with a superb hat trick. He found himself in the right places at the right times to help Barrow move away from the relegation zone.

Match Verdict

Barrow will be absolutely delighted with this result today. Although they didn’t create the most chances, they made the chances they created count. They were also very solid all over the pitch and very disciplined. Ebbsfleet will be disappointed with this result. They made too many mistakes and were punished for not taking the chances they created. I was disappointed with the Ebbsfleet fans who didn’t get behind their team where as the Barrow fans sang their hearts out for the entire game and showed their appreciation for a brilliant performance from their team.