Football: Barnston hit by sucker-punch at Tollesbury

09:40 22 January 2014

Mitch Simmons grabs his goal.

Mitch Simmons grabs his goal.

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Charlie Turner, Barnston’s man-of-the-match.Charlie Turner, Barnston’s man-of-the-match.

Luke Nash’s men led 2-0 at the interval and battled valiantly against the high-flying hosts on their 3G surface in Colchester.

But it was not to be as a fortunate leveller in the 97th minute denied the visitors a valuable three points.

Nash was delighted with his players and keen to take the positives out the game.

He said: “I’m so proud of the players. We had five 17-year-olds on the pitch and they battled like men.

“I thought we were going to hang on and we would have deserved the win. Our players now realise how hard we have to work each week to get results like this.

“A point away to a team of this quality is a big achievement for us and we can build on games like this.”

With the home team unbeaten and in second place in the table, it looked to be a tough fixture for Barnston.

But the visitors started very well and were pressing all over the pitch, forcing the home team into several errors. They took the lead when a set piece was arrowed into the box. Skipper Tom Hancock challenged the keeper, who punched the ball out where Mitch Simmons volleyed home from 18 yards out with a well controlled strike.

Barnston kept up the work rate and went two goals to the good after a goalmouth scramble fell to Sam Dunwell who fired into the roof of the net from eight yards out.

At the other end, Nash’s men kept a tight ship. Keeper Charlie Turner was called into action on a couple of occasions in the last fifteen minutes of the first half, and made some excellent saves, and Barnston needed Kevin Spencer to head a Tollesbury effort off the line.

Barnston expected an onslaught from the home team in the second half but managed to contain the pressure well, with a header hitting the post being the main chance for Tollesbury.

Tollesbury then went down to 10 men after a dangerous two-footed tackle went punished with a red card.

Barnston looked comfortable, with 15 left on the clock, when a controversial decision saw Spencer see red for deliberate handball on the goal line. It was difficult for the ref to give in a crowed box and the player only being a few yards away from the ball which seemed to strike his chest. The penalty was converted.

Tollesbury then lost a second player for decent towards an official.

Turner again kept Tollesbury at bay as the game went into stoppage time. But in the 97th minute they grabbed their equaliser, the ball falling kindly to the feet of one player who drove home from 12 yards to break Barnston hearts.

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