Barnston AFC in three-all thriller

DESPITE a powerful hat trick from Dave Pledger, Barnston could only manage a disappointing three-all draw against Bell United.

The visitors gave away a two goal lead in the closing minutes of the second half and striker Pledger had a penalty saved in the first.

Manager Leighton Williams accused his team of being “cocky” after going 3-1 up and said that the result was a “real lesson” for his players.

“It was a game we could have won by nine or ten,” he said. “But the main lesson is that you must concentrate for 90 minutes.

“Bell United got a point because they didn’t give up. We got cocky and ill-disciplined and allowed them back into the game.

“But all in all it was an impressive performance. We just need to kill off games and not drop points against teams we shouldn’t be dropping points against.”

After a scrappy start it was Bell United who scored first with a 35-yard strike which keeper Jack Welton misjudged as it crept inside his post.

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This jolted Barnston into life and on the half hour mark they drew level. The tall hitters were sent up for a corner and, with a noticeable height advantage, Pledger cruised into the box to nod in an excellent equaliser.

As the half drew to a close Barnston had the chance to forge a lead. Justin Brown, sporting a new tattoo, was up-ended by a clumsy tackle and Pledger stepped up to take the kick to double his tally for the season, only his penalty was superbly saved.

But minutes later he atoned for the miss, powering home a second from yet another corner to make it 2-1 at the break.

The game restarted the way it had ended. Barnston went on the attack, and threatened to dominate.

Pledger soon found the route to goal for his third. An excellent corner found the striker and he made it 3-1 with a clinical finish.

The visitors looked to have the game sewn up but a lack of concentration let United back in as they started chasing more goals.

A loss in discipline and shape soon counted against them. Late in the game the home side made it 3-2 and within minutes broke again to score an unlikely equaliser.

Despite Barnston desperately looking for a winner in the last ten, it finished all square at 3-3.

This Saturday Barnston are at home to Premier Division side University of Essex in the second round of the league cup. Kick off 3pm.