Barnston AFC lose 3-2 in the cup
SATURDAY did not come up smelling of roses for AFC as they lost out to the odd goal in five against Forest Glade in the second round of the Essex County Cup.
With a host of club stars missing, including goalkeeper Jon Eastaugh (dislocated shoulder), centre back Dan Debley (broken hand) and left winger Adam Emery (suspended), first team manager Leighton Williams said prior to kick off: “This game was going to be a good way of judging our progress this season.
“We finished bottom of the Essex Olympian League’s third division last year before switching to the Essex and Suffolk border league, while Forest are currently lying third in the Essex Olympian League second division”.
As with many cup fixtures at High Easter Lane the game got off to a fast and frenetic start.
Forest dominated possession but AFC looked dangerous on the counter. As the home side grew in confidence chances started to come.
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Wingmen Campbell Wilson and Jay Haberland found room to inject pace into the match down the flanks.
After nine minutes James Cordery unleashed a thunderous shot that hit the bar and flew into the back of the net to make it one nil to the home side.
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With 30 minutes gone Barnston broke again. They worked the ball to the unmarked Cordery who again hit another thunderous effort at goal.
This one also hit the bar, and the impressive Mark Pledger followed in and drilled home powerfully to make it two.
With ten minutes until half time Forest attacked down the right.
At first there seemed little danger, but the winger was allowed to run 40 yards with the ball without a challenge, then glided into the penalty area, and scored from eight yards.
The second half saw Forest really lift their game as they came storming back with two goals to turn the fixture on its head.
Barnston found themselves defending for large periods but could not keep out two attacks and fell behind with 20 minutes left.
At 3-2 the game became desperate as both teams were keen to progress in the competition.
Late tackles became the norm and the match slowed in pace as the referee struggled to deal with players who threatened to let tempers boil over.
The home side carried on attacking, seeking the equaliser, the best chance fell to Haberland who came close with a good header from eight yards out.
AFC were unable to get a deserved equaliser before final whistle went and will be looking to make amends on Saturday.
They are away to Boxted Lodgers in the Essex and Suffolk Border league first division – kick off at 2pm.