Willand Rovers & Barnstaple Town share the points after a 1-1 draw at Silver Street on Saturday afternoon.
Due to injuries and illness a much changed Rovers side battled well to earn a draw against a Barrum side who are fighting for their Southern League survival at the foot of the table.
Making home debuts for Rovers were Jack Veale, Ellis Johnson and Callum Chambers with the Rovers legend Ian Patchett drafted in last-minute to make up numbers on the bench. Returning to Silver Street for the visitors were Adam Hill & the recently departed Archie Reay.
As you might expect, with so many changes, Rovers struggled to find any early fluency. This was exacerbated by a strong wing blowing the length of the pitch, making good flowing football difficult.
Willand had the wind with them in the first half enabling through balls to be slotted in for the lively strike pair of Ben Griffith & Jack Rice to run onto. Ryan Guppy in midfield often being the architect of those through balls.
Barrum had the difficulty of playing against the wind in the first half, finding it difficult to clear their lines at times. However, Billy Tucker & Tor Swann were constant threats down the flanks regularly making life difficult for the Rovers back line.
On 32 minutes Jack Rice was put through, one-on-one with Lloyd Irish, the visitor’s keeper; Rice beat the keeper, but his shot went just over the bar. Ht 0-0.
The second half reversed the wind advantage, Barrum now looking more threatening with the wind carrying balls deep into the Rovers’ territory for the attackers to chase down.
It was somewhat ironic that the opening goal came on 75 minutes when Rovers were enjoying a spell of possession: Will Richards seemed to slip as he came forward down the left wing which gave the Barrum midfielder time to pinch the ball and set a quick counter which was clinically finished by substitute Harry Baker. 0-1.
Barnstaple’s lead was short lived. Just two minutes later some slick midfield work by the hosts ended with a well-weighted through ball to Ben Griffith who ran past the last defender into the visitor’s penalty area only to be brought down by the defender’s desperate lunge. Penalty! Rice calmly smashed the ball home. 1-1.
The game was played out without any further clear cut scoring opportunities for either side. Ft 1-1.
A difficult game for Rovers with such a depleted side, made more tricky by the conditions.
Onward to Cinderford on Tuesday when we hope to have more of our squad back fit to face the challenge of another team fighting for their Southern League survival.
Man of the Match, selected by Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Co: Jack Rice
|Private: Will Richards|
|Private: Jack Rice||Goal|
|Private: Ben Griffith|
|Private: Lewis Wilson|
|Private: Jack Veale|
|Private: Ellis Johnson|
|David Steele (Manager)|
|Private: Callum Chivers||Yellow CardSub|
|Private: Ian Patchett|
|Private: Tyler Elliott|