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Match Report

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Report by Ian Pluck

The Ducks were able to welcome back Tre Mitford to the starting line-up, replacing the unavailable Bruno Brito. On a sticky, heavy pitch, both sides took their time to come to terms with the conditions, the early stages were quite uneventful, with flowing football difficult to achieve.

The home team adapted best and looked most threatening as the game developed. The first chance of the game came as a result of a long throw on the left, with Connor Calcutt flicking the ball goalwards where his strike partner Eliott Bailey got his head to the ball, but could only direct it straight at Zaki Oualah, who made a comfortable save. In the 16th minute, a pass from Jimmy Hartley found Charlie Smith on the right; he beat Jake Bewley but again he could only direct his shot at Oualah.

The Ducks’ first opportunity came in the 21st minute. Lea Coulter fed the ball into the path of Tre Mitford in the right channel, but his dangerous cross was cleared for a corner by Luke Knight. Two minutes later, Olly Stanbridge was fouled 25 yards out by Howie Hall; Mitford stepped up and struck his free kick well, but keeper Tom Coulton was down smartly to save at his left hand post.

The deadlock was broken in the 25th minute. From a long free kick, Bailey headed the ball down into the path of strike partner Calcutt, whose powerful drive found the top corner, giving Oualah no chance whatsoever. 1-0 Barton

The Ducks had a great chance to equalise two minutes later, Coulter and Mitford combining well again, with Coulter’s low cross just evading the onrushing Mitford and away for a goal kick.

In the 30th minute, a free kick taken by Calcutt was met by the head of home skipper Steve Gentle, but his header was wide of the target. The final chance of the half again fell to the home side; the dangerous Calcutt crossing from the right, but again Bailey couldn’t get his header on target.

The Ducks started the second half well, attacking with more fluency. In the 51st minute a good move down the right saw Coulter and Mitford combine again. This time as Mitford broke into the penalty area he had time to look up and played the ball perfectly into the path of the incoming Josh Baines, who crashed his shot into the roof of the net for the equaliser. 1-1

The home side hit back in the 58th minute; a foul by Gavin Hinds-Cadette 25 yards out saw Charlie Smith step up and place the ball into the top corner, Oualah again helpless to prevent the goal. 2-1 Barton

Following a period of few chances, the Ducks equalised for the second time in the 75th minute. Stanbridge collected the ball in the penalty area and was fouled, resulting in a penalty. Mitford stepped up and confidently fired it home. 2-2

In the 79th minute, Mitford had a great opportunity to score his second. A good ball forward from Sonny French was collected well by the striker, who outpaced his marker, however his shot cleared the bar with just the keeper to beat.

That miss was to be crucial. Just two minutes later the Ducks fragilities against set pieces was again exposed. A deep free kick found Hartley, whose shot on the turn was deflected for a corner by Jake Bewley. However, from the resulting flag kick, Calcutt got in front of his marker at the near post and headed home for his second goal of the match. 3-2 Barton

That was to be the last meaningful action of the match, with the home side seeing out the match for a deserved win which took them up to 4th place in the league. The Ducks return to action on Tuesday when they visit Bishops Cleeve for their twice postponed League Cup match, looking to advance into the semi-finals and keep their season alive.