Barnton secured their survival in the best possible way with a fantastic victory against their neighbours 1874 Northwich on Wednesday evening.
Following on from their frustrating Easter Sunday defeat to Runcorn Town, Steve Lloyd made a couple of changes with George Webster coming in for Jordan Stafford, Josh Crofts replaced Ryan Malone and elsewhere Jack McKay returned in place of Ryan Broadhead.
Early on the both sides saw plenty of the ball and but were both reduced to half chances, the first real chance game on the 30 minute mark with Gregg Hall keeping out Danny Meadowcroft’s header. Minutes later it was the turn of Matt Conkie in the Barnton net to pull off a great save denying Lee Jones who was through on goal.
The only goal of the game came from Jason McShane on the 37 minutes, when finished emphatically past Hall in the 1874 net after a great cross from Josh Crofts. 1874 finished the half strongly as the Villagers looked to hold out to the break, but were unable to test Conkie as Jack Woolley and Crofts picked up yellow cards late on in the half.
Half Time: Barnton 1-0 1874 Northwich
The second half saw the Villagers produce a strong and resolute defensive display to keep out their visitors, whose first chance after the break came from Adam Whitlock who hit his shot from just inside the box straight at Conkie.
Again Whitlock forced Conkie into another smart save and from the resulting corner Ryan Mitchell headed over. As 1874 made changes Barnton continued to hold out and carried a serious threat on the break with Woolley and Malone offering support to McShane and Smith up top.
Paul Corner almost got the game level on the 70th minute but his volley was held by Conkie, on the break Webster almost doubled Barnton’s lead but his solo effort went just wide.
The expected late onslaught from 1874 didn’t materialise but at the death Conkie was on hand one last time with an outstanding save to keep out Mitchell’s dipping free kick, the resulting corner was headed over and out of danger.
Our first ever win against 1874 Northwich secures our place in the North West Counties Premier Division for the 2017/18 season a remarkable achievement for a team who looked certain to head down in October.
Speaking after the game manager Lloyd was delighted: “I asked for a reaction from the lads after Sunday, and we got that. It was a fantastic performance and we fully deserved that win.”
He added: “I can rest a little easier now I know we are safe, we don’t have to work out the permutations any more I’m delighted.”
Up next for Barnton is their final home game of the season against Maine Road with kick off at 3pm on Saturday afternoon.
Updated 17:40 - 26 Apr 2017 by Niall Owens