Frickley out of luck as home run ends

Frickley Athletic's Reece Thompson battles with Barwell goalkeeper Liam Castle in the goal area.
Frickley Athletic's Reece Thompson battles with Barwell goalkeeper Liam Castle in the goal area.

Frickley Athletic missed a chance to pull further clear of the relegation zone when their five-match unbeaten run was brought to an end by Barwell at Westfield Lane.

The Blues had not lost at home since November 15, but on a bitterly cold day they ended up disappointed with a 3-1 reverse in their latest Evo-Stik Premier League game.

Unsurprisingly manager Karl Rose kept faith with the side that won at Stamford and the team was boosted by the return to the bench of Sanchez Payne after a long injury lay-off. Jameel Ible dropped out.

But Frickley were stunned when the visitors took the lead within two minutes. A long clearance from goalkeeper Liam Castle fell to Jack Colley and he hit a first time volley from 25 yards out that left Sam Leigh rooted to the spot.

Soon after another clearance from Castle was flicked on for Anthony Carney to break free only for his angled shot to fly across the face of goal.

The Blues fashioned their first real opportunity on 16 minutes, but Matt Young’s 20 yard shot went wide.

Jamie Towers headed a free-kick wide two minutes later as Barwell continued to look dangerous. However, Athletic carved out a good chance on 31 minutes when Young played in Gavin Allott only for him to drag his angled shot inches wide.

Barwell were soon back on the offensive with Malcolm Melvin forcing Leigh to tip over his chip and Richard Lavery firing over from 12 yards from the resulting corner.

The Barwell goal led a charmed life on the stroke of half-time. Young swung in a free-kick which saw Castle block well from Reece Thompson almost on the line. Thompson twice more, John Cyrus and Jack Broadhead then had shots blocked on the line.

The Blues did not have long into the second half to wait for an equaliser, though, as on 51 minutes Luke Jeffs launched a deep free-kick into the box and with everyone else around him stood watching the ball Thompson darted in to steer the ball past Castle.

Brad Riley, who had replaced Luke Hornsey at half-time, had a 25-yard shot well held by Castle a minute later as Frickley began to take control.

But Leigh was called into action again to save a 22-yard free-kick from Alex Tompkinson and a thunderous 25-yard shot by Nigel Julian.

The Blues had big claims for a penalty waved away by referee Matt McGrath on 74 minutes when Thompson appeared to be pushed to the ground inside the box, but Barwell had worked their way back into the game and went close again with Cyrus clearing off the line from Carney.

There was a stroke of luck about the goal that saw Barwell regain the lead on 80 minutes as a clearance from Luke Hinsley fell to Callum Woodward whose first time speculative 25-yard shot took a deflection which saw it wrong-foot Leigh and fly past him into the net.

The Blues pushed forward in search of an equaliser. Jeffs saw his teasing cross clawed off the line by Castle in the 83rd minute and Thompson looped a header just over the bar from a Jeffs free-kick, but with Broadhead being moved up front as an extra attacker gaps were left at the back, which Barwell exploited in the fourth minute of stoppage time as a quick break saw Leigh block a flick from Carney only for Towers to be on hand to tap into an empty net from close range.

Frickley Athletic: Sam Leigh, Jake Stannard, Luke Jeffs, Matt Young, John Cyrus, Jack Broadhead, Luke Hornsey (Brad Riley 45 mins), Matt Bloor, Reece Thompson, Gavin Allott, Luke Hinsley. Unused subs. Macauley Parkinson, Sanchez Payne, Cameron Murray, Jon Hood.