In their last game of the season, Bartestree Reserves missed out on the chance to wrap up the Division Two title on Saturday as they lost 4-3 to second-placed Newent Town Reserves. It means Newent now have the chance to win the league next weekend as they travel to Kington Colts for their last game.
Newent started the brighter of the two sides and an early chance fell to Harrison Jones to open the scoring, but his shot took a deflection off Jack Peake’s outstretched leg. From the resulting corner Rares Micula could only blaze his shot well wide of the target.
In the ninth minute, Daryl Bayliss was able to get onto the end of a looping cross from the left by Keiran Smart, but this was firmly punched clear by home keeper James Shepard.
Bartestree’s first corner of the game in the 17th minute but they failed to test the keeper. Greg Edwards’ inswinging ball to the back post missed everyone in a black and white shirt as it sailed behind for a harmless goal kick.
But just a minute the hosts conceded. Dorian Colling broke the deadlock as he beat the keeper at the far post to redirect Jahmeel Musa’s cross over the line.
Newent continued to put pressure on the Tree’s defence as Colling threatened to make it 2-0, but his cross-come-shot from the right missed both the target and the onrushing Bayliss at far post.
Some brilliant work from Bartestree’s David Murry down the left saw him do all the hard work before James Watkins headed home. As goalkeeper Steve Piper committed to racing off his line in an attempt to dispossess Murry, he saw the ball chipped over him as he scrambled back to his line and James Watkins netted the equaliser with a diving header.
Newent almost responded immediately as Dorian Colling continued to be a handful up front. After a solo run into the box, his shot was well-held by Shepard.
The game started to look like it would be a high-scoring one between the league’s top two sides. Tom Trigg restored Town’s one goal lead as he fired low past the keeper following some patient build up play.
Another chance soon followed as a foul on Kieran Smart lead to a free kick in a dangerous position, but the keeper just managed to deal with Colling’s shot. His shot from the free kick was claimed at the second time of asking after Shepard initially fumbled it.
Deep into first half injury time Bartestree had the perfect chance to go into the break with the scores level but failed to capitalise on a corner. David Murry latched onto the end of the bal and with an athletic overhead kick back sent it back towards the centre of the box, although Newent were the quickest to react and cleared the danger.
HT: Bartestree Reserves 1 - Newent Town Reserves 2
With the second half underway Newent’s desire to win the game started to show as they searched for goal number three. An early shot on goal for Colling couldn’t find the back of the net after being teed-up by Harrison Jones, but the third goal did follow.
Bartestree fell two goals behind in the worst possible way as Stephen Miles turned Jack Harvey’s cross from the right into the back of his own net.
With Bartestree’s James Shepard by far the busier of the two keepers, he was only able to parry Ross Allard’s free kick from an acute angle. Luckily his defence were first to the ball and stabbed it behind for a fruitless corner.
Down at the other end of the pitch Liam Parsons pulled a goal back for the Tree in the 59th minute, firing a wicked diagonal ball past the hapless keeper.
As quickly as the glimmer of hope appeared for Bartestree it soon went as the conceded eight minutes later. Daryl Bayliss confidently smashed the ball home from close-range.
In the last 20 minutes of the game the chances for both sides petered out, with little in the way of goalmouth action until a penalty in the third minute of injury time. Up-stepped the towering Tom Peake who swiftly dispatched the spot kick into the bottom right hand corner of the net.
Despite trailing by just a goal, it was a case of too little too late from Bartestree as they couldn’t find a fourth goal before the final whistle.
FT: Bartestree Reserves 3 - Newent Town Reserves 4
Bartestree: Shepard, G. Edwards, Prewer, Miles, Dutson, J. Peake, T. Peake, Watkins, Monteath, Murry, Slade.
Subs: L. Edwards, Parsons, Dallow, Titley, Kaye.
Newent Town: Piper, Prictor, Rust, Harvey, Smart, Micula, Musa, Trigg, Bayliss, Colling, Jones.
Subs: Grance, Adlam, Allard, Kneen, Stokes.
So it’s all eyes to Kington on Saturday to see who will win the league, with Newent needing just a point to secure the league title.
Manager Wayne Goodchild says there’s up for the task: “Very confident, to be fair the lads have played well all season. We’ve had two or three slip ups in the league which is down to lack of players, but we’ve got the full squad again and it’s in our hands.
“They [Bartestree] came to us and basically trounced us 7-2 with a very weak squad. We’ve had this squad for the last two or three games now and they’ve started gelling. They want it and it’s on to Kington now.”
League Table Match Photos