Toolstation NCEL Premier Division
Garforth Town 1-0 Barton Town
Jamie Barkway’s early header allowed Garforth Town to continue their best start to a league campaign since 1996.
Paul Marshall’s men have flown out of the blocks and have won all four matches in the NCEL and sit proudly in second place.
Barkway’s bullet header from Jack Lazenby’s corner was the magic moment of a game full of energy, but lacking in quality and chances.
The Miners were dominant in the first half without doubling their advantage. Garforth really pressurised their visitors in the early stages and Sam Barker also watched a deflected effort flash wide.
Barton rarely threatened in the first 45 minutes. Toby Wells made a save before Barkway scored from Ben Hinchliffe, but the only bit of trouble came after defender Karl Fitzgerald needlessly gave the ball away from an attacking corner. That led to a shot which went wide.
Garforth had brief flurries forward at the beginning of the second half before a nervy last half-hour. The home fans must have had their hearts in their mouths when Hinchliffe volleyed literally just wide from the edge of the box.
The build-up play from Barton was excellent, but the final penetration was just not there. That said, both Garforth centre-halves Sam Denton and Barkway led the defence powerfully and did not shirk a header or tackle.
Perhaps the most memorable moment of the second half came in one of the dugouts after the ball was cleared for a throw-in. It certainly got the biggest cheer of the night from the crowd. Garforth boss Marshall, always the occasional showman and dressed in attire Pep Guardiola would have been proud of, leapt like a salmon to head the ball back onto the pitch in manner that oozed quality and with such vigour and passion his own excellent centre-halves could have learnt something. For the older Non League followers, it probably brought back memories of a young Marshall’s Harrogate Town heyday playing days in the 1980s.
Barton thought they had equalised in the final five minutes, but the flag went up before the ball was in the net after the assistant referee ruled there was an offside in the build-up play.
Rob Watson’s Barton remained dangerous and fairly camped in Garforth’s half without deeply troubling home goalkeeper Toby Wells.
Garforth defended extremely well and even nearly grabbed a second in the dying seconds when Barton goalkeeper Charlie Dixon stole Wells’ Superman title by making the save of the century by unbelievably denying a simple tap-in.
Garforth Town: Wells, Leach, Fitzgerald, Lazenby (captain), Denton, Barkway, Marshall (Thornton 65, Burton 90), Coupland, Burgess (Smith 88), Barker, McGahan. Subs unused: Mayall, Silva.
Barton Town: Dixon, Lacey, Matthews, Plummer, Hare, Fisher, Eccles (Dixon 51), Disley, Hinchliffe, Tait, Start. Subs unused: Caulfield, Everitt, Salter.
Who Was In Charge
Ian Thornton (7/10)
How Many Were There
Man of the Match
Sam Barker (Garforth Town)