Barnoldswick’s unbeaten run comes to an end

BLOCK: Kevin Richardson
BLOCK: Kevin Richardson

BARNOLDSWICK Town’s seven-game unbeaten run came to an end at title-challenging Maine Road on Monday night.

Having won five and drawn two of those games, including the 1-1 draw at home to Wigan Robin Park on Saturday, the side went in confident of a positive result.

The pitch was even, but very bouncy due to the dry conditions of late, making it difficult for flowing football.

Town started well, as Tom Bradley’s free kick was headed behind at full stretch by the Maine Road centre half, and from Liam Blades’ corner, Mark Threlfall stepped over, and a home defender took it off the toe of Danny Boyle.

Maine Road had a couple of half-chances as well, but Town’s first big chance came when Aaron Hollindrake roasted Gresty for pace, but saw his vicious shot hit the outside of the post with the keeper well beaten.

Two minutes later, Blades’ corner found Chris Ridehalgh, who was denied by keeper Hall from five yards out.

Just after the half hour, Billy Carrington punched a dangerous free kick clear, and Kevin Richardson was alert enough to block the follow up from Warburton. Boyle again tried to release Threlfall but the keeper made a timely interception at his feet.

Hollindrake won the ball back and had a shot which was deflected for a corner, and Ridehalgh had the ball taken off his toe by the keeper, who was having an excellent game, as the sides went in goal-less.

The first action of the second half saw Ridehalgh give away a needless free kick which was whipped just wide by Bentham with Carrington stranded.

Warburton then dispossed Shaun Airey and showed him a clean pair of heels, but the resulting shot hit the outside of the post.

Boyle then hit a brilliant dipping volley narrowly wide from 25 yards with Hall beaten.

The turning point in the match came in the 57th minute. Richardson won a tackle but was adjudged to have scraped his studs down the back of Bentham’s leg.

The linesman was right on the spot and told the referee it was a straight red. Bentham got a yellow for his troubles.

To Towns credit, they rolled their sleeves up and dug in.

But just after the hour, the deadlock was broken when Warburton cut in from the left and smashed a shot past Carrington.

Threlfall then broke through the middle and fed Blades, who should have done better with the cross.

Warburton headed a free kick wide as Town started to become stretched, but in the last 10 minutes it was all Town.

But for all the urgency, Town couldn’t find a way through.

The best chance fell to Ridehalgh from a Blades cross, which he back heeled at a grateful keeper from five yards out.

Town deserved a point, and but for the sending off they probably would have got it.

On Saturday, Threllfall snatched a late leveller at home to Wigan Robin Park.

Town started the game well, with Ridehalgh hitting the upright two minutes into the game.

Blades provided some good balls into the Wigan area but Jason Foulds, the Wigan keeper and captain was quick to soak up any threats.

The next 20 minutes saw end to end action, with both sides failing to capitalise.

Carrington was forced to make a full stretch save from a James Edgar free kick, with Wigan winning the loose ball in midfield, pushing forward and putting Town under pressure.

A Wigan corner on the half hour mark saw a great ball in, and once again Carrington was foced to make a vital save.

An evenly matched first half saw the sides go in goal-less.

In the second half, Town were attacking into the sewer end, and moving the ball across the pitch, but not gaining any ground.

Town made a substitution on 63 minutes with Ash Alderson replacing Ridehalgh, but four minutes later, Wigan pushed forward and a glancing header from Joseph Hull left Carrington stranded to put Wigan into the lead.

Town responded and made a second substitution, Hollindrake coming on for Danny Morton.

Hollindrake made an immediate impact, showing strength and determination to try and get something out of the game.

His first contribution saw him powering a stong header across the box, only for Foulds to reach out and collect the ball.

Town kept on attacking, with a brilliant shot from Andy Lee in the 88th minute.

The three points were looking like Wigan’s but Threlfall had other ideas and snatched a late point with an excellent header.

Tomorrow Town host Runcorn Town, kick-off 3 p.m. at the Silentnight Beds Stadium.