Goal-shy Town held at home to Ashton

Shaun Airey was back in the Town side on Saturday
Shaun Airey was back in the Town side on Saturday

Barnoldswick Town’s struggles in front of goal continued as they were held to a goal-less draw at home to Ashton Athletic on Saturday.

Town have scored four goals in six outings now, and boss Stewart Airdrie remains on the lookout for reinforcements to boost his forward line.

He had no complaints about the result on Saturday, but a first clean sheet in three games was a boost: “There were barely any chances in the game, it wasn’t the most exciting, both teams cancelled each other out.

“The clean sheet was a positive, something to build on, but it was disappointing we didn’t create as many chances as we have been.

“Conditions were difficult, the pitch was fairly soft, but it’s the same for both teams.”

Airdrie has his feelers out as he looks to bring players in: “There’s nothing concrete yet, but hopefully we can still bring a couple in.

“We’re still light up front, and scoring goals has been a problem of late.”

He hopes to have Jake McEnearney back early in the New Year after a broken foot, and Shaun Airey was back in the side on Saturday after work commitments had restricted his availability of late.

Town host derby rivals Nelson on Boxing Day, and Airdrie isn’t taking the Blues lightly, despite their struggles.

Nelson have only won twice in 23 league games and are 10 points adrift of safety, but Airdie said: “They are struggling, but they have made some good signings and set out their intentions.

“Jay Hart and Ben Hoskin have played at a higher standard, and they clearly want to get out of the situation they are in.

“They were unlucky at the weekend and just lost out, and it will be a tough game.”

Town’s East Lancashire League side won 4-2 on penalties in their Craven Cup derby with Pendle Renegades, after the game finished 2-2 after extra time at Sough Park.

There was little to choose between the sides in the first half and the young Town side acquitted themselves superbly in a fiercely-contested half with few chances.

The second half started in similar fashion but gradually the home side started to gain the ascendancy, with Town keeper Adam Wormwell and skipper Aidan McCusker outstanding.

Eventually their resistance was broken as Owen Pearson put Renegades ahead after 62 minutes.

Town rode their luck until the 86th minute when McCusker left his defensive bastion to rescue Town with a smart finish after Jake Hartley’s shot was spilled by the keeper.

In extra time, the Town goalkeeper was pinned to the floor by Nathan Taylforth as Jordan Slade put the ball into the net, but they took the tie to penalties as McCusker scored a stunning half volley from 20 yards.

In the shootout, Town never really looked liked missing, and two of the four home players missed the target.

It was a fantastic advertisement for local football.