Smith goal proves a consolation as Barnoldswick Town go down at Congleton

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Barnoldswick Town slipped to a 3-1 defeat at Congleton on Saturday on what was a beautiful day for a football match at last, with a slight breeze and plenty of sunshine.

Congleton pressed from the word go, although the first chance came the way of the locals as Mark Threlfall and Aaron Hollindrake set up Samuel Howell on the edge of the area, but he lifted his shot over the bar.

Congleton went straight down the other end with a slick move that found right back Chris Middleton on his own on the corner of the area, and he unleashed a tremendous shot that flew past Billy Carrington into the far corner.

Worse was to follow for the visitors four minutes later,

Daniel Bruce ran into the area, Carrington charged out of his goal to intercept, but Bruce dribbled round him and crossed to the far post, where Omar McKenzie had an easy tap in to double the lead.

The visitors, at this point, were struggling to keep the ball as Congleton looked to increase their lead, working the open spaces well.

But Barnoldswick pulled a goal back after 23 minutes, Derek Pollard crossing from the right, and Threlfall, under pressure from two defenders on the six-yard line, saw his shot deflect off a defender to Connor Smith, whose shot beat Martin Pearson in the Congleton goal.

Town looked the better team as they pressed for an equaliser, and three minutes later a Smith shot was beaten away by Pearson at his near post straight into the path of Carl Ellerton, who se shot hit hit the foot of the post and was hacked clear by Middleton.

The second half started with the visitors conceding another goal two minutes in, Scott Sephton scoring from 10 yards out after Carrington parried a fierce shot.

Town then made a double substitution on 53 minutes, Paul Walker and Pollard making way for Kieron Lee and Sam Reeves.

The visitors should arguably have been awarded a penalty three minutes later as a long ball straight down the middle bounced high just inside Congleton’s area, and Threlfall won a header but suffered a blow from the right hand of keeper Pearson who had missed the ball. Most referees would have given a penalty, but unfortunately not this one.

Middleton again showed his shooting prowess as he shot again from the corner of the area, this time hitting the bar and bouncing to safety, but Congleton had already done enough for the points.

Tuesday night’s home game with Bootle was postponed wit the pitch still waterlogged, and Town now have seven home games on the spin, starting on Saturday when they entertain Glossop North End, kick-off 3 p.m.