Barnoldswick Town denied at the death

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TOWN were knocked out of the NWCFL Challenge Cup at the third round stage on Saturday.

Barnoldswick were forced into seven changes from the starting line-up midweek against AFC Liverpool.

On top of that, six of the side hadn’t completed 90 minutes in the past month.

The changes were needed due to five players being cup tied - Billy Carrington, James Nettleton, Martin Broderick, Andrew Lee and Thomas Bradley - while Lewis Jordan, Matthew Cavanagh and Aaron Hollindrake out injured.

Formby, although from a league below, were the form team having only lost once in the current campaign, so a tough match was in the offing.

The visitors started the better, Smith running the midfield with his intelligent play, always in space and spraying telling balls about the pitch.

The Town defence were having to work hard to keep the persistent Formby forwards at bay, but protected keeper Sam Arrowsmith well.

Formby took the lead after 21 minutes. A free kick given 25 yards out central to the goal, which was hotly disputed by the Town defence, was taken by Formby full back Marvin Molyneux, and he struck the ball with ferocity into the top right hand corner of Arrowsmith’s goal, giving him no chance.

Referee Michael Bonage booked two Town players in as many minutes straight after Formby’s opening goal for what looked like fairly innocuous infringements, Shaun Airey and Ashley Alderson feeling his wrath.

Formby continued to apply the pressure, Joseph Walker shooting across the face of the Town goal after 27 minutes, and a minute later Walker crossed to the near post to the league’s leading scorer Jason Carey, who forced a good save from Arrowsmith, although the ball looped up towards goal, Billy Priestley having to head the ball out for a corner.

Another Formby corner on the half hour mark saw a Michael White shot blocked as he shot from eight yards out.

Another Town player went into the Referee’s book when Kevin Richardson was penalised for late tackle.

Half-time came with Town a goal down and some hard decisions to be made as they hadn’t had a single shot on goal.

Town made positional changes after the break, swopping both full backs Liam Blades and Danny Morton around and pushing Airey forward to try to combat Smith.

The changes seemed to work as Town looked more competitive, and they equalised after 53 minutes when a Paul Fildes shot hit the top of Joshua O’Connell’s left hand post and cannoned back into the middle of the goal, Priestley diving forward to head the ball in (pictured).

Three minutes later another Town player was booked, this time Chris Ridehalgh, but they continued to press, and Priestley fired over after 62 minutes, and was then back in defence a minute later making a brilliant tackle just inside his own area.

At the other end, Fildes was put through but O’Connell made a good diving save to thwart him.

Then Town took the lead on 66 minutes, as Airey headed on for Harry Thompson, who found Fildes inside the area, and he curled a shot across O’Connell and inside his far post.

It was all Town now, Alderson picking up a loose ball and sending his shot just wide of the upright.

But Formby were not to be denied and they equalised after 70 minutes, Ridehalgh giving away a penalty when he brought an attacker down, Michael White scoring from the spot.

This brought Formby back to life as they regrouped, Adegbenro curling a shot just wide of the target.

In the next Town attack, the hosts had a three on three situation, Thompson cutting into the area and deciding to shoot when Fildes was in a far better goalscoring position. The shot was blocked and the chance was gone.

Carey tried his luck at the other end, shooting across goal.

The final Town booking on 86 minutes was Priestley, which made five in total and a £150 fine for the club, a little harsh as there wasn’t a bad tackle in the match.

Town should have won the match in the 90th minute, as Stewart Airdrie was put clean through, and he went round O’Connell and somehow he seemed to lose his balance, which allowed the ball to bobble away from him.

As everyone was looking at extra time, Adegbenro cut along the touchline towards goal, and Priestley bundled him over, the referee giving another penalty which White dispatched comfortably once again.

Tomorrow, Town host Glossop North End, back in league action.