Barnton 0-3 Bootle, Townfield Stadium, (13/08/2016)
Competition: North West Counties Football League, Premier Division
Admission Price: £6
Programme: £2 (Great quality full of detail and background on both teams)
Attendance: 70 (rough headcount)
Again another local trip for me meant I didn’t need to leave the house until 2:30 and I was able to make my way to the ground in good time.
This was my first visit to Barnton FC and their ground is tucked away just off Townfield road in the small village of Barnton. For some reason the car park in front of the community hall isn’t allowed to be used by the club, so I had to make do with parking up on the street.
Barnton were promoted to the Premier Division of the North West Counties League at the end of last season, and this is the highest level the club has ever competed at. For a village club this is an incredible achievement, and looking around the ground you could sense that the club are punching above their collective weight.
Despite this the ground is truly unique, upon paying my entry I made my way to the club house and was given a warm welcome, and managed to get hold of a programme and team sheet prior to kick off.
The ground itself looked splendid in the August sunshine, there are two covered stands (one standing & one seated) and the rest of the ground allows you to watch stood close to the action.
The field has an obvious slope, and for me offers a unique bit of character that you can only find at this level of football, Townfield is a little gem at the heart of the village and the club are clearly backed by the locals.
Having picked up all three points from their opening game of the season, Barnton faced a tough clash today against an experienced Bootle. The Villagers suffered a major blow early on with Ryan Greene suffering a nasty ankle injury which saw him being taken away in an ambulance.
The injury knocked Barnton, and their visitors grew into the game and Bootle’s dominance eventually told with Scott Peterson opening the scoring by rounding the keeper smartly.
The Villagers were then able to create some chances but were unable to find a way past the impressive Dean Potter in the Bootle goal, and they suffered another injury blow with striker Ryan Broadhead being forced off before the break.
Bootle had a great shout for a penalty right on half time which was flatly turned down by the ref, much to the disgust of the Bootle players and travelling fans.
The second half saw the home side dominant possession for long periods but they were unable to create any real chances, Bootle seemed happy to soak up the pressure and the eventually hit Barnton on the break with two late goals.
Their second of the game came from substitute Jackson Ellis, and the final goal came from my man of the match Kieran Halligan.
Bootle were deserved winners with their experience at this level showing, as per manager Steve Lloyd’s pre match notes Barnton know they are in for a tough season.
For me Barnton will certainly compete at this level but they do need to show more composure in the final third, and in truth the third goal of the game came as a result of them chasing the game late on.
Match Rating: 6/10 despite the three goals the game lacked in action
Man of the Match: Kieran Halligan, was a constant threat all afternoon and got himself deservedly on the scoresheet late on.