Waltham Forest lost 2-1 to Barton Rovers, in a close but mostly one-sided game which left the Stags will be left wondering how they didn’t come out with three points from this game.
Forest started the brighter team, winning two corners and should have scored from one. The pattern of the game had been set as Forest pushed Rovers back into their own half. Dewayne Clarke had the first attempt at goal bringing a great save from Barton’s ‘keeper Stephen Graham.
Rovers then had their first attack: breaking out of defence they ran straight up to the other end of the field and scored through Barnes who beat the offside trap after Guile passed a beautiful through ball which split the home defence, Barnes was then able to lob the stranded Gavin King who’d come out to cut off the attack.
Forest went straight back on the attack and should have scored after 11 minutes when Cooper sent a lovely pass after cutting in from the left. Forest must have known it was not going to be their day when Carl Ashton missed the poke in at the far post by inches with the Barton defence standing and watching.
As the minutes went by, the game remained in the Barton half with the home side doing everything but get the ball in the back of the net: both Cooper and Clarke saw goalward shots bounce off unknowing defenders.
It seemed only a matter of time before the equaliser would come but then Barton broke out for the second time with a quick ball down their left side for Niel Morgan who sent the ball over to the far post where Guile was waiting for the tap in.
Forest were not out of the game however, they pushed up once again and took control of everything so were deservedly rewarded when Clarke scored a magnificent volley from just inside the area after 41 minutes.
The second half was a totally one-sided affair even though Rovers did make an attempt to use more of the midfield and, having a couple of good attempts on gaol. It is impossible to calculate how many chances the Stags had to score in the second half but an invisible barrier seemed to be protecting the Barton goal.
Forest pressed and pressed but luck was against them, having countless shots cleared off of the line, and hitting the upright thrice. On one occasion, Ashton managed to get to the goal line reacting first to a ball bouncing around the goalmouth after a poorly defended corner. His shot hit the underside of the crossbar, came down and hit the ‘keeper on the back and appeared to go over the line. Unhappily, the officials were not to be swayed by the supporters’ cheers and wave play on.
Chance after chance came and went before Barton’s main tormentor Dewayne Clarke had to go off injured. With Solomon Henry also leaving the park through injury, the attacking force became somewhat blunted with only Ian Cooper getting into the six yard box but having problems cutting the ball back.
Rovers hung on by the skin of their teeth, but The Stags just couldn’t find a way of getting the ball over the Barton goal line.