AFC Telford United’s long wait for a league win finally came to an end with a hard-earned 1-0 victory against Barrow at the New Bucks Head.
Bucks’ boss Andy Sinton made only one change to the side which produced a spirited performance against Mansfield last Saturday, with new loan signing Elliott Chamberlain coming straight into the side at the expense of Craig Farrell.
Chamberlain made a bright start, showing some neat touches as well as a sharp burst of pace, and it was the debutant who had Telford’s first shot on target on 8 minutes when his left-foot strike was comfortably saved by Barrow goalkeeper Danny Hurst. Barrow’s first effort on-target arrived on 16 minutes, although Andy Ferrell’s speculative long-range effort was not good enough to beat Ryan Young.
Barrow had a great chance to take the lead on 19 minutes after Telford failed to deal with a corner. Andy Cook found space in the area and unleashed a fierce drive towards goal, but Young beat away Cook’s strike and the Bucks scrambled clear. Buoyed by that reprieve, Telford went back on the attack and Chamberlain’s curling effort was saved by Hurst as Sinton’s men enjoyed a decent spell of pressure.
However Telford then had three more major let-offs as Young’s goal started to lead an increasingly charmed life. Adam Boyes went clean through on 23 minutes after a poor back-pass from Stuart Whitehead, but Young blocked his initial shot before Whitehead recovered to deny Boyes’ second attempt. Barrow then struck the woodwork twice inside six minutes, Cook heading against the bar from a corner on 24 minutes before Paul Smith’s free-kick struck the post on the half-hour.
Barrow continued to look the more likely scorers as the first-half drew to a close. Richie Baker was afforded too much room on the edge of the area before shooting just over Young’s crossbar and - after surviving a series of close saves - the Bucks could count themselves slightly fortunate to be level as the teams headed to the dressing rooms for the half-time break.
Telford created the first half-chance of the second period when Richard Davies fired over from the edge of the box, but Barrow came close on 56 minutes when Baker’s snap-shot from 20 yards flew inches over the bar, and again when Cook advanced on goal and whistled a shot past Young’s left upright just before the hour.
Just as in the first-half it was Barrow who appeared most likely to make the breakthrough and the over-worked Young was again called into action on 65 minutes, parrying away Jack Mackreth’s shot from the right edge of the area. Sinton made an attacking double substitution on 68 minutes to leave the Bucks with three strikers on the pitch, although that move appeared to be nullified just moments later when Chris Sharp was red-carded for an off-the-ball incident on 74 minutes which only referee West saw.
Out-of-the-blue, though, Telford took the lead on 76 minutes just as the match seemed to be turning away from them, and it was one of Sinton’s substitutes that got the goal. Davies crossed from the right and Steve Jones’ header across Hurst struck the inside of the post before sneaking over the line. Substitute Paul Smith should have equalised with his first touch when he headed over from Baker’s corner in injury-time, but after a torrid run of form Lady Luck finally smiled on Telford as the Bucks held on for a first league win since September 27th.
Match Report by Steve Humbles
1. Ryan Young, 2. Will Salmon, 3. Sean Newton, 5. Stuart Whitehead, 6. Shane Killock (c), 20. Richard Davies, 23. Ryan Valentine, 25. Chris Sharp, 26. Elliott Chamberlain, 27. Jay Smith, 28. Ashley Cain.
Substitutes: 11. Jon Adams (for Davies, 89 minutes), 16. Daniel Preston, 19. Craig Farrell (for Chamberlain, 68 minutes), 29. Stephen Jones (for Newton, 68 minutes), 32. Ryan Robinson (GK).
1. Danny Hurst, 3. Gavin Skelton, 5. Phil Bolland, 7. Paul Rutherford, 8. Richie Baker, 9. Andy Cook, 10. Andy Ferrell, 11. Adam Boyes, 15. Paul Smith, 16. Jack Mackreth, 22. Danny Hone.
Substitutes: 4. Andy Nicholas (for Smith, 90 minutes), 18. Louis Almond (for Cook, 81 minutes), 19. Kelvin Lomax, 24. Danny Rowe (for Mackreth, 86 minutes), 21. Shaun Pearson (GK).
Referee: Mr Richard West (East Yorkshire).