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Barnes Storm Through To The Second Round!

Barnes Stormers FC progressed through to the second round of the Brian Howard's President Cup after seeing out a 1-0 home win against SSFL opposition, Syndicate FC.

Having been unfortunate in not getting a bye for the first round, Barnes Stormers FC were drawn against fellow League 7 side Syndicate FC in the cup. A familiar foe, Barnes had played Syndicate in each of the preceding pre-seasons since the Stormers' founding and went in to the match quietly confident they could get the win.

Player availability forced the Barnes management team, Tom Jackson and Ash Bertram, to field a much changed squad and formation from the previous week's 7-1 thrashing of South West Athletic. With club captain Ben out injured, Abdul was given the armband whilst Ash stepped up to play in goal in the absence of injured goalkeeper Billy with other players also playing slightly unfamiliar positions.

The game got off to a good start for Barnes who dominated the midfield and created several early chances but were left to rue their missed chances. In a scrappy first half, on a muddy pitch, fouls were given away by both sides and it was from set plays that both sides truly threatened. George and Nuno both had a couple of sudden and snapshot chances whilst Lleyton took a speculative shot from a poorly cleared corner to force the keeper to tipping it over the bar.

Indeed it was a free kick on the right hand side of the pitch, approximately 25 yards out, from which Lleyton was able to give Barnes the lead. Centre back Lleyton, usually on the receiving end of free kick crosses, stepped up to take one himself this time and curled it into the top of the net leaving the goalkeeper with no chance.

That goal gave Barnes the confidence to continue playing a defensive game and they held out to half time. The second half brough much of the same with some great defensive shifts being put in across the entire park; from RW Paul almost playing RWB at times to striker George dropping deep into the midfield to carry the ball out back and run at the opposition aswell as central midfielders Abdul and Abdi who both put in monumental performances plus the whole back 5 (including Ash in goal) who stood firm, kept their composure and rarely threatened. Tackle after tackle, the Stormers left everything on the pitch doing their utmost to prevent Syndicate from having any time on the ball or building any phase of possession. With time ticking away, Syndicate wasted their biggest chance of the game with the linesman keeping his flag down, their striker blazed wide after a superb cross in from just 8 yards out.

All in, this was a great game, closely fought and both teams will be relishing the league legs of this fixture. Meanwhile, Barnes go into the lockdown period with heads held high after a first clean sheet of the season and their place in the second round of the cup secured!

Team: Ash Bertram, Tom Jackson, Lleyton Dulake (1 Goal), Conor Rooney, Alfie Cooper, Paul Burke, Abdi Abdulkadir, Abdul Obi (C), Mo Saibu, George Fry, Nuno Nunes.

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