Match Report | Barnes Bow Out Of The Cup After Penalty Kick Loss
The lights went out on any hope of a cup run as Barnes Stormers were knocked out of the Brian Howard President's Cup on Sunday after a nerve-wracking penalty shoot out.
Barnes line up looked a little different this week with a few notable absentees and a couple of players either making debuts or playing for the first time in a long while but even with these changes, Barnes had a strong line up.
With KO delayed to pitch allocation confusion, the game started perhaps a little nervy with both teams slightly distracted but also knowing the knock out format and eager to make a good start despite the muddy pitch. And it was Arantes who struck first, shortly into the first half a through ball down the middle that went unchallenged allowing the Arantes forward to latch onto it and poke it home. 1-0 Arantes.
Barnes woke up and began to get a foothold in the game but they were disjointed as the conditions of the pitch didn't allow for much passing football. Attacking down the wings, new boy Bradley looked to make a good first impression and he was able to make some good passes and get into the right areas but Arantes kept him from putting that final killer pass into the box. Kai up top was keeping the oppo defence busy as he aerial game came to the fore winning header after header but the final shot to truly challenge the keeper was lacking from the Stormers forwad players.Defensively, Barnes dealt reasonably well the Arantes attack, alot of aerial and through balls came at them which between them they were able to deal with meaning keeper Luke, goal aside, had a relatively comfortable first half collecting loose balls and commanding his box well at set plays. The midfield did well to help contribute to this, disrupting the oppo play and trying to force our own counter attacks but despite the hard work of the Barnes team, they were unable to turn it up enough to get the first half equaliser. 1-0 HT.
A couple of tactical changes at half time and a few words from the team to fix what went wrong seemed to have worked as Barnes attacked Arantes well at the restart. But defensively, Barnes were a bit all over the place with a slight change of the back line having taking Jacko and Billy off. A bit of complacency meant Jack had to take a professional foul and although seemingly outside the box, a penalty was awarded. Arantes stepped up to make it 2-0.
Barnes were fired up now and desperate to get back in the game. As tempers flared, the intensity of the game increased the Stormers improved. One attack saw Bradley receiving a great ball from the midfield and driving well into the area. One on one, the Arantes keeper charged out, full blooded with an apparent two footed tackle putting our young debutant in the air. Awarded a penalty, Casey stepped up to the spot. Cool, calm and confident he slotted home. 2-1.
At 2-1 and with just under half hour to go, Liam was brough into the fray. After a faf whilst looking for shinpads for Liam, Barnes got back into their groove and it fell to more brilliant midfield play that led to a fantastic driving run and cooly slotted home goal. 2-2
Barnes felt they were in control and charged forwards really looking for the decisive goal in the dying minutes of the game, alas it was not to be and it ended 2-2 at 90 minutes and a penalty shoot out to decide the winner.
Arantes stepped up to take the first penalty and despite Luke guessing the correct direction, he was unable to keep the first two out. Similarly the Arantes keeper couldn't keep out the first two Barnes penalties. Kai hit a perfect shot to top right and Casey slotted his home too. The third penalty and Arantes stepped up to take the shot but this time it was third time lucky for Luke and again he not only guessed the right direction but also caught it comfortably. Harry stepped up to take the Stormers' 3rd pen but a muddy and divotted penalty spot conspired against him as his spot kick was saved. 2-2 on pens.
Arantes took their fourth penalty very well and tucked it well into the side netting, leaving Luke no chance. Hussain stepped up and followed suit, burying his effort. Pressure on, Arantes 5th penalty taker stepped up and slotted his home. Jack's turn came and it was all nothing, score and it would go to sudden death, miss and it was Barnes out of the cup. He took his shot but the conditions of the penalty spot had greatly detoriated, that, added pressure of the final spot kick and numerous other teams who had by now stopped to watch behind the goal to witness this gripping penalty shoot out play out all probably played a part in an unfortunate miss. That was it, Barnes knocked out of the cup losing 4-3 on penalties.
"The boys are obviously gutted right now but I'm proud of the way we came out in that second half to pull the game back and finish the 90 minutes level. Casey pointed to the positives in our post game talk, the fact that in another 90 minutes of football we were unbeaten is a big bonus. All things considered the team performed well enough to get a draw but there certainly things we need to improve on to make sure we go on to win our next few games. We'll be working hard over the next few training sessions to make sure we switch on from minute 1 and be ready to go no matter what pre-match distractions we have", said Jacko.