Tuesday, 16 February 2010

"Once, twice three times a loser"

Well that's three defeats on the bounce now. Not expected but with an injury list that must now be up to about twenty it probably makes sense.

After the Ashton game I reported in the local paper that we were missing seven centre-halves to be promptly informed it was in fact NINE. So it's hardly surprising and the three points and bragging rights went the way of Ashton Town at a foggy Robin Park Arena that Saturday.

They deserved their 4-2 victory as Ashton hot-shot Steve Edwards bagged a brace making that 20 for the season so far.

With such a threadbare squad it was always going to be a tough ask for The Robins makeshift defence and this was highlighted as Ashton were two-up through Edwards and Christian Baxby after ten minutes.

The Robins gained their composure and were back on level terms on the hour through Chris McNally and Ryan Small - playing his first game for eight weeks or so. However instead of pushing on for the victory two more individual errors in four minutes presented the game to Town as Edwards and substitute Kevin Hill completed the scoring.

As the Robins manager John Neafcy said: "We were down to the bare bones and didn't have a recognised centre-half available.

"We knew where the danger would come from but we didn't help ourselves with some sloppy defending."

The one good thing is that we don't have long to go to avenge the defeat as we go there early next month for the second leg of the Pie Classico or should that be Pan of Scouse Classico - with some of the accents emanating from that end.

Against the Are they Yorkshiremen? from up near Burnley way with three teenagers making their debuts - and other debutants on the bench - The Robins were always going to be up against it. Add into the mix a delay of 25 minutes to kick-off whilst a replacement assistant referee was found - after the original couldn't get a babysitter - I'm sure the youngsters' nerves were jangling somewhat.

When the game got under way The Robins settled well and produced some good football as they took the game to the visitors. However - on 32 minutes - a misplaced pass from the old/experienced* (delete as appropriate) Darren Mullen led to a Barnoldswick attack that was finished off by Spencer Jordan.

With The Robins fans and management still seething about the suspicion of offside that accompanied the opening goal they were furious when Joe Shelmedine made it two when he tapped the ball into the net from within the six-yard box with no defenders between him and the line. There was no clever run. he just stood there and knocked it in. Admittedly I wasn't level play to say for certain but neither was the liner as he was level with me. This feller needed Ring and Ride never mind a babysitter!!

As Park tried to get back into the game Chris McNally, Mullen and Ryan Small all went close but Barnoldswick sealed the win when Daz Mullen was adjudged to have handled the ball in the area on the hour mark. Looked to me that he went in for the tackle and the ball hit his hand. That said we'd probably have shouted for it. Russell Clarke stepped up to expertly beat Jay Foulds in the Wigan goal from the penalty spot. It was a tough one for Daz as he had a cracking game all told and marshalled the young lads superbly

As John Neafcy said after the game.

"We had two seventeen-year-olds in Dean Robinson and Dean Midgeley in the back-four and I thought they were absolutely superb and along with Jamie Roberts who made his first start up-front it shows the future at the club is bright.

"We just didn't get the rub of the green with the decisions from the referee and one of his assistants.

"Ironically the best official was the lad they called in at short notice."

This Saturday The Robins will hopefully face Leek CSOB in the Division One Trophy at the Arena. It should have been played four months ago but as long as babysitters are available kick-off will be 3pm Admission £4 (£2 concessions)

Get yourselves down to the Stadio. As usual the pies and coffee will be hot and a quarter-final place awaits the winners

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