Hall Road Rangers recorded their first win in the Northern Counties East League in six matches, as they beat Nostell Miners Welfare at Dene Park.Joint boss Jamie Barnwell nodded in a 74th minute winner to ensure Hall Road Rangers took all three points away from Dene Park against Nostell Miners Welfare on Saturday. Skipper Steve Gawthorpe’s first half opener was cancelled out by the visitors on 67 minutes. But Rangers’ two managers successfully combined just seven minutes later, with Barnwell neatly glancing in a Martin Thacker cross to seal a 2-1 win for his side.
“It was gritty”, reflected Barnwell after the game. “We were up against a team that was in and around us, so it was probably one of the biggest fixtures that we’re going to have. The pitch made it difficult but it was nice to see us grind out a result. We’ve played some really good football of late but that was a proper ground out Northern Counties East League result.”
After Saturday’s crushing 7-0 defeat against league leaders Retford, and coming up against top ten sides in each of their last seven games, facing Nostell – who began the game just two places above Hall Road – will have been a welcome relief. Paul Wilson, Lee Parker, Steve Gawthorpe and Michael Gregory replaced Luke Wheeldon, Neil Towler, Dave Ricardo and Phil Jackman in the starting 11, and despite an overall even first period, Rangers found themselves ahead at the break. Full back Jamie Heard did brilliantly on the right flank to jink past three Nostell players, before playing in a low cross to the feet of Gawthorpe, who himself skipped away from two defenders, before prodding a left footed shot into the top corner.
Nostell equalised in the 67th minute through substitute Russell Gill, but the teams weren’t on level terms for long. A Thacker corner from the right was beaten out back to the Hall Road joint boss, who whipped in another cross that was met with a fine glancing header from Barnwell, who wheeled away for his first Rangers goal since October 2010, and the match’s winner. The attribution of the goal wasn’t completely straightforward, though, with Nostell full back Scott Colquhoun looking like he might have got the final touch on the line.
“I can’t even believe it’s in question”, said Barnwell. “I couldn’t be part of the centre forwards club if I didn’t take goals like that.” After playing at centre back against Retford last weekend, the Hall Road joint boss added that it was a relief to be back in his favoured position up front. “It was nice to feel comfortable and not have to think too much about the game. I thought myself and Danny Ricketts linked up well since it was the first time we’ve done it, but overall, I think people made better decisions on the football pitch and it really told.”
Ahead of next weekend’s trip to Armthorpe, Barnwell simply called for momentum. “Winning breeds habit, and we know we’ve got a lot to fight for. Mine and Martin’s objectives when we came to the club was to stay up and we’ve still got to do that.” Rangers leapfrogged Long Eaton United with the three points, meaning they go into Easter in 16th.
HALL ROAD: Mike Burley, Jamie Heard, Paul Wilson, Steve Gawthorpe, Michael Gregory, Lee Parker, Mark Griffin, Martin Thacker (Steve Chapman, 78), Jamie Barnwell (Darrel Thompson, 76), Danny Ricketts, Adam Crane (Ray Ford, 66). Subs not used: Luke Wheeldon.
Thanks to Alex Blackburne for this report. Alex is the Press Officer at Hall Road Rangers. If you would like to feature your club’s news and reports on the site, then get in touch. All the relative links for Hall Road and the NCEL are below.