Barton beaten by Farnborough in play-off final
Barton Rovers' promotion dreams failed at the hands of Farnborough on Bank Holiday Monday.
The hosts won the Southern League Division One Central play-off final 2-0 in front of a 1,000 strong crowd but Rovers gave them a real fight.
In a second vs third place match-up Rovers had the far better of the opening play, forcing two early corners that the Boro defence dealt with.
A Charlie Smith free kick saw namesake Tommy head over after only five minutes before Rovers’ defence was called into action at the other end to avert an advancing Jamie Cureton.
Barton pushed hard early on and secured a good foothold on the game but clear cut chances were proving hard to come by at both ends.
Charlie Smith had a shot from a good position but watched as it sailed over before Danny Watson had sight of goal after a scramble in the Farnborough area but again the target was missed.
Lee Close saw an effort narrowly miss the Farnborough post as Zaki Oualah in the home goal looked beaten.
However the deadlock was broken after 36 minutes as a direct ball down field found much travelled league striker Cureton who clinically slotted past Kyle Forster to give the hosts a 1-0 lead.
Rovers dug deep and should have equalised on four minutes later as a superb Watson strike was matched by a world class save from Oualah to protect Farnborough’s narrow lead at the break.
An early change to Rovers’ line up in the second half saw the introduction of front man Michael Malcolm but Farnborough were controlling the game as Barton went in search of that elusive equaliser.
With only half chances and long range efforts falling for Rovers the hosts moved up a gear and just after the hour Perry Coles dispatched an effort past Kyle Forster in another clinical move to double the lead.
Apart from a late header that went narrowly over from Rovers top scorer Connor Calcutt, Boro saw out the game to earn promotion to the Southern League Premier.
Jimmy Gray said afterwards: “Fine margins win games and Farnborough just had the edge.
“We had our chances in the first half but sadly we didn’t take them. I thought all the lads put in a fantastic shift today and all season, I cant fault any of them for their commitment and effort.
“Congratulation to Farnborough who just deserved it more than us with two great goals.”