Southern Division One Central
Uxbridge 0-2 Barton Rovers
UXBRIDGE suffered a second-half meltdown as they stumbled to defeat to promotion-chasing Barton last night.
Tony Choules’ side bossed a game played on a wet, heavily sanded pitch at Honeycroft for 50 minutes, hitting the woodwork and having shouts for a first half penalty waved away by referee Richard Kendall.
However, from that point on they disappeared and were sunk by two contrasting goals by Rovers’ midfielder Kev Kilroy.
Their frustration and misery was later compounded when striker Matt Woods was sent off for two rash challenges in the space of 10 minutes.
Choules made two changes from Saturday’s draw at Chalfont with Wayne Carter and Mark Smith coming in at the expense of Danny Julienne and Alfie Barrett who both dropped to the bench.
Kicking up the slope in the first half the hosts were soon in charge, Woods seeing an early shot deflected wide before coming within a whisker of the opening goal with their best move of the night on 20 minutes.
Will Wambeek brought the ball stylishly out of defence before Carter sprayed a superb pass into the path of Woods. Smith also got involved in the build-up before teeing up Chris Moore for a cracking drive from the edge of the box which was inches too high.
Eight minutes later came controversy as another slick reds’ move ended with Moore colliding with Rovers keeper Kyle Forster provoking strong shouts for a penalty.
These were waved away by referee Kendall who later revealed the ball had run dead before any contact was made between the two players.
It took Barton until seven minutes before the interval to register a serious attempt on goal when Jermaine Hall’s shot was superbly blocked by Dave Thomas.
It was an isolated threat as Uxbridge finished the half in charge with Smith hitting one effort narrowly wide before seeing a second effort kept out by Forster’s smart save.
The interval initially changed little as the hosts came out firing. Callum Madigan firing just off target while Smith shot straight at Forster within the first couple of minutes.
Leading scorer Craige Tomkins also went close before five minutes in Wambeek set woods running down the right and when he crossed from the right Moore got across his marker to flick the ball against the post.
Forster gratefully grabbed the rebound, but at this stage it looked to be just a matter of time before Uxbridge would score.
Yet instead of being the prelude to an impressive win, Moore’s effort was virtually a last hurrah as Barton took charge.
The central midfield pair of Carter and Madigan, dominant in the first period simply faded away, forcing the defence to drop deep and leaving Woods and Moore increasingly isolated up front.
Liam McDevitt’s header tipped over by Paul McCarthy was a warning shot, while fellow full-back Kyle Lincoln lashed over when he should have hit the target and such was the turnaround it was no surprise when Rovers broke the deadlock on 65 minutes.
Thomas did well to block an effort behind for a corner, but when the delivery was headed back across the area substitute Barrett had strayed off the near post leaving an unmarked Kilroy to head in from a yard out.
Choules immediately threw on giant striker Simpson for the tiring Moore, but the big man like the strikers before him was starved of supply in a game now only going one way.
Barrett survived a scare when he collided with Rhy Hoenes in the home box, referee Kendall deeming the unfortunate Rovers’ winger to have dived and giving him a yellow card for his pains.
With Uxbridge now really under the pump McCarthy saved well from Luke Knight while Rovers’ substitute Bobby Dance side-footed another excellent chance inches wide.
A second looked inevitable and arrived 11 minutes from time when good possession set up Kilroy 30 yards out to the right of the D and he crashed a thunderous shot through a crowd of bodies and in off the near post.
Any chance of a late surge from the hosts disappeared 60 seconds later when Woods, not long booked for one rash tackle allowed his frustration to boil over into a wild challenge from behind.
The inevitable second yellow was swiftly followed by a red, capping a miserable night for the men of Honeycroft.