By Ethan Hoijord
Vauxhall Motors returned to winning ways as they beat Barnoldswick Town 2-1 at the VanEupen Arena on Saturday Afternoon.
Mick McGraa would’ve wanted a response from his side as they lost 6-0 to Macclesfield in midweek and the players reflected his wish by starting strongly. They opened the scoreline through Jordan Deer with a great finish from the edge of the box.
Before the goal was scored, a substitution was made by McGraa as Thomas Mitchell was injured by a headed challenge and Ben Dufton-Kelly came on to replace him.
A yellow card was awarded to Gareth Hill for mistiming his challenge for the ball, raising his elbow as he lept. A yellow was also awarded to the visitors’ captain Bradley Knox in the opening stages.
The half grew to be more balanced after the strike, as the visitors made some opportunities for themselves. However, most of their chances resulted in crosses in which they failed to meet their intended target.
Their resilience would pay off though, Alex Ralph displaying his skillset to turn his markers inside out before sending a cross into the box that confused defenders and found its way into the bottom corner.
This goal was certainly aided by having a little bit of luck, it also helped that Vauxhall’s keeper was attempting to get comfortable with his backline on his debut for The Motors, leaving something to work on in the future.
Deer, who would eventually be named man of the match, gave his manager something to think about after he was left out of the previous fixture on Tuesday night in his side’s crushing defeat to Macclesfield.
He added another goal contribution to his name on the stroke of half time, putting in a well-thought free kick that defeated the opposition and left Simon Thelwell with a relatively comfortable finish.
Storm Gladys grew a bit stronger as play went on, turning what was a relatively sunny day into an afternoon of tough playing conditions. However, there were two red cards awarded in the second set of 45 minutes.
Thelwell was sent off for bringing an attacker down as he was approaching the box, using his experience to help his side win the game. Hill was sent off for the visitors, his second yellow card of the afternoon.
There would ultimately be few goalscoring opportunities as Danny Craig’s Blues failed to test Damien Eastham in their search for an equaliser. McGraa’s side failed to add a further goal to the two that had put them into the lead yet they were able to see the game out.
Vauxhall Motors, managed by Mick McGraa: Damien Eastham, Ethan Gouldbourne, Greg Drummond, Simon Thelwell, Thomas Mitchell (Ben Dufton-Kelly ‘11), Joseph Heath, Sean Moscrop, Haydn Cooper, Craig Cairns, Harvey Sample (Kieran Garner-Knapper ‘70), Jordan Deer (Leo Riley ‘76).
Unused subs: Michael Burkey, Jack Kelly.
Barnoldswick Town, managed by Danny Craig: Jordan Gidley, Ashley Brierley (Andrew Hill ‘75), Kasom Shah, Alexander Moloney, Daniel Fagan, Louis Jeanne, Alexander Dodd (Kamar Moncrieffe ‘80), Bradley Knox, Gareth Hill, Kuda Chingwaro (Mitchell George ‘67), Alex Ralph.
Unused subs: Lewis Thompson, Liam Blades.
Referee: James Naisbett.
Assistant referees: Daniel Seddik, Khalid Wahbi.