Evo-Stik Southern Premier Central
Barwell 0-0 Stratford Town
Report by Bryan Hale
STRATFORD Town made it three games without a goal as they dropped two more points with a frustrating performance against a resilient Barwell side.
Thomas Baillie again rang the changes after last week’s setback at Hitchin, with Albi Skendi slotting in alongside Jordan Williams in the centre of Stratford’s backline and Wilson Carvalho and Kian Williams coming into midfield as the Stratford boss reverted to the more usual 4-2-3-1 formation.
This meant Jamie McAteer and Nabil Shariff dropped to the subs bench where they were joined by the returning Mike Taylor.
With the Kirby Road slope in their favour Stratford made an encouraging start, with Dan Creaney having an early header from a Ross Oulton free-kick easily held by Barwell’s long-serving keeper Liam Castle.
And on 19 minutes only the woodwork prevented them from taking the lead when Kynan Isaac seized on a mistake by Elliott Percival to hit a low drive which cannoned against Castle’s right hand post.
Barwell responded with Danny Durkin having a decent attempt confidently dealt with by Stratford keeper Laurence Bilboe followed by Creaney going close at he other end and right on half-time Bilboe made another smart stop from a well-struck effort by Jake Whitmore.
Castle did well to punch away another Oulton free-kick soon after the restart, but Stratford were struggling to create a clear-cut opening, and in an effort to boost their threat up front Thomas Baillie introduced Taylor on the hour mark followed by Shariff ten minutes later.
Carvalho had a shot blocked and Chris Cox whipped over a cross which sailed beyond Taylor but with Brad Gascoigne mopping up everything in the middle of the Barwell defence Stratford never looked like breaking through and an undistinguished afternoon drifted away to the goal-less draw which seemed a certainty from a long way out.