The Sharpenhoe Road stadium is part of a sports complex on the edge of Barton-le-Clay which also appears to have a thriving bowls club. There is ample free parking at the ground, all very close to the turnstiles. As you enter the ground you get the feeling of openness. Barton are blessed with plenty of room for expansion, should they need it. At the car park end of the ground, behind the goal, is an artificial surface 5-a-side pitch. To the left of the playing surface is the main stand (pictured below) and behind the stand is the clubhouse, bar and changing rooms. At the far end of the ground, Bedford Road end, there is hard-standing backed by a fence and to the right of the car park there is covered standing alongside the majority of the length of the pitch. This side of the ground also has the dugouts. Something I have noticed at a lot of non-league grounds is that the dugouts tend to be on the opposite side to the main stand. To protect the patrons from the sometimes industrial language perhaps? The playing surface itself seemed to be in pretty good condition although there is a noticeable slope on the pitch from the car park towards the Bedford Road end.
I arrived just as the teams were coming out. Just enough time to grab a cup of tea before the action started.
However, after 28 minutes it was Bedworth who took the lead. A very tempting cross was met at the far post by Danny Dubidat who placed his header back across the keeper and into the far corner. Despite a couple of Barton attempts, one of which was acrobatically turned over the bar by the visiting keeper, the score remained at 0-1 as the half-time whistle blew.
Bedworth had probably edged the first-half and just about deserved their lead. However, my thoughts were that, kicking down the slope and with the pace of their right-sided player, Barton may come back into the game. I wasn't sure that one would be enough for Bedworth. How wrong I was.
The second half followed a similar pattern the first with neither team establishing any dominance over the other. Bedworth were still playing the better football with Barton relying heavily on long balls, trying to get over the top and behind the Bedworth back line. Surprisingly, considering the joy they had down the right flank in the first half, they insisted on playing the ball down the left or through the middle. This tactic was much to the dismay of their wide right player.
On 63 minutes goal-scorer Dubidat turned provider, laying the ball into the path of Naughton who fired home from the edge of the box with a very crisp finish. It was game over 10 minutes later when a defensive mishap lead to Naughton getting his second and Bedworth's third of the night.
Overall, I was disappointed with Barton Rovers. Bedworth won the game at a canter, not really having to work that hard. Maybe it was an off day for the home side. I hope, for their sake, that it was otherwise it could be a long hard season.
Barton Rovers - @bartonroversfc
Bedworth United - @bedworthunited