Only two games in the division this week, but both had their fair share of drama.
Struggling Barnsley eased their relegation fears with a come from behind victory to defeat rock bottom CheltenhamTown, 3-1, at Whaddon Road, whilst at GriffinPark, the referee Mr Crossley, abandoned the clash between Brentford and Colchester United at half time, due to a frost bound pitch.
On a bitterly cold evening in Gloucestershire, the Tykes fell behind as early as the second minute. Cheltenham's Michael Duff fed Tony Naylor inside the penalty area, and the Robins' forward turned and cracked a fierce shot that flew past Barnsley keeper Andy Marriott.
However, the visiting Reds had been extremely lively in the opening exchanges, with striker Mike Sheron especially prominent, and it was the former Queens Park Rangers man who restored parity after 17 minutes, pouncing on a mistake from on-loan defender, Greg Strong, to beat home custodian, Steve Book, with ease.
Thereafter, the home side’s Martin Devaney had an effort hacked off the line by Barnsley’s David Mulligan, and as Bobby Gould’s team pressed, Duff went close with a header. For the visitors, scorer Sheron went close on the stroke of half time, but directed a header wide of the target when well placed.
After the interval, Glyn Hodges’ men imposed themselves on the contest and were rewarded when the effervescent Bruce Dyer put the Tykes in front, just after the hour mark. Mulligan delivered a telling cross from the left, to leave Dyer with a simple task of directing the ball past the stranded Book, in the home goal for an eleventh league strike of the season.
Cheltenham threatened only sporadically throughout the second half, and the only real chance of a leveller came when on-loan from BristolCity striker, Marvin Brown, snatched at a volley and watched it saw harmlessly wide with just less than twenty minutes to go. Barnsley held on reasonably comfortably thereafter, before wrapping up the points in added on time. The effective strike partnership of Sheron and Dyer combined to set up midfielder, Gary Jones, who rifled the ball home to complete back to back victories for the Yorkshire side, for the first time since last August.
The three points consolidates Barnsley’s rise away from the lower reaches of the table, but for CheltenhamTown, the spectre of an immediate return to the Nationwide Third Division is looming large.
Meanwhile, at a freezing GriffinPark, the crowd of 4, 080 had an unexpectedly early evening. Both sets of players had been finding it extremely difficult to maintain their balance, and referee Mr. Crossley, decided to call the match off at half time, with the score tied at 0-0.
In the action that did take place, it was the visitors from Essex who shaded an exciting first 45 minutes, made more so by the treacherous conditions. Brentford keeper, Paul Smith, had already made two excellent stops to deny the Layer Road outfit, before the in-form Scott McGleish rattled a post with the Bees’ custodian beaten. The West London team, difficult to beat on their own patch, had had chances of their own, Kevin O’Connor and Stephen Hunt shooting straight at visiting keeper Simon Brown when well placed.
Brentford announced today (Wednesday), that the game has been re-arranged for Tuesday 11th March, kick-off .