Barton beat Marlow to reach play-off final

St Mary's Cup champs Tring Athletic are holding an EGM next month

St Mary's Cup champs Tring Athletic are holding an EGM next month

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Southern League Division One Central, play-off semi-final: Barton Rovers 2 Marlow 0

Barton Rovers set up a plum play-off final tie with Farnborough after beating Marlow at Sharpenhoe Road on Wednesday evening.

Both teams came into the game in good form and nothing could separate them in the early exchanges.

The hosts’ Jimmy Hartley saw keeper Simon Grant pull off a great save after 16 minutes but Marlow settled the better of the two sides and pushed for an opening goal.

Home stopper Kyle Forster was called in to action on 20 minutes when he was forced to push a low shot round the post, while although Charlie Smith shot wide, Rovers were let off the hook as Allan Bossman missed badly from close range.

Connor Calcutt was also off target for Barton, with Kelvin Bossman likewise for the visitors.

If Marlow shaded the first half it would be Rovers who had the upper hand in the second but not before Marlow created a couple of half chances.

On the hour mark Lee Close shot well wide, while Elliot Bailey put a cross-shot into the side netting with his last kick of the game as he was replaced by the game-changing Danny Watson.

Barely on the pitch for five minutes, Watson lashed home from 20 yards out on 70 minutes giving Grant no chance.

Grant was then called into action again soon after and made a fine double save to keep the score at 1-0 but on 86 minutes, Connor Calcutt sealed the tie with a simple finish from close range.

Rovers saw the game out to set up a cracking Bank Holiday Monday tie at Farnborough with promotion to the Southern League Premier Division at stake.

A delighted boss Jimmy Gray said afterwards: “It wasn’t pretty out they but we dug in and ground out the result.

“There were some outstanding performances from our boys. Closey was faultless, Luke Knight had a great game, Danny Watson changed things when he came on but Tommy Smith in the heart of defence got the man of the match by a whisker.

“We go again on Monday knowing we are the massive underdogs but I’m sure as with today’s game the lads will give everything.”