Gray blasts ‘awful’ Rovers after yet another FA Trophy fail

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FA Trophy, preliminary round: Barton Rovers 0 Herne Bay 1

Barton Rovers’ poor record in the FA Trophy continued on Saturday as they failed to reach the next round for the fifth year in a row, beaten 1-0 by Herne Bay.

After a superb, League Cup win over Dunstable on Tuesday, the hosts looked for a fast start as Alex O’Brien shot just wide after eight minutes, with Rod Orlando-Young putting another attempt narrowly off target.

Orlando-Young did have the ball in the back of the net on the quarter hour mark after a fine burst of pace, but it was ruled out for a dubious offside flag.

This appeared to unsettle the hosts who then conceded the only goal of the game as Herne Bay’s Stuart Zanone found Barton’s defence in no man’s land to slot past keeper Lewis Todd.

Rovers never recovered from that moment onward and looked out of sorts, disjointed and hapless.

A half time roasting by manager Jimmy Gray did little to lift the side as Herne Bay threatened to increase their advantage in the second period.

Barton did have two good efforts well saved by visiting keeper Jack Delo, the first from a Charlie Smith free kick and then a Dan Hutchins piledriver which was pushed around the post.

However, Bay held on to take £2,500 prize money as boss Gray said: “We have gone from awesome to awful in four days as far too many of the lads had an off day and didn’t put in a performance which isn’t good enough.

“We go again Tuesday and I need to see a marked improvement or we will be looking to freshen things up.”

Barton head to Aylesbury in the league on Tuesday night and are without a game on Saturday, before hosting Luton Town in the Beds Senior Cup the following Tuesday.

Rovers: Todd, Hall, Smith, Locke, Gentle, Bamford, O’Brien, Close, Wynter, Calcutt, Orlando-Young.

Subs: Fulton, Coughlan, Hutchins, Keating, Bailey.