Gray makes changes as Rovers concentrate on play-off clash

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Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central: Egham Town 2 Barton Rovers 0

A much-changed Barton Rovers were beaten 2-0 by Egham Town in their final game of the regular Division One season on Saturday.

With the play-offs secured, boss Jimmy Gray had the luxury of being able to shuffle the and dabble with formations too.

It looked like his tactics would work, as early on Michael Malcolm followed up by a Luke Knight shot, to see his effort well saved by home keeper Jamie Norris.

The opening goal of the game came on 34 minutes though as a through ball picked out Brendan Matthew who appeared to control with his hand but play was allowed to continue and with Rovers’ defence static, he fired home.

The visitors had a blatant penalty shout bluntly turned down after 40 minutes for handball, while in the second period, Egham, who needed a win to stay in the final play-off berth remained on the attack.

Jordan Berry had a half chance go wide before some more good work from Rovers saw Elliot Bailey unleash a shot that sailed over.

With Gray firmly having eyes only for the play-off match, a triple substitution was made on 53 minutes which injected some pace into the game in the shape of Jimmy Hartley, Victor Osobu and Phil Draycott.

Barton should have levelled after as a prolonged goalmouth scramble saw Egham defend for their lives and force the ball to safety.

Home keeper Norris denied the visitors once more, before Berry tapped home a second with 16 minutes left to seal victory.

Afterwards, Gray said: “The result was immaterial, we came to look at individual performances with a view to determining the line-up for Wednesday.

“The lads that played did extremely well and we learnt a lot from positions and formation that on a normal day you don’t the chance to experiment with. Wednesday can’t come soon enough for me now.”

Barton will face Marlow at Sharpenhoe Road in the play-off semi-final on Wednesday, kick-off 7.45pm.