Southern League Division One Central: Marlow 1 Barton Rovers 2
Barton Rovers took a huge step towards cementing their play-off place with an excellent 2-1 win at rivals Marlow on Saturday.
From the off, both sides played committed 100mph football with no quarter given or taken, as the hosts had the brighter of the early encounters but failed to make the most of them.
With Rovers growing in confidencem Jimmy Hartley’s superb run on the left flank saw him cut into the area where he was felled, only to be booked for diving.
The match official incurred further wrath from Rovers when two clear-cut handballs in the space of a minute were waved away as well.
Elliot Bailey had a half chance go wide, before Connor Calcutt snatched at a wild effort as it sailed into the car park.
It was the hosts that took the lead just before half time as a relentless spell of attacking play saw ex-Dunstable Town player Kelvin Bossman beat keeper Kyle Forster.
After the break, Calcutt and Hartley linked up well in a quick counter that Hartley put wide before Luke Knight had an effort saved.
However, parity was restored by Rovers when Hartley took aim and fired a wonderful strike past Simon Grant to make it 1-1 on 57 minutes.
With the game becoming ever more tense and tetchy, the referee continually spoiled play with needless breaks and bookings.
Barton again had a penalty shout on 75 minutes when the Marlow keeper caught Scott Sinclair with a raised boot, only for the Rovers player to be shown yellow.
In the face of adversity, it was now all Rovers and they grabbed the winner with seven minutes left when top scorer Connor Calcutt climbed the highest from a free kick to head home and send the travelling support wild.
Rovers held firm to see out a hard fought and justified win that keeps them in third, and with a play-off spot almost secured.
Manager Jimmy Gray said: “We were a class act. For the lads to have to deal with setback after setback and keep their cool was amazing.
“I couldn’t fault anyone for effort and total commitment, all of them gave 100 per cent and left that pitch drained but with a well deserved buzz about them.
“What a fantastic result for them all and the support that came down to watch.”
Next up for the Rovers is the visit of second placed Farnborough on Saturday at 3pm.