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Nathan Smith scores a hat-trick as Blackstones draw with Barrow Town in the United Counties League Division One



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Nathan Smith struck a hat-trick as Blackstones battled back to earn a point in Wednesday night's United Counties League Division One clash with Barrow Town.

Ryan Hunnings' side had trailed by two goals against their Leicestershire visitors before Smith bagged a brace to get them back on level terms.

Barrow again retook the lead before Smith sealed his treble to earn Stones their sixth point of the season.

Nathan Smith celebrates. Photo: Martin Davies (52264405)
Nathan Smith celebrates. Photo: Martin Davies (52264405)

The match was once again a tale of two halves for Stones as they picked up in the first half where they had left off on Saturday to trail by two goals at the break.

However, the second half display left their changing room galvanised and really gave the visitors a wake-up call.

For the first half, Stones were placed under the cosh as Barrow pushed forward and dominated the field.

Nathan Smith heads home. Photo: Martin Davies (52264412)
Nathan Smith heads home. Photo: Martin Davies (52264412)

They twice broke down through the Stones defence on 10 and 28 minutes and clinically despatched the ball into the net to leave the home side reeling in their wake.

What chances fell to the Stones forwards were snuffed out by a solid, organised Barrow defence as they left the field to regroup at the break.

From the restart Stones went for it with Smith and Dan Gargan facing up to the visiting defence while behind them Jacob Joyce, Joe Cox and Taylor Breagan took back control of the midfield.

Nathan Smith completes his hat-trick. Photo: Martin Davies (52264422)
Nathan Smith completes his hat-trick. Photo: Martin Davies (52264422)

Stones were rewarded after five minutes of the second period when Rob Parker-Meadows advanced out of defence and slid a ball forward to Gargan who slotted a precision pass into the path of Smith who outpaced the defence and halved the deficit.

Five minutes later Smith once more tottered above the defence to powerfully head in a free kick.

Stones kept the scores level for 10 minutes, but Barrow picked up on confusion in the home defence and took the lead again.

Dan Gargan runs at the Barrow defence. Photo: Martin Davies (52264401)
Dan Gargan runs at the Barrow defence. Photo: Martin Davies (52264401)

Stones were not out of it though and continued to press as cracks opened in the visitors' defence.

With 17 minutes remaining, Smith claimed his hat-trick when he was presented with a one-on-one with the keeper.

The final 15 minutes were a bit scrappy and hard-fought but Stones hung on for the point in a spirited second half performance.

They host Hucknall Town at the Torney Limited Stadium on Saturday before visiting Harrowby United on Tuesday.

Stones: Packi, Parker-Meadows, Mitchell, Warrington, Benton (Gilbert), Breagan, Gargan, Joyce, Smith, Cox, McNally (Wilde). Subs not used: Abayomi, Kavanagh, Edwards.

Stones had been sunk by three second half goals at the weekend as 10-man Ingles took the points.

Andy Buckle in action against Ingles on Saturday. Photo: Martin Davies (52264439)
Andy Buckle in action against Ingles on Saturday. Photo: Martin Davies (52264439)

The visitors had competed well in the opening period and had threatened to produce a good and exciting display.

However, the second half was a total contrast and the home team took full advantage despite playing for 40 minutes with 10 men.

Stones started the game intent on avenging the FA Vase exit in September and certainly attacked the home goal with purpose.

Ollie Edwards. Photo: Martin Davies (52264461)
Ollie Edwards. Photo: Martin Davies (52264461)

However, it was Ingles that opened the scoring when against the run of play they broke forward and, following a clumsy challenge, they played the advantage with Stones waiting for the whistle and capitalised with a shot from the edge of the box from Dean Copson.

It only took Stones three minutes to level the score though when Alex McNally raced down the right and cut the ball back to Rob Parker-Meadows who drove a low shot through a crowded defence and past an unsighted keeper.

Stones maintained the tempo and pressure but could not break through a spirited home defence.

Rob Parker-Meadows scores against Ingles. Photo: Martin Davies (52264445)
Rob Parker-Meadows scores against Ingles. Photo: Martin Davies (52264445)

The second half saw Ingles reduced to 10 men when Joshua Rock was red-carded but they took the lead two minutes later through Billy Clarke.

Clarke then added his second and Ingles' third before Luke Savage sealed the win with Stones seemingly having nothing left in the tank.

Stones: Pipes-Goulsbra, Parker-Meadows, Warrington, Abayomi (Taylor), Briggs, Gilbert (Edwards), Gargan, Buckle, McNally, Joyce, Wilde (Leonard). Subs not used: Kavanagh, Sewell.

Kane Gilbert. Photo: Martin Davies (52264441)
Kane Gilbert. Photo: Martin Davies (52264441)


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