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Friday, 21 November 2014

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It's a Knockout - Trophy holders Barrow crash out

BARROW AFC’s defence of the FA Trophy crown they won at Wembley in May came to a crushing halt at the first hurdle.

The Bluebirds were beaten 3-2 at home by lower-league Guiseley to end their cup run in humiliating fashion as they fell 3-0 behind inside 20 minutes.

Two-goal forward Gregg Blundell – who also missed a late penalty which could have earned the Bluebirds a replay – branded the display as inexcusable and said the holders had been knocked out the competition too easily.

“It’s inexcusable the way we performed for the first half,” said Blundell, who netted twice after the break either side of strike partner Nick Chadwick’s sending off for the use of an elbow on Danny Boshell. “We gave ourselves such a mountain to climb.

“We came out in the second half and got ourselves back in the game.

“Then we had a sending off, which I didn’t see, but you’re giving yourselves an even bigger mountain to climb there, especially when you have just got yourselves back in the game.

“It’s very disappointing to go out to a team in the league below.

“Coming off the back of the couple of good games we have had prior to this, it’s very disappointing, from a personal point-of-view, to miss the penalty late on in the game as well.

“I could have earned us a little reprieve to maybe think about the performance we had – it is disappointing all round.

“But, regardless of the fightback, if we look at today’s performance, we just weren’t good enough as a team. There is always a big emphasis going into the next season’s cup. You become a big scalp in the competition because everyone wants to knock the holders out, but certainly from a personal point-of-view, I think we went out a little bit easily, a little bit cheap today.”

Barrow fell behind after just five minutes when James Walshaw curled an effort past the returning Alan Martin in the AFC goal.

Walshaw doubled his tally after miscommunication between Martin and Simon Spender gave him an easy tap-in, with Boshell adding the third on 19 minutes.

The hosts came back into the game after the break with Blundell’s first, but lost Chadwick two minutes later to the first of three red cards on the afternoon.

Guiseley’s Ryan Toulson and Boshell also went for an early bath, while Walshaw missed a penalty for his hat-trick, much like Blundell.

The Barrow forward had hoped he could earn a replay from the spot with his 82nd-minute effort, but former Bluebirds trialist Steven Drench saved.

“At half-time, Dave (Bayliss, AFC joint-boss) has just said what he deserves to say to us with us performing the way we were,” added Blundell.

“He basically told us to get out there and improve the performance.

“In all fairness, I think we did. It’s probably a difficult time to talk about it at the minute because I could have salvaged the game for the lads, so I am bitterly disappointed.

“It would have given us the chance to go on Tuesday and put wrongs right, but unfortunately that’s the game of football.

“I just had a slight change of mind with the penalty on my run-up and generally when you do that, you tend to get the result which I got, which was a miss.

“Unfortunately, that’s the game and their lad is going to be feeling the same. If he puts their penalty away at 3-1, the game is done and dusted.”

Blundell and his team-mates must now regroup for a return to Conference action at home to Tamworth on Saturday.

The former Chester man added: “We are a better side than we showed. Certainly with the previous few performances, you would have expected more of a fight from us today.

“The key is now to dust ourselves down and get back to the way we were playing before this game.”

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