More penalty agony for nine-man Paulsgrove as hot-shot Barker gives Bush Hill a Hampshire Premier League victory
PAULSGROVE suffered more penalty agony as the Hampshire League's deadliest striker gave reigning champions Bush Hill victory at Marsden Road.
Adam Fisher saw his weak second half spot-kick saved by Niall Devereaux, while at the other end Mark Barker struck twice in the Southampton-based side's 3-1 success before receiving one of three red cards handed out following an 80th minute flare-up.
It was not the first time the hosts had missed from 12 yards this term - Paulsgrove saw a last-minute spot-kick saved in a 3-3 league draw with Fleetlands, while Jimmy Hird missed from the spot in a recent Hampshire Trophy exit against the same opponents. They have also missed a fourth penalty in another league game.
Fisher had converted a spot-kick the previous week as Paulsgrove netted twice late on to grab a stunning 5-5 draw against Liphook.
Sadly for him, the defender's miss was to prove very costly as Bush Hill, leading 2-1 at the time, promptly went straight up the other end and Barker struck his second goal to complete the scoring for the reigning champions.
In all honesty, though, Paulsgrove should not have lost this game.
Even putting the penalty miss to one side, Wayne Grant's men created the better chances and with better finishing would have triumphed.
Paulsgrove paid the penalty for a slow start when Barker - whose 62 goals in just 32 games last season helped Bush clinch a HPL and Hampshire Intermediate Cup double - was allowed time and space to slide a left-footed shot under keeper Luke Shields.
John Cripps should have levelled, instead of dragging a shot wide, before Ben Rankin arrived at the near post to double the visitors' lead on 28 minutes from Perry Hardings's right wing cross.
Two minutes later Paulsgrove wasted another great chance, Jimmy Hird side-footing wide from six yards with only Devereaux to beat.
Aaron Fennemore headed a corner wide and also warmed Devereaux's hands with a fierce shot as the hosts remained a threat going forward.
Two goals down at the break, Paulsgrove needed a strong start to the second half.
They certainly got it as, within three minutes, Moulay Ousman was left a simple tap-in after tackling Devereaux who took too long trying to clear a back pass.
The keeper instantly atoned for his mistake, though, by blocking Hird's close range effort and backpedalling to fingertip over Cripps' curling 20-yard shot.
Though Barker lifted a shot over Shields and onto the bar, Paulsgrove were now on top and were handed the perfect chance to level following a handball.
Devereaux, though, dived to his right to keep out Fisher's penalty - and two minutes later Barker, a player obviously too good for the level he is playing at, scampered through to fire his ninth goal in eight appearances this season.
Devereaux was still the busier of the two keepers, and had to rush out to block another Hird effort before the game's sole flashpoint arrived 10 minutes from time.
A melee erupted involving several players after Bush were awarded a free kick on the edge of the Paulsgrove penalty area, and Barker was the first to be dismissed quickly followed by home defender Rob White.
Keeper Shields, who had rushed out to needlessly shove a Bush player, was the third player red carded with Fennemore taking over in goal.
The nine-man hosts continued to attack and sub Joe Dorsett was unlucky late on when his cheeky chip sailed over Devereaux only to hit the bar.