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INTERVIEW: I managed to backheel it in

Ben Barclay on his first goal for the club and on an important three points

25 April 2023


INTERVIEW: I managed to backheel it in

Ben Barclay on his first goal for the club and on an important three points

25 April 2023

Defender Ben Barclay has been at the top of his game since his return to the fold in the middle of March and back-to-back man of the match performances were capped off on Saturday with his first goal for the club – a backheel in the 16th minute at Holker Street that proved to be the decisive moment of the game.

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We caught up with him after full-time to talk about the importance of the victory and about the strange manner in which the ball was eventually sent over the line.

Speaking first about the win, he said: “It’s massive. I think we knew we had to win all three games to have any chance of going up automatically, and hope that results go our way.

“We did it in this game and now we’ve just got to do it two more times. I think we knew first and foremost that we had to run and win our battles, and do all of the dirty stuff.

“From there you hope the rest of it takes care of itself. I think we could have been cleaner in possession, we were a bit erratic at times, but it was a bit of a derby game and it’s about getting the win. We got that.

“Sometimes you have to show that battling side and without question we have that in this group. We’ve done it all year and that’s part of the reason why we are where we are, because we can do that side of it.

“On the other side of it we have games where the quality is even better and we roll teams over. The gaffer always tells us to do everything it takes to win and we wanted to keep a clean sheet again.

“I thought we defended really well and even the subs who came on put in a shift. We won from a bit of a scrappy set piece, so we’ll take that.”

The goal was very much the reward for being in the right place at the right time as he made a flick from Kris Dennis his own at the back stick.

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“I saw the ball come in and I thought at first there was no way it was getting through to me,” he told us. “Then Denno just belly flopped to the floor, flicked it somehow, and it looped towards the back post.

“Luckily it came to me and I sort of hip thrusted it in, and I’m pretty sure it went over the line, but anyway it came back out and I managed to backheel it in to make sure it was a goal. It was good.”

“Funnily enough I was telling the lads that I was with my mum and dad yesterday [Friday] and my dad said that I normally manage to get one goal a season, and he told me that it was going to come,” he added. “He was right, it came today.

“For the celebration, do you know what, Corey ran up to me and I was like, do I run to the fans or should I just run with you?

“I think we were all just a bit relieved because we didn’t have the best of starts so we just wanted to take the sting out of it, get everybody together and breathe a bit. That’s why we came together to celebrate, which was good, and we got a bit of calmness in there.”

Looking at the season overall, he admitted that it had been a struggle on a personal level with troublesome injuries hampering so much of his campaign.

“It has been a tough year, to be fair, probably the hardest I’ve been through, even with seasons where I’ve not been playing,” he commented. “The injuries I’ve had mean I’ve not been out on the grass, then there’s been setbacks, coming back, then more setbacks, so it hasn’t been good.

“Since I’ve come back this time it’s been enjoyable, we haven’t won as many games as we would have liked, we’ve drawn quite a few, but I feel like I’ve done ok. The first couple of games were about getting my fitness back and I feel like I’m there now.”

On the defensive side of things it was yet another clean sheet, with 20 league shut-outs for the season chalked up.

“I think it’s an amazing achievement,” he agreed. “Most seasons if you get 20 clean sheets you’d be unlucky not to go up, so let’s hope we get the bit of luck we’re due over the next two games, we win them, and hope the rest of the results go our way.

“With what we did against Barrow, as has said, that’s one win out of the three that we’ve targeted, let’s forget what goes on in the rest of the country, do our bit and the rest of it will hopefully take care of itself. If not we go again for three more big ones after that.

“Next weekend is the next one and it’s huge. It’s our last home game, hopefully we’ll get a good crowd again and a performance to go with it.

“This one is forgotten about now, we come back in again next week looking for more of the same in terms of effort and performance and look to win it. That’s all we need to do, win.”

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