Barratt happy to silence large crowd with penalty as fortune favours Magpies

The winger will be looking to finish the season with victory over Notts County.

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Sam Barratt's coolly dispatched penalty midway through the first half put the Magpies well on their way to all three points at Grimsby Town on Saturday but, the way things transpired to help the visitors, he admitted this week it felt like a 'smash and grab' victory.

Few could argue the Magpies weren't worthy of all three points, they outscored the Mariners 3-1 in their own back yard - something not many sides can claim to have done this season. However, Luke Waterfall's inadvertent own goal in the 25th minute and sending off minutes later – conceding the penalty from which Barratt made it 2-0 – certainly gave the Magpies a big helping hand. Having won the spot-kick Emile Acquah was keen to take it, but Barratt took responsibility and he was delighted to see it hit the back of the net for his second goal in three games.

There were few inside Blundell Park who doubted he would score given his consistency from the spot. Last season he scored four of his five penalties for the side. After spending much of the campaign on the sidelines through injury, he's delighted to be back among the goals and contributing to United's seven-match unbeaten run – a joint best for the club in the National League.

He said: “I think we went up there with a bit of confidence on the back of our recent results. It’s funny, I don’t think we played too well but once the own goal went in, and their man (Luke Waterfall) was sent off, the game swung in our favour.

“Emile did really well to win the penalty. He chased the ball down, got his body in the way, and was dragged to the ground. To be fair, he did ask me if he could take it, but when I’m on the pitch I’m the usual penalty taker.

“I think I scored four out of five last season and I don’t think I’ve had one this year before Saturday, but I was feeling confident and I think that’s always a good sign. I just wanted to tuck one away to hush the fans a little bit.

“There’s no real rivalry between us and Grimsby but they always have a good crowd and a lively atmosphere. The supporters were very noisy in that end behind the goal. When the whistle was blown, it was very loud so my heart was pumping a little bit, but I was able to slot away the ball nicely.

“They had their fair share of chances after that but we were resolute at the back and throwing our bodies in front of a lot of shots. It was a bit of a smash-and-grab win really.

“Our third goal was nicely worked and it killed off the game. I’m always happy to come away from a place like that with three points.”

Despite his absence from the side this season, Barratt is likely to finish as the club's second highest scorer this season behind Josh Kelly (on 17). Currently on seven heading into Sunday's finale against Notts County at York Road, he admits he'd have liked to have run Kelly a little closer for the golden boot.

“I don’t think I’ve been at my usual standard but that comes with playing regularly which, of course, I haven’t done this year,” he said.

“At the start of the season, I actually set myself more of an appearances target. My aim was to play 35 league games but little, niggling injuries have just snowballed for me. It’s been very frustrating – I know that if I had been fit throughout, I would’ve got a much greater number of goals and assists. Last season I scored 15 in 28 games.

“But, I think the goals I have scored this season have been important and helped the team pick up some good points. I’ll just have to double my tally, if not more, next season.”

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