Its hard not to find yourself moaning after such a poor performance, however it is still a good start with five wins and two draws out of seven games, oh don’t forget the five clean sheets.
Dickie Dosh made the changes and the team was set up to battle with Pead and Fox in midfield either side of combative Keates and returning skipper Michael Dobson. Upfront Butler was joined by Sam with Constable out of the 16.
Barnet started well and we totally lost control (if we ever had it) with Dobson looking like a player who has been out three weeks, the defensive make up of the team meant the forwards were stared of chances, and the defence had to withstand a lot of pressure although Barnet didn’t create too many clear cut chances. However poor defending cost us a goal in the 16th minute when Hendon long throw drew two defenders to Anthony Charles, which allowed Dean Sinclair to finish from 6 yards, that will be a bit of a video nasty in training monday. The rest of the first half followed the same dismal pattern.
Half time only one down, Barnet must have been disappointed, Roper had picked up a knock to his knee and was replaced by Carlos Fanguerio, with Westwood moving to centre half and Pead back to full back.
We started much brighter with the pace and width that was missing, although now kicking down the slope, the wind had got up and even the strong kicking of Ince was struggling to clear. Early pressure brought its reward when Keates fired in a 20 yarder although a deflection helped it past the keeper. The expected push for the winner never really materialised, with the game opening up to a much more even game. Ishmel Demontagnac came on for Kris Taylor with Fox moving back to left back. The Demon troubled the home defence and in response was given some rough treatment, which to his credit he responded well to. One run took him past four defenders before forcing a good save from Harrison, the loose ball was fired towards goal by another sub Mark Wright but a magnificent goal line clearence to prevent a certain winner. The game continued with chances for both teams but it ended all square, Barnet will probably feel there first half performance desired three points.
As for Walsall we are going to face some direct teams like Barnet, and the conditions can not be used as an excuse, we will have to play on some poor pitchs come winter so we must learn the lessons and move on. However it is still an unbeaten start and last season we would have lost this game.
The goal was a disappointment but not his fault. Flapped at one cross but otherwise caught well and got some important blocks.
One slip almost cost a goal, but in general defended well got some good blocks and covered well. Moved into the centre of defence for second half.
Left at half time with a knee injury, but coped well with the Barnet forwards but was under the cosh.
Some slips but the defence was under more presure than any other league game this year.
Struggled second half as Barnet’s Jason Puncheon was given a free role to attack. Taken off following a needless booking. It was a perfectly good tackle and not a foul let alone a booking.
Having performed well in central midfield, he failed to give the width we needed in the first half, defended well at full back, but was caught out on a couple of occassons.
Busy as always scored the goal to take his tally to three for the season, but was limited in his contribution
Skipper on his return, was not as effective as his games against Rochdale and Stockport. Looked a little ring rusty following his layoff, but put his foot in well.
A lot of what he does goes unnoticed but this was one of his poorer games.
Left to feed off scrapes for most of the game, his frustration led to a booking
Taken off in the second half, I was hoping for a response to Dickie’s sriker search, disappointed we didn’t get it, but service was poor. We are still awaiting a goal and the rise in performance level which we hoped for on regaining fitness
Added a wide threat when brought on and was one of the reasons for the bright second half start. Went missing when moved into the centre to link with Martin Butler.
Some good forward play, unlucky to see his shot cleared off the line and had a couple of good chances. Frustrated fans as always with poor service from good positions at times.
In a physical game you always worry how thhe youngster will react, today he reacted perfectly, perhaps Dickie will get the best out of him.
Some will question the negative team selection. It is a matter of opinion that starting with the wide players may have brought a positive result. However we did not and the subsitutions were early and brought an improvement.
Plays to his teams strenghts, on yesterdays performance I would not like to watch it every week. Barnet should end up mid table so improving on the relegation struggle predicted by many, but the problem is we looked no better.
Lessons to be learnt.
How we need to battle (although this is almost there)
We need that extra striker.
The left sided Fox Taylor combination didn’t look right today.
I question Keats Dobson midfield combination.