MATCH REPORT: BARNET FC vs. TORQUAY UNITED
FULL TIME SCORE: 1-0
SUMMARY: Barnet registered another win, albeit a very scrappy one, after grabbing a late winner through Clovis Kamdjo. The Gulls dominated the majority of the game and it was some sort of miracle that Barnet’s defence managed to keep tight for 78 minutes considering the amount of attacks that Torquay managed to squander. Then, on the 79th minute, completely against the run of play, Kamdjo, although a notoriously bad finisher, received the ball at a tight angle and masterfully stroked the ball in.
Despite the poor result on the weekend against Oxford United, expectations were high on a chilly Tuesday night as Barnet took on promotion chasing Torquay United. There was no doubt that this was going to be a tough game, but since the arrival of Edgar Davids it seems that almost anything is possible.
As the team sheets were read out, a sense of relief was shared by the home supporters as it became apparent that the Bees were playing a full strength team unlike the one that had faced Oxford three days earlier. Surprisingly, however, the game also saw the debut of young right back Elliot Johnson, replacing Jordan Brown who is out due to injury. Meanwhile, John Oster and Ricky Holmes, two very influential players, were still unable to play through injury.
The game kicked off in a way that League Two fans will be accustomed to seeing, with long balls being sprayed thoughtlessly with both sets of team’s central defenders comfortably heading the ball to safety. Nonetheless, Barnet managed to produce a bit of early pressure and on the third minute, Davids was fouled just outside the box; Byrne, who is somewhat a set piece specialist, stepped up to take it, only to skew it abysmally wide. Despite the dismal execution of this chance, it gave Barnet supporters a bit of hope and a place to start from.
After this bout of early pressure from the Bees, the momentum quickly swung towards the team in yellow shirts and, specifically through the wings, they applied a great deal of pressure towards the Bee’s defence. Somehow, though, through some excellent defending as well as a lot of wayward finishing from the opposition, the score remained goalless with another clean sheet for Stack still on the cards. Moreover, just as the half was drawing to a close, Hyde was a whisker away from Barnet, admittedly unjustly, taking the lead as Anthony Edgar’s cross flashed past the goal.
Torquay were not slow to get off the mark in the second half and continued dominating all over the field. In addition, it was very obvious that many Barnet players were fatigued after tirelessly defending for large parts of the first half which only helped make the situation seem even gloomier. If it had not been for some top class ‘keeping from Graham Stack then it is quite plausible that Barnet could have gone two, or even three goals down.
This was all to change in favour of the Black and Amber army, however, after Edgar, who had performed selflessly throughout the first half but was obviously growing increasingly tired, was subbed off for bright talent Olly Lee. Lee did not hesitate in showing off his skills and, only around three minutes after coming on, performed a brilliant roulette which bamboozled the stunned Torquay defenders. After this, a sudden burst of energy sprung into the Bees and the supporters became a lot more vocal, encouraged by what they had just seen.
Soon after this, the ball arrived at the feet of Kamdjo who managed to squeeze the ball above the despairing hands of Torquay keeper Poke and into the back of the net. The stadium suddenly erupted in euphoric cheers and chants of ‘Black and Amber Army’ filled the atmosphere. Nevertheless, despite these celebrations, there was still eleven minutes plus injury time to play and the crowd turned silent, tense in knowledge of Barnet’s laughable defensive statistics.
Barnet managed to pull it off eventually, anyhow, even if their performance optimised the term ‘Smash and Grab’. Furthermore, the win pushed them off the bottom of the table with only goal difference separating them from getting out of the relegation zone. Overall, it was by no means their best performance of the season, but they did what they had to do and they gained a very good three points.
GRAHAM STACK: 8 - A very good performance; made numerous smart saves and therefore secured his fourth consecutive clean sheet in a row.
BARRY FULLER: 7 - Not a spectacular performance but played well.
CLOVIS KAMDJO: 8.5 - An exceptional performance, enhanced by the fact that he scored.
ELLIOT JOHNSON: 7 - A good debut and looked very good in the first half. Seemed to be a bit out of place in the second half, however.
DANNY STEPHENS: 7.5 - A characteristically solid performance.
KRYSTIAN PEARCE: 7.5 - Same as Stephens.
MARK BYRNE: 6 - Often anonymous but some contributions while the Bees were on the break.
ANDY YIADOM: 8 - Another promising performance. Often tested the opposition’s defenders and provided numerous good balls into the box.
ANTHONY EDGAR: 7 - Had a good first half but was obviously very tired in the second half and was consequently subbed off for Olly Lee.
EDGAR DAVIDS: 7.5 - By no means a spectacular performance, but he has great authority amongst the younger players and brings something extra to Barnet’s game through his leadership.
JAKE HYDE: 5 - It seems he is not suited to the lone striker position. Often struggled when on the ball and created little.
Olly Lee: 7 - Had an immediate impact when he came on. Would be interesting to see him play the whole ninety minutes.