MATCH REPORT: BARNET vs AFC WIMBLEDON
FULL TIME SCORE: 1-1
Summary: Bees fans will be looking back at this game shaking their heads, knowing that they should have secured the three points. Barnet started off very brightly and, on the first minute, a Ricky Holmes shot was brilliantly saved by Wombles’ keeper Neil Sullivan. Nonetheless, heads did not drop after this great chance went begging, and the Bees continued to be the brighter side. In the second half, Barnet were first to break the deadlock when Hyde, who has been on good form recently, latched onto a Mark Byrne corner and headed the ball into the bottom right hand corner. This is Barnet, however, and an equaliser was inevitable and, in the 84th minute, somewhat fortunately, a deflected Stacey Long shot deflected off Jack Midson and trickled into Stack’s goal much to the home crowd’s annoyance. It was definitely not a game that could be classed as a thriller but there were a fair amount of chances to get excited about. Overall, Bees fans will be thinking that two points were dropped rather than one point gained.
There was a tense atmosphere at Underhill stadium, with both sets of fans understanding the importance of the game that was about to take place. The first piece of notable news came when the team sheets were read out by the man at the tannoy; George Barker, a loanee from Brighton, was making his debut up front, while Clovis Kamdjo, arguably one of the most solid performers throughout the season, had been dropped in order to make space for the promising Olly Lee to enter the side. Personally, I disagreed with the starting line up: Mark Byrne, who has been out of form lately, was still in the starting eleven, despite missing a significant penalty against Cheltenham two weeks ago and generally not contributing very much whenever he’s played. In addition, Elliot Johnson was making his second start for the club.
` The Bees started very brightly and within a minute of kick off, after a good piece of play down the right, Holmes fired a shot into the top corner, only for Neil Sullivan to miraculously claw the ball away for a corner. Even so, the Bees kept pressing and it never looked like Wimbledon posed any sort of threat. Conversely, Barnet were keeping their shape well and playing some good football. They kept posing threats to the Wombles’ defence and Elliot Johnson was having a great time at left back, often bombing forwards and creating potential chances. Later on in the half, after a mistake from the Wimbledon centre half, George Barker picked up the ball and managed to slip it to Mark Byrne who scuffed it, from just inside the penalty area, right into the thankful hands of Neil Sullivan.
The second half did not start as brightly as the first as far as Barnet fans are concerned and Wimbledon had an early chance which was, fortunately, was struck woefully wide from a good position. On the 64th minute, the crowd erupted when Hyde scored off a Byrne corner. It was almost identical to the first goal that Hyde scored against Oxford and, suddenly, beams of optimism seemed to spark out of the fans as they began singing their routine song such as ‘Black and Amber Army’, as well as ‘Super Barnet’.
Not soon after this goal, Davids, who had performed uncharacteristically through the course of the game, was substituted for Andy Yiadom. After this, Barnet seemed to lose their shape and were in desperate need of a leader who could guide them on the pitch; they lost a lot of their flair which they had previously exhibited and eventually resorted to hoofing the ball aimlessly. Due to this obvious drop in form from the Bees, Wimbledon almost equalised when Luke Moore was gifted a one on one only to hit the side netting.
Twenty minutes after Barnet had originally broken the deadlock, Wimbledon equalised from a tussle in the penalty area which resulted in the ball going to Stacey Long who’s hopeful shot deflected horribly off Jack Midson - who had a loan spell at Barnet in 2011 - and, after wrong footing Stack, trickled into the goal.
There was little drama to follow this goal apart from the fact that Olly Lee was replaced by Kamdjo but it was too late and ‘Clovinho’ as he is known by Bee’s supporters was not given enough time to have an impact. Overall, it was quite a disappointing result in what was a must win game and many supporters from both sides came home groaning about the inadequacies of their team’s performance.
Graham Stack: 6 - Apart from their goal had virtually nothing to do; not too much to judge him on.
Barry Fuller: 6.5 - A reliable member of the team but all too often seemed isolated whenever he received the ball and had to punt it down the line.
Elliot Johnson (MOTM): 8.5 - A very assured performance for someone so young and inexperienced. Went up and down the pitch tirelessly and was involved in most of the Bee’s attacks.
David Stephens: 6.5 - Didn’t play badly but sometimes cleared it straight to a Wimbledon player and made a few mistakes.
Krystian Pearce: 7 - A solid performance to mark his last game on loan at Barnet.
Olly Lee: 7 - Distributed the ball well.
Mark Byrne: 5 - Apart from set pieces he did not seem to have too much on his side. When he received the ball he tended to lose it.
Edgar Davids: 6 - Leadership wise he was as good as ever but his feet seemed to be all over the place and he kept misplacing passes.
Ricky Holmes: 7.5 - Was never given much space to run with since he was marked so heavily. Main attacking threat aside from Hyde.
Jake Hyde: 8 - Scored and good at playing the ball on while the Bees were on the attack.
George Barker: 7 - Promising debut. Weaved through the Wombles’ defence effectively although he was sometimes anonymous.
Andy Yiadom: 5 - Didn’t do much when he came on.
Clovis Kamdjo: N/A - Taken on too late.
Melwin Holwijn: N/A - No impact when he came on.