MATCH REPORT: BARNET FC vs ALDERSHOT TOWN FC
FULL TIME SCORE: 0 - 1
Summary: Barnet will be thinking that they were the better team in this ‘six point’ encounter between two teams lying uncomfortably close to the dreaded relegation zone. The first half was quite a tepid affair with both teams receiving a few chances but there was nothing too notable; the game suddenly became more exciting, however, when, only a few minutes into the second half, Bee’s center back David Stephens was judged to have handled the ball in the area. Shots’ striker Craig Reid duly dispatched the resulting penalty putting Aldershot one up. Then, almost immediately after this goal, Barnet striker Jon Nurse lunged into Dani Lopez and, consequently, obtained a straight red card. The Bees seemed to play much better after this sending off with Jake Hyde controversially having a goal disallowed while, on the other side of the pitched, Aldershot came close to doubling their lead with Danny Hylton striking the inside of the post from a one-on-one situation. Just as the game was drawing to a close, David Stephens lept up highest from a Mark Byrne corner and headed the ball onto the post. Overall, a very frustrating result from a game that was primarily dominated by the Bees.
The Bees have had quite a sucessful Christmas patch and with recent wins against play-off chasing Burton and league topping Gillingham, as well a solid draw against Exeter, it would seem, logically, that it would be easy for Barnet to beat Aldershot who were one place below them in the League Table. Football can be very unpredictable, however...
As far as the team line ups were concerned, Davids named a team which contained quite a few changes from the starting eleven against Exeter: Nurse and Weston who’d both come on against Exeter in the second half and made an impact were now starting whilst Elliot Johnson, who, although recently seeming to be coming into his stridet, was replaced by Jordan Brown. Kamdjo still found himself on bench, presumably due to a niggle. Furthermore, there was a familiar name of Michael Hector in the Shots’ lineup who had played for the Bees during a loan spell from Reading. Due to a suspected dislocated shoulder sustained against Exeter, Davids found himself on the touchline and could focus fully on managing the team.
Straight from the kick off Aldershot had an early chance when one of their players found himself in a one-on-one position only to try and square it to his team mate who was promptly tackled by David Stephens. At around the midway point of the half, Ricky Holmes, who had been looking very lively for the opening fifteen minutes, jinxed his way through numerous white shirts and struck a low, powerful shot that was well saved by Jamie Young. Following on from this, Barnet created another good chance when, after some good link up play between Oster, Yiadom and Weston, the ball fell to Nurse whose shot was saved, once again, by Young and Fuller’s shot off the rebound went well wide. At the end of what was an uneventful half, Stack was forced into a superb double save during added time.
The second half did not begin as hoped; in fact it was a disaster. First of all, the Shots were awarded a penalty aftter Stephens was judged to have handled the ball when an Aldershot player fired it at him from point blank range even though it was clearly unintentional. To add to the Bee’s worries, a few minutes later, Nurse made an unnecessarily rash challenge and, correctly got given a red card. Instantly after this sending off, Stack had to make a crucial save to make sure that Barnet had at least a chance in the game. Once the game’s tempo had abated, however, the Bees showed great resilience and, although they were down to ten men, they began to play the best that they had played all game. Holmes was constantly terrorising the Aldershot defence and the whole team generally working well as a unit. Yiadom, on the turn, had his shot saved and Hyde came close. The main drama came when Yiadom neatly played the ball into the path of Holmes, who drilled a low cross which Hyde calmly slotted into the net. It seemed that Barnet had equalised but, just as Hyde was about to start celebrating, the linesman put up his flag for offside. The irate Bees players encircled the linesman, not making any effort to conceal their anger; even the referee had a word with the linesman but, despite all the protests, the goal stood. Many fans were confused by the decision considering that Holmes had cut the ball back when crossing and the linesman had put his flag up so late.
Just as the game was drawing to an end, there late drama when, in what was the last kick of the game, Stephens connected well to a Byrne cross but, very unluckily, could only hit the post; from the rebound Stack, who had come up for the corner almost snatched a draw but it seemed that it was not to be Barnet’s day and they had to admit to defeat in the end.
Overall, in spite of the disappointing result, there were spells where Barnet dominated their opponent and looked like a solid mid table outfit but, as a result of some very debatable officiating, they could not get the result that they deserved.
Graham Stack - 8.5: As good as usual. Almost saved the penalty and made numerous good saves.
Jordan Brown - 6: Generally quite poor. Johnson seems to be better than him.
Andy Iro - 7: Not a bad performance but can be shaky under pressure.
David Stephens - 8: Solid. Almost scored at the end.
Barry Fuller - 6.5: By his own admittance on Twitter, it was not one of his best games. Not disastrous but misplaced a few passes and scuffed a sitter.
Andy Yiadom - 7: Out of position. Had some good moments but average most of the time.
John Oster - 7: A good performance but seemed to be making more mistakes than usual.
Curtis Weston - 6: Seems more suited to being a impact sub. Did not make an impression.
Ricky Holmes - 9 (MOTM): Did not stop running. Was not scared to take on the Aldershot defenders and constantly posed a threat. Inevitable that he will leave to a better team soon.
Jon Nurse - 3: Stupid challenge to get sent off and was awful while on the pitch.
Jake Hyde - 6: Wasn’t his best performance.
Mark Byrne - 7: Almost scored with looping shot. Some good set pieces when he came on.
Taiwo Atieno - 7.5: Won everything in the air. Should maybe start alongside Hyde.