Having now changed jobs, well given up working full time and now doing some part-time stuff while I wait for this writing to get off the ground, it means Tuesday nights under the lights is now a possibility for the first time this season.
This was only my 2nd visit to The Hive this season (3rd if you count the trip to meet up with Darren Currie back in July) but I think I picked the right time to make the 5 hour round trip again.
There’s no getting away from the fact the early season optimism I garnered from that July meeting and the subsequent good results that followed are now darkly confined to the archives and much forgotten about. One defeat in the first ten games has been followed by just two wins in twelve games since, the kind of run that has managers looking over their shoulders and chairman with itchy trigger fingers waiting to pounce. There are many who believe Currie has run out of time and when you see other managers and coaches getting relieved of their duties for similar results sequences you can’t disagree with them.
On the other side of it his squad is hamstrung by players who either aren’t the ones he wants at Barnet or are not good enough, either way it’s not helped the situation. The most bizarre thing about it all is despite the poor run of results Barnet before Tuesday night’s games were only two wins away from a play-off place which goes to show how open the division is this year, ‘missed opportunity’ is the phrase I’m reading most on Twitter currently, the thinking of a lot of teams because no one club is running away with the title this time around.
Having already lost at Ebbsfleet only a few weeks back, the Bees desperately needed a result not just for themselves but to relieve some of the pressure on Currie’s shoulders. Back to back 2-1 defeats hadn’t helped the cause, but a change in personnel and captain, Currie rolled the dice.
James Dunne was installed as the armband wearer and put in a performance that looked like a captain. People have their opinion of Callum Reynolds, my own is he’s not a bad player, but I like my captain to not take any prisoners and be at the forefront of everything, Dunne certainly looked the part last night.
Returning Simeon Akinola and Wes Fonguck to the starting line up made all the difference, Fonguck alongside Dunne and Jack Taylor didn’t give the Fleet midfield any breathing space all night whilst Akinola alongside Josh Walker gave the visitors back four more to think about than probably Barrow had over the course of the weekend game.
The state of the pitch doesn’t help with the way Currie wants the team to play, they passed the ball as requested but mixed it up with balls turning the defenders for Akinola and Walker to spin in behind.
What I wasn’t expecting was five Barnet goals, what I really wasn’t expecting was the way they were scored. Someone will have to do something special to beat Jack Taylor’s wonder strike from fully 25 yards out, hit with venom and arrowing over the keepers head and under the bar to give the Bees the lead.
Ebbsfleet’s equaliser was well worked into the net ten minutes later, but they stayed on level terms for just six minutes as Akinola curled a lovely shot past the outstretched hand of the keeper to give the Bees a deserved 2-1 lead at the break.
The visitors certainly started the brighter of the two sides after the interval, Barnet pinned back into their half for a good 15 minutes or so and to no surprise Fleet drew level. One minute later and Barnet back in front, Akinola springing the offside trap, although being in line with the Bees striker it was very marginal, keeping his head and calmly slotting past the on-rushing keeper.
From that point every time Barnet went forward they looked likely to score as the visitors looked to have been crushed having conceded so quickly after drawing level. Then came what can be described as just a fantastic piece of dribbling and skill from Walker dancing his way through several challenges down the line, into the box, keeping his cool and poking the ball into the net.
The boys in amber still weren’t done and a penalty awarded for handball was converted confidently by Akinola for his first senior hat-trick and put the icing on the cake of a polished performance. Granted, there are still some things to be ironed out, but if it is to be believed that the budget is full with no wiggle room, Currie is working with what he has, only time can tell if he can pull a miracle or two out of the bag and close that gap to the play-offs.
It’s a shame there were less than 1000 through the gate to witness a strong performance, I can understand why people wanted to stay away, maybe I make the most of it because I can’t attend as often as I would like and will take any game I can get to, but we don’t have a divine right to win every or any game, nor the division maybe there should be a radical look at ticket prices, but that’s for another blog or discussion elsewhere. Now there is a few days off before the action resumes at The Hive in front of the BT Sport cameras, a chance to show the non-league nation Tuesday night was no fluke and we can get back in this race, I’d still rather be here than a Chesterfield or Wrexham fan…………