National League football for the first time since March, that pretty complete performance away to Woking the last time Barnet took to the pitch. Points per game ensured the Bees took their place in the play-offs at the expense of Stockport County.
The route to the final is away from The Hive, for all three games and the first hurdle to negotiate was a trip to the West Country and Yeovil Town, ironically the final game Barnet should have faced before lockdown.
With the opportunity of watching the game shown on screens in Legends Bar at the ground, it had to be done. Ninety minutes surrounded by fellow Bees fans seemed liked a good idea, a tenner including curry and a drink.
Being that we effectively snuck into the end of season party, I can’t say there was any nervous feeling for me, more just happy there was a small sense of normality returning and the chance to watch the team in action again.
As I stated in Friday’s preview it was going to be interesting to see how Darren Currie’s team coped with the loss of Dan Sweeney, Callum Reynolds and Cheye Alexander from their back line and whether Harry Taylor/Charlee Adams would line up at centre half or central midfield, either or for both.
As it was Taylor slotted in alongside Ricardo Santos and Elliott Johnson in a back three with long serving Mauro Vilhete taking Alexander’s wing back spot, a squad though that were missing Simeon Akinola, Wes Fonguck and Shaq Coulthirst with varying muscle strains.
The first half, very sketchy, a lack of penetrating runs and chances created although Town certainly had the better of the efforts with ex-Bees target Rhys Murphy finding his way often blocked by the impressive Taylor.
The hosts began the second half as they did the first, on the front foot forcing early corners, an effort from which hit the crossbar, whilst blocked tackles were coming in from all angles to halt Yeovil’s progression.
It was however soon after this the Bees took the lead, Ephron Mason-Clark setting Paul McCallum away on the edge of the box, turned back inside and sent Town keeper Stuart Nelson the wrong way.
Despite taking the lead it was Yeovil still creating the better chances after going behind, once again though the Bees were equal to everything, blocking from David Tutonda, Taylor heading out from under his own bar and Johnson playing a neat one-two off the post.
The hosts thought they were going to equalise just six minutes from time when Taylor once again got in the way of a shot that was destined for the bottom corner. Vilhete however sent The Hive into raptures wrapping up the win just two minutes later after the ball bobbled off players and a post to set up a trip to face Notts County next Saturday evening.
Despite this being a cold start for all the teams involved, Currie had expected his side to hold onto the ball better and create more chances, there is room for improvement and progress with another week’s training and some to analyse what was good and what can be done better.
Some great performances stand out from Santos and Taylor, the latter just shading MOTM for me and some crucial saves from Scott Loach to keep the score-line blank for the hosts.
With Akinola expected to be fit to return next week the boss will also have a selection dilemma as to whether he retains the same eleven or restores his top scorer to the starting line-up, whatever happens though I’m off to The Hive!