Getting to watch a streamed game is back to being the best you can get for non-league football, not a chance of seeing live action for many more months if we’re honest. There is now also the real risk of the National League following the North and South divisions requesting a halt to the season over funding issues. But, for now it’s make the most of the opportunity against what are testing times for everyone across the country and the world.
Saturday was the first viewing of watch Barnet since Jan 2nd when they were comprehensively beaten by local rivals Boreham Wood at The Hive to deepen their relegation fears. Since then positive covid tests have confined Tim Flowers men to isolation and the training ground only, but with time for the new manager to work on patterns of play and formations.
As expected three new defenders signed during that barren period, Liam Daly, and Ben Richards-Everton permanently and Themis Kefalas on loan from Championship side QPR but as of yet still lacking the potent striker.
The visit of high flying Altrincham to North London would prove a stern test with the newcomers having won, lost and drawn six each of their games so far sitting in 6th spot at the start of play, Flowers Barnet needing wins rather than draws even with thirty games left to play this season.
Fielding a more attack minded side than has been seen this year Barnet had to throw a little caution to the wind, as stated just above the precarious nature of not only their league position but huge uncertainty as to whether there will be a conclusion to the season in the coming months which if settled by other means than on the pitch could result in relegation.
The Robins have impressed many so far since their promotion and have built a strong side, able to break at speed and that was evident throughout the full ninety minutes when any Barnet attack broke down.
The visitors looked the more likely to create the early openings, enjoying larger spells of possession than the hosts but it was Barnet who took the lead on 14 minutes, JJ Hooper back in the side after injury robbed a Robins defender of the ball and ran through unchallenged to slot the ball past Tony Thompson pretty much against the run of play.
Not that it did much to deter the visitors, their continued pattern of getting the ball down the flanks continued but without really causing the Bees too many problems. But they were back on level terms when Matty Kosylo who was a constant danger all afternoon managed to squeeze a shot through a crowd of players and beyond Scott Loach for the equaliser. Neither side created a clear cut chance after although there was an effort former Bee Byron Harrison could have converted for a Robins half time lead.
The same player missed a real guilt edged chance very early after the re-start which really should have put the visitors in front, Flowers responding with a change of formation as the game wore on to counter the constant pressure heading towards his team’s goal.
Despite this it took until stoppage time with a 2 versus 1 overload down the Bees right hand side, the ball finding its way onto the head of Robins defender Josh Hancock to flick the ball past Loach and the points were heading north.
Whilst this was a much better Bees performance defensively despite the loss the lack of presence in the final third is still alarming. Both Pavey and Hooper ran out of steam long before the end of the game, lack of match fitness for both is very evident and ninety minutes in the tank despite not much of a second half showing was needed for both players.
Good to see Michael Petrasso back from injury as well but without the front men gambling in the box some of the balls he played in today deserved better. Much depends on whether the chairman will gamble on more players given the nature of what is going on off the pitch with the National League which might put a halt on things for a lot of clubs and what we have now is what we have to utilise for the foreseeable future, big game at Dover on Tuesday night where nothing less than three points can be settled for.
Despite the fact this would have been a good point the gap to safety and then beyond is looking a tall order given it’s run of eleven league games without a win that stretches back to October, wins are at a premium and while defensively it was an improvement today it has to get much better in front of goal or should the season continue then relegation is very much looking a reality.
Roughly 40 more points are going to be required from the 29 games remaining the points are there to be played for, whether there is enough within the squad to get those points remains to be seen, null and void for the season would seem an ideal dream if you’re a Bees fan……….