Whilst the National League remains in a mess and embers of the vote smoulder away there are still games of football to play. Whether they actually mean something to everyone at Step One any more remains to be seen over the next few days and weeks, rumours abound and aplenty.
After Tuesday’s first win over Halifax in what seemed like an eternity, Woking were the visitors to The Hive as Barnet were looking to secure back to back wins for the first time this season, only two previous attempts had been possible.
When I think of Woking, you get good and bad memories. Last season it was the corresponding fixture that saw my first visit of the season and a 2-2 draw coming back from 2-0 down with a stoppage time goal from Ephron Mason-Clark, brought on by continued time wasting from former Bees stopper Craig Ross, more on that later.
The reverse fixture was the final time I saw Barnet in action last season, a quite superb scintillating performance from start to finish which extended the Bees run to one defeat in 17 matches.
That fixture this season was an absolute horror show losing 4-1 at the Kingfield Stadium while Peter Beadle’s post-match interview was the first I saw that felt he had no clue what to do from that game forward, we knew that before then though!
I easily felt we owed Woking a performance for as bad as we were on that day and with the Cards on the back of a poor recent run, it was time to back up the midweek win with another.
But it’s Barnet, never runs that smoothly does it! Losing centre half Ben Richards-Everton in the warm up didn’t bode well for the rest of the afternoon, an understanding developing well between the former Bradford defender and Liam Daly. Not to say Themis Kefalis had a bad game once the nerves had settled down a little, but his presence was going to be a miss.
There wasn’t a lot between the two sides in the opening 20 minutes, Woking cautious not to concede first with some fragile confidence of a bad run, Barnet keen to not to do likewise in a similar vein of mind. Neither keeper was tested either, Scott Loach was beaten however just over that mark only for Daly to head off the line to keep the scoreline level.
Loach was beaten again just a minute later and this one counted, Jamar Loza cutting in too easily from the Woking left and guided the ball past the Bees keeper into the bottom right hand corner, Loza loving The Hive this season having scored twice for Kings Lynn earlier in the campaign.
It then went from bad to worse for Barnet losing their second defender of the afternoon, Jerome Binnom-Williams succumbing to injury and a return to action for the previously out of favour Alexander McQueen.
Woking went in at the break a goal to the good, with Barnet lacking any urgency especially in the final third where the ball wasn’t sticking nor was Michael Petrasso unable to have any influence on the game, although they almost handed the Bees a chance to equalise just before half time but Xander McBurnie couldn’t exert enough pressure onto Ross to force a mistake.
The second half had no real impact from the home side, Woking controlling possession and only a fine reaction save on the hour mark from Loach denied the visitors a second goal. The tempo did pick up slightly with the arrival from the bench of Mason-Clark, but a cheap free kick given away by skipper James Dunne led to a goal which wrapped the game up for Woking.
Charlie Cooper’s free kick went through everyone in the penalty area and struck the post, rebounding nicely into the path of Moussa Diarra who stabbed the ball past Loach.
Antony Wordsworth had a couple of efforts straight down the throat of Ross, who picked up a booking for time-wasting in the final ten minutes of the game (didn’t see that one coming), but beyond that nothing happened for the Bees.
The performance was definitely very flat, very leggy, there wasn’t much left in the tank after Tuesday night so it appeared but there’s very little time to dwell on this one with a trip to Kings Lynn on Tuesday evening and another three points up for grabs.
Interesting to see on social media after some of the reactions from the players about the performance not being good enough, in my opinion it was better than a lot I’ve seen this year and granted some of that doesn’t take much but the squad is low on quality if some need to rest or need injury managing such as Petrasso and McBurnie, the latter getting through 60 minutes on his return from the treatment table.
With the season nearing an ‘up in the air’ moment with seven clubs having voted to null and void the current campaign, how many of those will in the next few weeks declare they no longer have the funds to carry on? While I don’t believe the season will end for all as per the vote to continue, there is a very good chance we may not play everyone twice this year and it’s a free hit for some, time will tell……..