The trepidation of another game for the black and amber of Barnet is not doing many any favours as we wait to come out of the third lockdown. After Tuesday’s 5-1 capitulation at fellow strugglers Kings Lynn Town, in-form Hartlepool was the next destination for Tim Flowers side, the home team on a run of seven home wins in a row.
Another week brought more signings, striker Tomi Adeloye arriving on a short term deal whilst Richard Taylor signed on loan from League Two Southend Utd to fill the left back berth and with it a now completely replaced back four from those who started this season.
To cap it all the game was being televised live to the nation on BT Sport, I was going to be happy at the score being kept down to three in favour of the Monkey Hangers.
There was a little uncertainty as to the formation when the Bees lined up, but rather than Alexander McQueen taking up a right wing role and a 4-4-2, the winger-cum-full back was employed in central midfield alongside James Dunne and Harry Taylor while Adeloye made his debut more as a right winger within the three up front.
Whilst the Bees had a fairly bright start it was plain to see possession was going to be at a minimum for the visitors and although it took a while for Pool to get going once they did, the evening wasn’t going to get much better.
Cross after cross were finding their way into the penalty area with consummate ease but the Bees defended most well and a superb point blank save from Scott Loach kept the scores level just before the half hour mark.
JJ Hooper then had Barnet’s best chance of the afternoon, put through on goal but denied by the legs of Ben Killip and that was as good as it got in the final third for the visitors.
A couple of minutes after that chance, the home side took the lead with the ever dangerous Luke Armstrong turning the ball home after yet another unchallenged cross in the Bees box. Another smart save from Loach five minutes before half time kept the home side to just a single goal before the interval.
The second half saw Pool completely dominate and a combination of poor finishing and more fine stops from Loach that kept the scoreline to a single goal, Armstrong on another day could easily have had a hat-trick and Barnet dead and buried by half time. Despite only one goal between the two sides, the Bees looked unlikely to score at all and while a single goal defeat looks like an improvement on past performances it could well have been another thumping and no likelihood of pulling a goal out of the bag.
Taylor looked reasonable at left back despite having not played much football this season, Adeloye didn’t affect the game at all and was not surprisingly substituted after the hour mark, match fitness lacking also.
It’s still a worry that after now three months in the job Flowers has only picked up the one win and not much improvement on the pitch, the players either don’t understand what is being asked or just can’t carry it out.
The squad is now the size of a small country with most not likely to find themselves in the manager’s plans again this season unless a sudden rush of injuries present themselves, indeed we have six current loanees at the time of writing with only five permitted in matchday sixteen’s, bit baffling really!
It looks like we have three squads within one massive one, those from last year who don’t fit the style, Beadle’s budget buys and the ones Flowers has brought in and none of them are gelling very well.
How much more the chairman will fund is unclear, any more I would expect to be short term signings to the end of the season. The FA ratification can’t come quick enough so the club can work out if they are still in danger of relegation or whether players are playing for a contract for next season under reduced match conditions, squad numbers certainly won’t diminish with nowhere for the out of favour players to head to on loan and unlikely to take a contract pay off either.
All in all, the same sorry mess it looks from week to week, Yeovil at home this Tuesday, while we might keep the score down again, you just can’t see us troubling the scorers at the right end, oh well only a few more games to go…………..