NB This was written before Tim Flowers departure from Barnet on Wednesday afternoon, blog to come on that.
Tuesday night’s seem to come around fast every week but when the expectation for your team is to keep the score under three goals against they need to come around a little more slowly.
Twelve months ago I was stood in the rain on the terraces at Woking’s Kingfield Stadium, having witnessed the closest to a complete performance from Barnet FC as they ran out 3-1 winners and carrying a charge which was looking to be play-off bound.
That was to be my last live game watching the Bees last season and the final league game they played of the 2019/20 season although points per game calculations did of course send them into the play-offs but no promotion.
Twelve months later, another Tuesday night game but a far cry from that night is unfolding at The Hive as Wrexham were the latest visitors aiming to leave with three points. As I stated above I go into games hoping we keep the score below three goals, that’s exactly how much faith I have in a performance currently.
Having cast a glance over the Red Dragons on Saturday evening away at Sutton, I was slightly more hopeful that we wouldn’t gain a drubbing but you can’t rule anything out.
Tim Flowers went with a formation match-up, 3-5-2 a system he tried earlier in the season which struggled to work with the personnel at the club. Miles Judd missed out on proceedings, six loan signings of which only five can be permitted in a matchday squad, the suspension for Tomi Adeloye bringing the need for Muhammadu Faal to return to the bench.
As per the Yeovil game last Tuesday evening the visitors could have had the lead inside the first minute, running straight through the Bees midfield forcing a save out of Scott Loach who gathered at the second attempt.
However, the Bees settled in the game from that moment although Loach was called into action again just before the ten minute marker to twice keep the scoreline level.
The formation allowed JJ Hooper some support in the final third although it lacked the guile and fleet footed play of Michael Petrasso, Courtney Baker-Richardson prodding and probing but no clear cut chances to test the visitor’s keeper Christian Dibble.
Just as it appeared the sides would go in level at the break Wrexham took the lead four minutes before the interval. The Bees cleared the initial ball into the box but with no midfielder close to closing down Luke Young, the midfielder rifled the ball past Loach into the top corner.
The beginning of the second half saw the Bees on top for the first period, but still the lack of penetration in front of goal wasn’t going to bring success. There were however two chances for Barnet to draw level, firstly Antony Wordsworth’s effort was deflected just over the bar five minutes into the half whilst the best chance for the home side arrived just after the hour mark Baker-Richardson was put clean through by James Dunne but a strong save by Dibble kept the visitors in front.
A succession of changes over the following ten minutes looked to interrupt the momentum and rhythm the Bees had from which they never recovered from and nine minutes from time Wrexham made the points safe after a fine strike from Lewis Durrell which gave Loach no chance, no challenge once again on the man with the ball and the home side paid for it falling to yet another defeat.
While the formation made Barnet a bit more secure it came at the expense of any creativity in the final third from the likes of Petrasso or Ephron Mason-Clark. As per most games the Bees looked unlikely to score and in all honesty Wrexham didn’t need to go through the gears to win.
It’s hard to work out where the club goes to get another win, supporters expect the team to lose or be thumped in the process and are grateful for the latter not happening. It’s also difficult to put your finger on what exactly is the problem, players not good enough, players not listening, players not wanting to be there, a combination of all three or something else?
I’m sure without checking back it’s similar to what I said last week, this time around they’ve had seven days without a game, which is a luxury this season given the time frame for getting games played, to work on a pattern but it looked to have little effect over the course of the ninety minutes.
Lee Vaughan had a steady debut at right wing back despite picking up a needless booking, discipline which has been a problem since day one. The Alexander McQueen experiment in central midfield isn’t working, his free kicks and corner kicks practice isn’t having an effect on matchdays we must have better options surely.
Up front we have two strikers without a single goal in black and amber since they joined which compounds the problem and in both Faal and Baker-Richardson neither looks the solution to the goalscoring problem but the reality might be we’re not going to get any better replacements this time in the season.
No news still from the National League nor the FA at the time of writing as to their plans for Step 2 and whether relegation is invoked at the end of May, we’re stuck where we are and in reality you can’t see where a win is coming from.
Back twelve months after Woking away Barnet were on a run of one defeat in 18 games, after the same Tuesday in 2021 it’s a run of one win in 21 games, it’s a staggering turnaround from where the club was heading and the discontent you can see from the fans reactions on Twitter becomes more and more, a fractured fan base once again, how many times can one man burn his bridges with the people who put income into his football club, it’s becoming like groundhog day…….