A local derby is normally the first highlight as a fan you look for when the fixtures come out, before my time it was Enfield for Barnet fans and more recently Stevenage. Now it’s the turn of Wealdstone just a few miles down the road from The Hive and Boreham Wood in the opposite direction, clubs with smaller infrastructures and smaller fan bases although Barnet might be matching support size next season.
Just three days after the Bees notched up defeat number 21 of the season at home to Solihull the short trip up the road was made without Michael Petrasso through injury and Themis Kefalas suspended which meant Harry Taylor dropping into a back three, Xander McBurnie and Antonis Vasiliou coming into midfield while Courtney Baker-Richardson replaced JJ Hooper up front with the former Wrexham man on the bench.
In the bright sunshine, the Bees began quite sharply but as is very much the norm this season Barnet failed to make it to ten minutes without conceding a goal, a free header for Jermome Okimo from a corner put the home side in front, the Bees as per usual unable to deal with a ball into their own box.
The visitors did respond well, Vasiliou at the heart of most things going forward setting up a good chance for wing back Lee Vaughan who cut across the ball to send it the wrong side of the post.
The Bees then put themselves at fault on the half hour mark, a poor pass from McBurnie saw Matt Preston struggle to keep the ball in play, the Stones broke and Dennon Lewis’ deflected shot was past Aymen Azaze and into the net.
Barnet did have two fantastic chances to equalise, the debut making Jake Askew saving brilliantly from Vasiliou while a minute later McBurnie was just wide from 25 yards out.
Vasiliou should have hit the net just before half time latching onto Baker-Richardson’s cutback but inches wide of the target.
The first 15 minutes of the second half belonged to the Bees, Vasiliou yet again at the heart of things with a strong run into the Stones box and squaring for Baker-Richardson to score just his second goal in Barnet colours two minutes after the re-start.
Just a minute later Vaughan’s cross just evaded the goal-scoring striker as for the first time in the game the Stones looked rattled.
Six minutes later and the game turned on its head, a 21 man melee missed by the video camera saw Baker-Richardson show a straight red card and Barnet down to ten men for the second game in a row and for the fifth time in just eight games.
The Bees didn’t actually let that faze them and carried on looking for a second goal and their first change of the afternoon saw Muhammadu Faal replace Alexander McQueen and a minute later breaking through one on one with Askew, but the striker’s finish was very poor and straight at the keeper as he advanced off his line.
From that point onwards Barnet capitulated as has been the case most of the season. With no extra midfielder on the bench striker Tomi Adeloye replaced the injured McBurnie and altered the shape, Wealdstone went further in front.
Lewis was played inside the Bees back line to square the ball to Craig Fasanmade to slot home unmarked on 70 minutes. Two minutes later the home side were awarded a penalty after Taylor dangled out a leg and brought down Jacob Mendy Mendy who stepped up to fire the ball home past Azaze’s dive.
Worse was to come just three minutes from time as Lewis fired home giving Azaze no chance with Barnet defenders nowhere to be seen.
The Bees finished with nine men after Antony Wordsworth limped off injured in the final ten minutes with Barnet done as an attacking outfit despite having three strikers on the pitch for the final part of the game.
Only a couple of plusses out there were Vasiliou and Vaughan, if anything was going to materialise it was coming from either of those two players. Today should have been the day for ‘having a go’. The hosts form has been patchy and why not give a bash in these games instead of going conservative, we find it impossible to keep the score down in games, might as well try and remember where the other net is.
The lack of protection afforded for Azaze is staggering, a young keeper who is highly rated but still only 19 years of age. Surely we can do a bit better than this before we shoot his confidence down the pan and we see mistakes creeping in everywhere?
The lack of conviction from Faal in front of goal has no excuse, he’s paid as a professional footballer to score goals and hasn’t looked likely to find the net since arriving on loan from Bolton earlier in the season, why haven’t we said thanks very much but back you go up north, it’s not working out and has never looked like it would.
We’re on manager number four, someone who clearly doesn’t want to be doing it and the fourth one not being able to get enough out of the players. If they really are that limited then surely we put in place a basic strategy not outside the limits of this bunch, they can’t deliver what is being asked for, keep it simple!
I mentioned on Friday about the indiscipline that has been evident throughout, it’s pretty appalling that nine times we’ve been giving teams a man advantage. It’s about time the players as a group took some responsibility once they cross that white line, we all know football is a sometimes passionate affair but the stupid decisions made for some of these red cards is on the individual, some respect maybe for your team-mates?
The club on the outside looks an utter shambles, no pride, no performance. There might be no danger of the club sliding down one division but on the basis of what has been seen this season not many if any should be anywhere near this team next year, the quality is not good enough.
As a prospective manager incoming that’s going to be an easy decision to make and it would seem a clean slate to work from providing you are given an appropriate budget to make a go of it, but that has to happen if the club want to be competing and not bumbling along, many state it’s more akin to a circus than a football club.
This week we would expect to see a new manager getting appointed, I’m almost at the point where I’m really not that bothered, it’s dragging on so long and when you see other clubs sack a manager and then appoint within a few days you have to ask why they have their shit together and we don’t?
Just wake me up when we finally get there, do we really have to sit through 13 more games though…………..