Tuesday night the 25 game streak of streaming Barnet games was over as I made my way to East Preston to actually watch a live game for the first time since mid-December.
Well, it was until a waterlogged pitch put paid to the Bees game at Solihull Moors and then hastily re-arranged for Wednesday evening with a 6pm ko which meant game 26 then!
Simon Bassey made two changes from Saturday’s defeat at Eastleigh with Michael Petrasso and Courtney Baker-Richardson coming into the team, Themis Kefalas missing out completely and Alex McQueen dropping down to the bench which for the second game running contained just four players, let’s not get started on around 15 furloughed players.
Lining up in a 4-4-2 formation meant more attacking intent and a more open game than some we’ve been used to this season. Both sides were attempting to play with the ball on the ground despite some blustery conditions, but pretty much only half chances were materialising for both teams.
The Bees were wasteful all game through with their set pieces and the usually reliable Lee Vaughan struggled to find his range when crossing into the box despite at least two targets to aim for.
An early booking for the Bees skipper left Vaughan walking a tightrope for just over 80 minutes of the game and at times the Moors stuck lively winger Alex Addai out to his side of the pitch to tempt the experienced full back into another bookable challenge but the full back wasn’t buying it.
Moors certainly had the best of the possession whilst as seems the norm Ephron Mason-Clark provided the best outlet for Barnet to get going with some strong and at times mazy runs but little end product into the box.
Two big chances arrived just before the half time whistle, one for either side. Addai’s strong run past Sam Beard saw his fierce shot cannon off the outside of Adam Parkes’ left hand post whilst at the other end Baker-Richardson looked clean through moments later only to be denied by keeper Ryan Boot, appeals for a penalty declined as the striker went down at the point of shooting, no replay though to see if it was the case and the sides went in goal-less at the break.
A similar sort of pattern was to follow for the second half, but Bassey’s half time talk was out the window within five minutes of the restart, James Ball firing home past Parkes to give the home side the lead.
Petrasso had a good chance just before the hour mark but didn’t wrap his foot round the ball enough and his effort sailed past the post. The same player was closest to finding an equaliser with 20 minutes to go, a header back across goal from Ben Richards-Everton found the Canadian but couldn’t make a good enough contact and the flag went up against him for offside.
The last nine minutes were a blur, or more a complete black out as for some bizarre reason Solihull decided the stream was going to finish at 7.45 for a 6pm kick off, but there we go, apparently I didn’t miss very much so they tweeted to me afterwards!
Slightly disappointing from a Bees point of view as I felt either side could have picked up the three points, game certainly lacked quality throughout and a very end of season dead rubber feel about it.
As Bassey said afterwards, you couldn’t fault the efforts of the players at all but another loss goes into the column. Richards-Everton put in one of his best performances so far, tempered by an off-colour Vaughan, the latter having been very consistent so far this season.
Mason-Clark once again was given license to be the player he is, to run and cause havoc but the service into both Baker-Richardson and Tomi Adeloye wasn’t at its best.
Onto Torquay this weekend for game 27 and hopefully the final one in front of a screen, tickets booked for both home games next week against Maidenhead and Sutton Utd, interesting to see the reaction towards the players and indeed the chairman for comments made earlier this year, no welcome back offer though, football without fans is what remember………….