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Barnet 1 - 4 Gravesend & Northfleet

Nationwide Conference
Tuesday 8th October 7.45pm

By Daniel Fox

Barnet were taught a footballing lesson tonight at Underhill against a very impressive Gravesend proving that efficient teamwork will always out play individual brilliance as they came away 4-1 winners.

I say a footballing lesson due to the fact that Gravesend like Barnet played 3 upfront, with their wideman proving to be a very useful outlet as opposed to Barnet's Ben Strevens looking lost up the other end of the field. Danny Brown and Neil Midgley must be blamed for failing to pick him up on numerous occasions.

Everyone would have been optimistic just before kick off as club captain Greg Heald led the side out at the expense of Lee Pluck and Lee Gledhill returning to right back. Danny Brown continued at left back, as Ismail Yakabu wasn't even in the squad.

Things started well for the Bees and an early run down the right from Junior Agogo saw his deep cross narrowly headed over by Wayne Purser. Midgley then went close to scoring but he was just unable to connect with Gledhill's low cross to the near post.

A neatly worked corner involving Gower and Brown saw Doolan connect perfectly on the edge of the box, but his sreamer, destined for the top corner hit Purser on the back and was cleared.

Gravesend got over Barnet's early storm and scored from their first attack. Jimmy Strouts' long ball from left to right set Tostoa Kwashi free and the former Zimbabwean international cut inside firing the ball past the unconfident Lee Harrison into the bottom left hand corner.

Barnet offered little in reply, Gower went close, putting his free kick just wide of the right post and Strevens went near to equalizing but he put his shot just wide of the far post.

Gravesend soon doubled their lead through Che Stadhart, arriving late at the back post to smash home Jimmy Jackson's deep cross.

The Bees were rightly booed off at half time as the Gravesend defence easily dealt with Barnet's predictable front line.

The second half started better than anyone could have imagined as Ben Strevens put the Bees back in it, heading in Lee Gledhill's cross at the near post after just 48 seconds. This prompted the East Terrace to finally join in and offer Barnet their vocal support as they sensed a comeback was more than possible.

Neil Midgley isn't one of Barnet's best signings but for the next 15 minutes he put in one of the best performances in his Barnet career. He was everywhere, fighting for everything and was unlucky not to equalize for the Bees, collecting the ball from Gower, his 25-yard thunderbolt went just over leaving the Gravesend keeper helpless.

Danny Brown was unlucky with a 20-yard free kick that went just wide of the far post after Purser was fouled on the edge of the penalty box. Agogo, Strevens and Purser all went close and were a constant threat but just failed to grab the all-important Barnet equalizer.

Throwing caution to the wind, Oshitola replaced Midgley and Leon Bell came on for Doolan as the Bees went all out attack. The move by Shreeves back fired big time, as a Gravesend break saw the ball fall to the unmarked Hatch at the back post whose low drive was only parried by Harrison for Stadhart to poke to ball home.

Another incompetent referee was on show tonight and when Doolan got caught in possession and bought down Strouts, even the Barnet fans laughed at the fact that he didn't award the away team a penalty. Decision after decision was given wrongly, causing Doolan, Heald and Purser all to be booked.

With the game won, the 3-1 lead still wasn't enough for Gravesend as a long ball caused yet another defensive mix up, letting in Liam Hatch to lob the ball over the advancing Harrison.

Barnet, can be given credit only for not giving up but it was all in vain, Leon Bell made an impression but as experienced season after season, lack of shots on target caused Barnet's downfall.

A very disappointing performance from Barnet whose downfall must be blamed on the likes of Gower and Agogo. Yes, they gave it their all but forgot that they can't take on all eleven of the opposition as their long runs simply ended in the team losing possession when a pass would have been the better option.

8 goals conceded in 2 games is not a promotion chasing teams' material. The defence must be sorted, Heald returning today simply made matters worse. But what can be done? Unfortunately nobody seems to know.

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