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Barnet 2 - 1 Nuneaton Borough
By Daniel Fox
Barnet were nearly made to pay for some lackluster finishing, but only just came away with a much needed 3 points against a very poor Nuneaton outfit with a 2-1 victory with the goals coming from Junior Agogo and Wayne Purser.
As expected, Danny Naisbitt came in for Lee Harrison and Ismail Yakubu replaced Neil Midgley with Danny Brown pushing forward to his regular left midfield role. Craig Pope also replaced Lee Gledhill at rightback.
The Bees started brightly and as ever the quartet of Wayne Purser, Junior Agogo, Ben Strevens and Mark Gower were a handful along with John Doolan who played one of his best games for the club.
Barnet's first real chance of the game fell to of all people, Craig Pope. His overhit cross confused everyone, including 'Boro keeper Chris MacKenzie who somehow got a last ditch touch on the ball to divert it for a corner. Yes, only a corner unfortunately, as half the ground, including myself began celebrating what they thought was a goal!
Barnet's corners worked an absolute treat today, with Gower consistently finding Strevens unmarked at the free post. Unfortunately, time after time Strevens headed wide.
Wayne Purser, still yet to open his account this season went close after collecting the ball from Agogo on the edge of the box, his fierce drive - destined for the top corner - hit Strevens and went out for a goal kick.
Nuneaton's only chance of the half fell to dangerman Mark Quayle who after being put through by McGregor was foiled by Naisbitt who did well in narrowing the angle.
Barnet pressed on and despite Nuneaton beginning to have a great deal more possession still posed a massive threat in front of goal. Doolan was unlucky to see his volley blocked by a defender after connecting brilliantly from customary flick on from Brown's corner. MacKenzie did well to punch the rebound clear from Agogo. Barnet still couldn't find the net and MacKenzie was there yet again to deny Lee Pluck arriving at the backpost who connected well with Pope's cross, only to see 'Boro's goalkeeper perform another tremendous save.
Finally Barnet got what they deserved as Michael Love was adjudged to have manhandled Junior Agogo in the penalty box. The referee didn't hesitate and Agogo stepped up to send MacKenzie the wrong way.
It looked like Barnet were to carry on from where they left off but after Purser doubled the lead the game fizzled out resulting in Barnet begging for the final whistle to be blown.
A poor corner involving Gower and Purser finally reached Brown who fed the ball back to Gower. Gower looked up and spotted Purser at the back post who controlled his neat chip well and drilled the ball past MacKenzie, finally getting that much needed goal to kick start his season.
Junior Agogo should have settled matters soon after, running onto Doolan's clearance, he rounded MacKenzie but dwelt on what corner to place the ball into before getting tackled by Love. Agogo went down demanding a penalty but the referee was having none of it, booking Brown in the process.
That blunder by Junior very nearly proved costly, as Mark Quayle should have pulled one back, but after meeting Peyton's cross he thundered his header against the frame of the goal. Quayle however made no mistake 10 minutes later from Peyton's cross, this time putting his header past Naisbitt in the bottom right hand corner.
The goal, which only proved to be a consolation, set up a tense finish but despite their dominance, Nuneaton failed to create another chance. Substitute Toby Oshitola, latching onto Doolan's cross-field ball should have put the game beyond doubt but yet again, the impressive MacKenzie kept the Bees out.
Barnet managed to hold on for the much-needed 3 points in a game which should have been put beyond doubt after the first half. But hopefully, with Purser getting back amongst the goals and the defence slowly improving, things can only get better!
John Doolan was magnificent in the midfield and should get a special mention along with Mark Gower, whose work rate was top class.
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