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Pre Season Friendly
By Callum Williams
An apparently serious knee injury to new striker Liam Hatch marred the Bees' money-spinning friendly with Arsenal at Underhill on Saturday.
Hatch, the former Gravesend favourite, who was unveiled in midweek as the final piece in Barnet manager Martin Allen's team-building jigsaw, went up for a harmless 30th minute challenge with Arsenal's French defender Pascal Cygan and crumpled to the ground in agony before leaving the field on a stretcher.
The Hatch injury spoiled an otherwise satisfactory day on which the Bees' new-look squad took to the field in their first meaningful pre-season game against a Gunners line-up of first-teamers, trialists and youngsters.
Apart from Cygan, the Gooners paraded England internationals Sol Campbell, Ray Parlour and Martin Keown, Cameroon ace Lauren and Brazilian star Edu at various times in the match, which attracted a sell-out crowd of more than 4,700.
In a game where defences dominated, there were few chances in the first half when young goalkeeper Ricky Millard was never troubled before he gave way to Danny Naisbitt for the second period.
Arsenal enjoyed their best spell after the break when Naisbitt produced a top-class save to keep out an effort from Jerome Thomas, while the Gunners' Yaya Toure produced an early candidate for "miss-of-the-season" when he headed wide of a gaping goal from close range.
Barnet defended doggedly throughout and rung the changes in the second half bringing on several youngsters, including Jamie Smith, Solomon Henry and Lee Roach, who all looked impressive.
But the performance of the day came from the unlikely shape of Steve Pankhurst, co-founder of Friends Reunited, who paid £5,500 for the honour of wearing the Barnet shirt against the FA Cup holders. During his five-minute appearance, he sublimely picked up a loose ball in his own penalty area and dribbled past several visiting players on a mazy run to the half-way line before being denied by the final whistle.
On a day of many plusses for the Bees, the outstanding performance of their defence, in particular Ian Hendon and Danny Maddix, must have given manager Allen plenty of satisfaction.
Update on Hatch's injury (22 July)
The official site announced today that Liam Hatch has a compression fracture of his medial tibial condyle (knee joint) and a partial tear of his posterior cruciate ligament to his left leg.
The site also stated that the injury is not as severe as first expected and a decision will be made over the next couple of days as to whether the striker undergoes surgery or is treated conservatively and from there his complete rehabilitation programme will be decided.
Millard (Naisbett 46), Hendon (Freeman 84), Maddix (J Smith 80), Plummer, Taggart (Pankhurst 87), Rooney (Henry 60), Pluck, Gamble (Roach 69), Strevens (Bai Mass 60), Hatch (Williams 30, Cumberbatch 80), Grazioli (Smith 69)
Stack (Holloway 72), Lauren*, Campbell*, Cygan (Chilvers 60), Clichy*, Parlour, Yaya Toure, Edu, Kolo Toure*, Thomas (Owusu-Abeyie 60), Aliadiere*, Volz**, Keown**, Senderos**, Halls**, Svard**
* First half only
By Chris Holland
The following pictures are in no particular order.
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