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By Iain Dalziel of This is Bees
Barnet stayed top and continued their unbeaten run with a fine 2-0 win at Mark Cooper's Tamworth.
Unsurprisingly Barnet were unchanged, keeping the same starting eleven that thrashed Morecambe 5-1 last Saturday. In fact there was only one change to the squad. French 'keeper Briquez was not available so on the bench was a young goalkeeper called Scott Tynan.
Lining up for Tamworth was former Barnet defender big Matt Redmile. The imposing centre back signed for the Lambs in pre-season after leaving the Bees at the end of his contract.
Redmile was keen to remind the Barnet fans of him early on. Three minutes in neither side had done much when Tamworth created the first proper chance. Tamworth forward Tris Whitman crossed the ball in from the right for Redmile to power above his marker and head the ball past young Bees 'keeper Ricky Millard. Luckily for Barnet the referee gave a free kick against Redmile for pushing. Nevertheless this was a good start from Tamworth, but also gave Barnet a wake up call to start creating their own chances.
Minus Tamworth's disallowed goal there was little action in the opening ten minutes. Both sides were happy to pass the ball on the ground and settle down. However, after the settling period Barnet started to push forward first. Richard Graham was up to his usual tricks down the left hand side along with Lee spraying some good passes to the strikers from midfield.
After a good five minutes from Barnet the game's first clear cut chance and goal came. Another good ball was played into the box. This time Dean Sinclair received it. One on one with Ryan Price in the Tamworth goal, he calmly stoked the ball over the diving 'keeper and into the net. This was the former Norwich midfielder's third goal in seven games since he signed for the Bees in the summer.
A few minutes after the goal Tamworth were handed a real chance by some slack Barnet defending. Simon King misjudged a high ball and headed it toward Millard, but not powerfully enough. This allowed Whitman to chase it down, however in came Yakubu who headed it just to the left of the Lambs striker. Yet the little number twenty five manoeuvred himself into a position to get a shot in. However, he got his foot under the ball and his powerful close range effort flew just over the bar.
Apart from that little scare Barnet looked comfortable in their 1-0 lead and were enjoying much more possession than their opponents. Around the half hour mark Strevens should have done better when the ball was laid to him by Hatch. However he didn't get his shot right and it spun wide.
Chances were few and far between but it was the Tamworth defence who were being worked the hardest. Barnet looked strong and after threatening for a long time they did create a chance and grab another goal just before the break. Some good work from Liam Hatch saw him draw the 'keeper to him before he squared it to Nationwide Conference player of the month Giuliano Grazioli who tapped in the easiest of chances. A couple of minutes later the first half finished, Barnet going in at the break with a good lead and scoring the second goal at a very important time.
When the second half got underway Tamworth surprisingly were playing very similair to the first half. Instead of pushing forward to get a goal back they still were sitting behind the ball. This allowed Barnet to carry on passing the ball about and in general controlling the game. The game became a little dull in the second half. Barnet kept showing flashes of why they top the table, but Tamworth were doing very little. With twenty minutes remaining the game picked up a bit as it seemed the Lambs finally realised they had to score to get anything. However, Barnet responded by pushing forward more as well.
First Liam Hatch, who played the whole game with what appeared to be a cast on his right arm, made a good run out on the right before putting a sweeping low cross into the penalty area. Despite the ball beating the Tamworth defence Strevens couldn't connect properly and the ball was cleared. Unfortunately for the Lambs it fell to Dean Sinclair on the edge of the area. After taking a touch he hit a fierce shot toward the roof of Price's goal, only for the Tamworth stopper to tip it over. Although he quite clearly did the referee Mr Grove gave a goal kick.
Tamworth now went forward. Whitman had looked their biggest threat throughout and wasted two late opportunities. First he fired wide, the second hitting the frame of Millard's goal. Otherwise Barnet remained in control.
With all going well for the Bees there was a slight dampener put on the game when Dwane Lee was giving a red card for a late challenge, which was his second booking. The Grenadian international caught Chad Sheppard, who got up and reacted by pushing Lee. This sparked a brief brawl, but it was soon broken up. Although Sheppard's reaction was worthy of a card only Lee got one and it was a red. Barnet duly took of Strevens and Grazioli and replaced them with midfielders Bailey and Lopez.
The game's ill temper sadly continued until the end. Hatch took the ball to the corner, as the game was already halfway through stoppage time, where he was clattered by Redmile. The former Barnet man had been given a good reception from the large away contingent only for him to spoil it. When Hatch was down on the floor he kicked at him. This sparked angry reactions from the Barnet fans who Redmile then taunted by holding his ear. This was unfortunate that he spoilt the friendly greeting he got from the fans, but maybe that was the true Redmile?
In the end the sending off made no difference as Barnet held on comfortably to take three points from a very professional display.
Barnet were rarely at the best but still looked very good. Going forward they were a constant threat and were generally solid throughout. Although, with all due respect to their opening seven opponents, Barnet have yet to face a real challenge they still look good enough to beat anyone at the moment. Confidence and team spirit both seem to be very good, but will certainly be tested when they meet Gravesend, who have also started well, at Underhill next week.
Iain Dalziel's Man of the Match
Dean Sinclair Tireless display, him and Lee dominated the midfield. He took his goal well and created good chances for others. As mentioned Dwane Lee also had a very good game, but was disappointingly sent off late on.
Thirty-two photos of the game by Chris Holland.
Quotes from the Manager
"The players went about their jobs in a very professional manner. I believe we should have scored more in the first half and we took our foot off the gas in the second, but you have to praise them.
"It was a good performance with lots of movement and lots of good passing. But I'm not getting excited about anything yet. I'm just going to enjoy where we are at the moment."
Ref: P Grove (West Midlands)
Millard, Hendon, King, Yakubu, Clist, Strevens (Bailey 90), Lee, Sinclair, Graham, Hatch, Grazioli (Lopez 89)
Subs Not Used: Tynan, Dobson, Roache
Price, Adie Smith, Redmile, Brown, Stamps, Sheppard, Blunt (Taylor 79), Cooper (Johnson 15), Colkin, Whitman, Ross (May 68)
Subs Not Used: Bampton, Shaw
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