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Npower League Two
It's a cruel cruel game
By Andrew Taylor
The Bees were defeated at Underhill despite a valiant effort, any neutral spectator in attendance tonight would fail to believe the league positions these two sides were in, throughout the 90 minutes the home side dominated but ultimately took nothing from the game.
Barnet made two changes from last Friday night's trip to Macclesfield with Saed Hajrovic and Jack Saville coming in with Clovis Kamdjo and Paul Downing missing out. From the off the home side took the game to the visitors, after just five minutes Mark Byrne unleashed a shot from 25 yards which went just wide, the next attack saw a long ball out of defence sending Izale McLeod through on goal but his shot went straight at keeper Robert Olejnik, this was a sign of things to come for the league's top scorer.
McLeod was giving The Gulls defence a real headache especially big Brian Saah, the chances kept coming, Byrne was off target from a free kick and then Ben May found space in the six yard box but could only fire wide. In the 24th minute Barnet got the chance to finally turn their dominance into goals, McLeod was fed the ball and he broke free of the defence but before pulling the trigger keeper Olejnik brought him down for a stone wall penalty, the Austrian keeper was lucky to receive just a yellow card, it was McLeod who stepped up but his spot kick hit the post flush and went out to safety, a big chance was gone.
Then followed a quieter period in the game, Torquay began to string some passes together and had the odd long range shot which never troubled Dean Brill in the Barnet goal, there was time for one final chance in the half, once again McLeod broke free through on goal but a tame effort was easily cleared off the line by the Gulls defence.
The half time whistle blew, there has not been too many more pleasing displays like that at Underhill this season, the fans rose to applaud the players which was well deserved, but you couldnt help thinking the chances missed, especially McLeod's penalty, could be costly come the end of the game.
The second half started and it looked as though it was going to follow the same pattern as the first, Mark Byrne hit a shot from the edge of the box which evaded keeper Olejnik but hit the far post and away to safety, from the resulting Torquay attack unbelievably they took the lead, Rene Howe sent Danny Stevens through into the Barnet box, the bouncing ball looked straight forward for the Bees defence to deal with but Saed Hajrovic fell awkwardly allowing Stevens to race through and lob Dean Brill who could only look back to see the ball nestle into the back of the net, totally against the run of play the promotion chasers had the lead, another blow was the fact Hajrovic looked in real agony and had to be replaced by Alassane N'Diaye.
The goal seemed to affect Barnet as their confident play from the first half never returned, Torquay were seeing more of the ball now and their previously unsteady defence now seemed more solid, no longer was McLeod the threat he was earlier in the game. With ten minutes left Scott McGleish was brought on for Ricky Holmes but despite some corners being won and the odd long throw being launched into the visitors' box Olejnik was not to be tested again.
The final chance of the match came the visitors' way but Brill was equal to a late strike from 18 yards where he did well and managed to turn it round the post.
The whistle blew and it was another defeat for the hosts, the first 45 minutes they totally dominated but missed chance after chance and allowed Torquay to complete a smash and grab raid, maybe the old adage of those at the top get all the luck is true but surely if the Bees continue to play like this they will pick up the necessary points that will be required, it doesnt get any easier though, Tuesday night Paulo Di Canio and his Swindon side come to Underhill attempting to continue their march towards the title.
Brill, Mustoe, Hajrovic (N'Diaye - 51), Hector, Hughes, Byrne, Deering, Saville, Holmes (McGleish - 80), May, McLeod
Unused substitutes: O'Brien, Yiadom, Taylor
Olejnik, Nicholson, Ellis, Saah, Oastler, Mansell, O'Kane, Stevens (Rowe-Turner - 85), Lathrope, Jarvis (Morris - 65), Howe (Atieno - 78)
Unused substitutes: Rice, MacDonald
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