|Stalybridge 1 - 1 Barnet|
Saturday, 6 October 2001
Overall, another disappointment from Barnet. After looking good for the first thirty minutes, it became so unbelievably poor it beggared belief. Not until the dying moments did they pick up the pace, probably thinking they were going to lose.
It was a hectic first five minutes and we could have been 3-1 up. Wayne Purser put over the bar from close range and Mark Gower should have netted with a free header from four yards out. The ball hit the keeper, ran loose and was hastily cleared. Danny Brown then gave the ball away leaving Richard Peacock to bear down on Barnet's goal. He unleashed a shot that Danny Naisbitt managed to get hold of on his second attempt. Wayne Purser then had a second opportunity to get on the score sheet. Unfortunately it was not to be as he put a far-post header across the goal and fractionally past the opposite post. Danny Naisbitt came to the rescue eleven minutes later, by just getting to the ball in the nick of time, preventing Leon Kelly from putting his side in front. Two minutes later Mark Gower went on a 20 yard run and let fly from the edge of the box. A shot, which if on target, would have beaten the keeper. Instead, it missed by a whisker.
Stalybridge nearly went
ahead on 24 minutes. Mark Arber was on hand to avert
certain danger with timely intervention when it looked
like Steve Bushell was going to score after he had
latched on to a Greg Heald error.
They fell behind seven minutes after the break. Horrendous defending from a corner with everyone standing like they were solidified in cement left Leon Kelly to nod home from one yard.
Barnet never looked like getting back into the game until those dying moments when they started to play with some purpose again. In the second minute of stoppage time a beautifully flighted free-kick from Mark Gower was freely headed home by Wayne Purser as he sneaked in on the blind side of the Stalybridge defence.
Making his first start for the First Team today was Lee Pluck and John Purches made his First-Team Debut after coming up through the Youth and Reserves.
By H.P. Wilson
Barnet saved themselves in the dying minute of added time with a headed goal by Purser.
It came from dead ball on the right put over by Gower. Stalybridge must have been gutted after successfully keeping Barnet out for the entire match, but the games not over until the Referee blows his whistle.
The last minute wonder goal cancelled out the home side's 51st minute strike. That came from a corner from Peacock who floated a ball to the back-post. The five or six Bees defenders stood and watched as Kelly headed in from a couple of yards out. I sometimes wonder if we practice defending corners, we seem to let so many in.
The first half started off brightly for the black and amber, again showing our superiority. In the first five minutes we had a couple of good chances, before Celtic put Naisbitt under pressure.
On fifteen minutes Gower put in a free kick that was half cleared to Bell who put it behind.
Three minutes later another free kick into the box found Bell on the edge of the box, passing it on, a screaming shot was hit wide of the goal.
Barnet had had four good chances in the first twenty minutes but hadn't managed to put it where it counts.
Just before the half-hour Essandoh lined up a shot from distance that Stalybridge's keeper Fish got down too.
Naisbitt was called into action for a rare Stalybridge attack having to punch a long ball out. It found its way to Futcher who played it to Peacock and the Bees had to defend well to keep it out.
With four minutes to half time, Essandoh and (Futcher?) had a clash of heads. This held up play and Futcher re-started with a bandage in club colours of blue and white.
The four minutes of added time saw a couple of attacks from both sides but they went in at nil-nil.
The second half started with Brown being replaced by Purches. Another one of John Stills half-time talks seemed to have taken any chance of winning the game out of Barnet's hands. This happened at Farnborough and Margate and I'm beginning to wonder what happens in there!
Six minutes in and the fateful corner was given after a long free kick into the box. Stalybridge then soaked up any attacking moves Barnet made and on 70 minutes Midgley came on for Pluck as the game had gone a bit sour.
The team in blue started to run the match having several corners and with quarter of an hour to go Essandoh was replaced by Taylor.
After a Stalybridge substitution they had a free kick into the box, but the ball ran through to Naisbitt. There then followed a bit of panicky defending and with about six minutes to go Flynn was booked for a bit of afters with one of their players. Another substitution for the home side followed and then another skirmish led to the booking of Celtic's Pickford.
Barnet then tried to salvage something from this match. A late rally finally led to the moment the travelling Bees fans had been waiting for. Whether it was justified or not doesn't really matter and it leaves us in eighth place. A win at Doncaster on Tuesday night (who are currently fifth) will see us leap frog above them, so an entertaining night should be had by one and all.