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Turning The Corner?
Improvements By: Eric Hitchmo 20/11/2011
Bristol Rovers A
19/11/2011   (Click date for match details)
League 2011-2012
W  2- 0
MCLEOD '19
BYRNE '90 +8
Attendance: 5024  (198 Away)
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What a strange sensation - walking out of a ground with a smile on my face having seen an excellent performance and a well-earned three points. It would be fair to say we rode our luck at times, but a combination of that luck and some very strong, resolute defending ensured a third consecutive away victory - the first time we have done so since the very beginning of our second stint in the Football League.

Now let's give Lawrie Sanchez some credit here. We've been very critical of him of late, but we have to be fair and balanced, don't we? He acknowledged that there was something wrong with the defence and went and did something about it. Obviously the manner in which he did so, publically slating the back four and removing blame from himself, was wrong and remains wrong, but the three boys he has bought in all look very shrewd acquisitions. It raises a concern as to what will happen when their loan spells expire, however let's cross that bridge when we come to it.

Each of them displayed experience and resolve beyond their fragile years. Michael Hector played an excellent 45 minutes, replacing the injured Darren Dennehy who was also having a very good game alongside West Brom's Paul Downing. For me though, it was Southampton's Jack Saville who shone brightest. He blocked absolutely everything in what I assume is not his strongest position at left back. As a unit, including Danny Senda and Dean Brill, the defence were the basis for a hard-fought victory. No mean feat when you consider they'll have only been playing together for two weeks.

Having taken the lead from Izale McLeod's flicked header on 19 minutes, we were under a lot of pressure in the second half. In the first, we were on top and forged several half chances. Mark Byrne's corner was nodded on towards McLeod who had the simple task of finishing for his 13th goal of the season. He ran to celebrate in front of a decent turnout of Barnet supporters stood in the corner of the ground, very much like the North West Terrace in the shadow of the Main Stand. At the break, it was a fair lead that we held.

Rovers emerged rejuvenated in the second half and were well on top. The home goalkeeper became something of a spectator as all of the pressure was focussed on Dean Brill's goal. However, the aforementioned defensive showing largely limited the hosts to potshots from distance. When they did break through for a one-on-one, Dean Brill was equal to the task with a fine save, the striker being guilty of wanting far too much time on the ball.

Now as a Barnet fan of over ten years, this situation seemed all so familiar. I'm sure I was not alone in waiting for the inevitable equaliser to come. It's just engrained into the psyche of a Barnet supporter to expect the worst. However minutes kept ticking by and the nerves began to creep up. Regular readers will know of my apathy at many games but for the first time in a long time, I was really feeling this. I was desperate for us to hang on. Former Bees hero Scott McGleish came on as a sub late on and very nearly got himself into a scoring position but for a great challenge from Downing. Unfortunately, it appeared the tackle left McGleish in some severe discomfort and he left the field on a stretcher to applause from home and away supporters alike. Let's hope it's not too serious.

The injury resulted in seven minutes of stoppage time being shown to lengthen an already late afternoon. It was 5pm by the time the final whistle sounded, but there was still more drama to be had in the meantime. First, another shot from distance stretched Dean Brill to his limits and he produced a wonderful save to tip the ball onto the crossbar. An outstanding, match-winning contribution from the keeper. Another opening was forged soon after, but the low shot was again met by the grateful hands of Brill to his left.

Just as it looked as if we were going to hang on, the ball was pumped forward into the Rovers box where new boy Ali N'Diaye pulled it back only as far as a home shirt. The clearance was poor, straight to Mark Byrne, who coolly picked his spot and curled into the far corner to send us wild. A sweet moment indeed. This just doesn't happen to Barnet anymore. The script states that we are meant to capitulate and end up losing after a good effort. Not today. A highly satisfactory feeling walking out of the ground back to the station. Everyone played their part, from the front to the back. Hughes and Kamdjo battled superbly in the middle, little Sam Deering didn't stop running and Mark Marshall was a nuisance as always.

The beers flowed on the trip home as they had done all day around the docks of Bristol, a nice area to be fair. However it was soon back to London with three points in the bag. A warm feeling that has been rare around Barnet of late, but if we have turned this corner then happy days. We will need to transfer this form to our home performances, however the signs so far are good. It looks like we've drawn a massive line in the sand after the Burton debacle, and now we're looking onwards and upwards.

Good.




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All Articles By This Author:

Date 
24/04/2013 Farewell
19/04/2013 Underhill
03/04/2013 Away
02/02/2013 Questions
21/12/2012 Miserable
07/11/2012 Corner
21/10/2012 Win
15/10/2012 Burst
08/10/2012 Glimmer
04/10/2012 Same
12345678910...


Other Articles By Category


Date 
24/04/2013 Farewell
19/04/2013 Underhill
03/04/2013 Away
02/02/2013 Questions
21/12/2012 Miserable
07/11/2012 Corner
21/10/2012 Win
15/10/2012 Burst
08/10/2012 Glimmer
04/10/2012 Same
12345678910...

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