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Continuation
What a struggle By: Eric Hitchmo 09/09/2012
Gillingham H
08/09/2012   (Click date for match details)
League 2012-2013
L  1- 3
SAVILLE '26
Attendance: 2835  (1144 Away)
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Much of my thoughts today will be treading the same ground as a fortnight ago when I looked over the entire state of the club after the 3-1 defeat to York City. Following on from routine defeat to Rochdale last week and another 3-1 reverse at home to Gillingham on Saturday, I'm inclined to find myself in exactly the same place.

This week, we had the chairman leaving a message to the supporters on the Official Site which read pretty well and demonstrated that he is willing to communicate with the fans who are so disillusioned and tired with the state of affairs that Barnet has found itself in. Reading through it, I felt a very slight sense of confidence that we could be in a position to turn things around. Combined with the signing of former international John Oster, there was reason to offer the slightest glimmer of optimism ahead of the game, but there was still an overwhelming belief that this was going to continue to get worse before it was going to get better.

And so it proved.

Martin Allen brought his table-topping side to Underhill, backed by a raucous Kent following who packed out the East Terrace whilst enjoying the sun-kissed North as well. Within eleven first half minutes, they found themselves two goals to the good and the optimism garnered from the week leading up to the game was dashed. In fact, it would be arguable if there was any on show whatsoever, I'm not sure I heard one pro-Barnet chant throughout the entireity of the game. Gillingham's supporters cruelly pointed this out. I'm sure that even they were surprised at the complete mutedness of the home crowd, unfortunately for us it has become the norm. We stand or sit in complete dumbfoundedness as another defeat comes inevitably rolling in, unable to rouse ourselves from a slumber that is almost terminal. I would go as far to say that this club just doesn't feel the same anymore. A friend of mine made a very good point that as Barnet fans we tend to spend an awful lot of time reminiscing about the good times, as opposed to looking forward to good times ahead. That is probably because despite what the most confident man says, there aren't any good times ahead, at least I can't see any.

Gillingham's opener was a fine strike from outside the box by Jack Payne after a reasonably bright start from the hosts. Within a minute, we were 2-0 down to one of the most basic goals you are ever likely to see. It could not have been more simple for their man to dink the ball into the head of Danny Kedwell who was in a criminal amount of space in the six yard box. He was able to loop a simple header over the helpless Graham Stack to double the advantage. As the heroic John Sitton once said, you can't mark like that in the fucking box. This is what we all feared, and if Gillingham had really wanted to, they could have really kicked on and tossed us around for fun all afternoon like a child's plaything.

So while the happy Gills chanted loudly in the corner, we were left to ponder once again what exactly we were doing with our lives. It was a gloriously sunny day, any normal individual would have stayed outside and soaked up the rays with a couple of beers. For some reason, we all decided that we'd rather do this. Illogical to an unfathomable degree. It could have got worse, but midway through the half we did manage to offer ourselves a lifeline when Jack Saville rose highest from a corner to notch his first goal for the club. Not often we score from corners so it was a welcome change, could we really press on and make more of an impression on the game?

We forced a couple of half chances, however the Gillingham goalkeeper is unlikely to have many easier afternoons this season as he was not really made to deal with any sort of quality. Optimism was once again dashed five minutes before half time as Gillingham scored a third. If we thought the second goal was a joke, then this one was...well it's almost indescribably bad. A seemingly innocuous ball looped up from a throw in and it seemed for all the world as if it would be dealt with easily. Somehow, the ball has ended up on the head of Deon Burton, who outjumped Barry Fuller and simply nodded home from six yards. Farcical, playground stuff. If the home crowd had raised any belief at all, it was firmly slapped down.

The second half was a procession for the away side. They came out looking ready and raring, performing warm up drills and looking professional, whereas our lot stood around for a bit, chatting away, maybe about what their plans were for the evening or what they're having for dinner tomorrow. The difference in approach there mirrored the game perfectly for me.

Neither side looked like scoring, largely because the visitors didn't really need to. They stood firm with the minimum of fuss, barely breaking a sweat to deal with the threat that we posed. It was almost as if both sides had settled for a 1-3. We knocked the ball around the back for a bit, seemingly forgetting that we were two goals down as the game petered out into something of a nothingness.

I reiterate the point I made about Mark Robson last time. I'm still finding it difficult to dislike him as he has been given a huge task to drag this club out of the mire. From a clearly demoralised fanbase to having to implement this footballing philosophy that we are attempting to play, his job is unenviable, and unfortunately the squad that has been compiled is so clearly out of its depth that it makes it hard to see any positives going forward. When will this club learn?

League Two is not about pretty football unless you have very deep pockets, I cannot make that point clear enough. Total football is an admirable ambition, and maybe it is a good idea to teach the kids in the youth teams at The Hive this way, however it is so startlingly obvious that putting that into the first team with this squad is not working. I only hope that we have a very drastic rethink, very quickly, otherwise the trap door that has been so precarious in the last few years will be well and truly open, and we simply won't have enough to hold on this time. Again, this is nothing personal against Robson, but I do wonder how long it will be before the crowd starts to turn on him if this carries on. For me, despite not being completely blameless, he appears to be setup as the perfect fall guy for the continued failings of those above.

And so, Martin Allen acknowledged his victorious troops and followers as his side maintained their top of the league status. It was painfully obvious yesterday, and listening to his post-match interview afterwards only makes it more so; he should be the Barnet manager, not the Gillingham manager. His interview clearly shows that he wanted the job, however he was e-mailed to say that he wasn't going to get it. Forget what has happened in the past, there is no way that we would be in this position with Allen in charge. Absolutely no chance. If he were in charge and managed to get us to the relative safety and bliss of mid-table, I'd forgive him for leaving. Anything would do to stop this rot.

Alas, it will be Gillingham who will go on to reap the rewards of having the man in charge whereas we must ponder how on earth we'll get ourselves out of this latest mess we've put ourselves into.

Bradford next week. Really?!




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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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