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Another Chance Gone
Win the game By: Eric Hitchmo 14/04/2012
Hereford United H
13/04/2012   (Click date for match details)
League 2011-2012
D  1- 1
MAY '31
Attendance: 3189  (673 Away)
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I think it's fair to say that we have a right to be a bit agrieved with proceedings over the last week or so. Firstly, the fact that we were very hard done by in games against Cheltenham and Crawley, where we left empty handed when we could quite easily have gained six points that would almost certainly have rendered last night's game a non-event. As it happened, that lack of fortune or skill, whatever you want to put it down to, meant that last night's game took on a huge significance.

£10 tickets swelled the crowd to a very healthy level. I thought there were more in than the 3,200 or so announced, perhaps because I had become accustomed to seeing the place so empty that I had literally forgotten what it was like to see a crowd. Hereford bought with them a big following, and it was a great turnout, irrespective of the free coaches laid on for them. The whole ground appeared very nervous about the prospect of this game.

And so it proved to be. The game was predictably bereft of any quality and you could see the nerves, particularly from Barnet. Hereford were dreadful. I mean, they were abject. There was such little quality on display that you would have questioned the level that this game was being played at. It wouldn't have looked out of place in the Conference South. Hereford were to strike the first blow however as Delroy Facey planted a well-taken header into the roof of the South Stand net. The away end erupted. They went ballistic, as you would in this situation. Volume and mood in the home ends visibly and audibly turned, and plenty of shouts were now being aimed at The Magician. They were bad, yes, but we started the game so nervously that they were able to exploit it.

We approached the game in the same way as we did the Crawley game. Fair enough I suppose, we battered them, but to have just one striker on the bench, and to leave Scott McGleish out of the sixteen was scandalous. We were scared of losing, there was no eagerness to win, just the same as the Dagenham game a few weeks ago. Have some bottle and win the game. Take it by the scruff of the neck and deal with the situation now, put clear daylight between ourselves and those challenging us. Do not leave it to your hunches that they probably won't win another game. Remember what he said about Northampton after we beat them? Just as a reminder, he said that he couldn't see them catching us after that, so there's one team that will be below us. They're 18th now with 45 points, having played two games less. Hmmm.

It was clear that we had to make the change, and it was Sead Hajrovic who was sacrificed in favour of putting Ben May up top as an outlet for our tiresome long-ballery. Poor Sead looked a bit gutted when he came off. Probably the sort of time where you want your manager to put your arm round you and say something along the lines of "keep your chin up". Nothing but a shrug of the shoulders from The Magician. People were getting very riled. We were losing the game that we could not afford to lose.

Fortunately, the change paid off almost immediately, so I suppose some credit should be allowed for that. Hereford's woeful defending meant that Ben May had all the time in the world to pick his spot in the corner and bring us back to parity. A relief if anything, and the hope that surely now we could go on and win the game. Izale McLeod was having a mixed evening. His goals have been invaluable and his ability to win penalties is unlike anyone I've ever seen. I just wish that sometimes he would attempt to score a goal, rather than attempting to win a penalty every time. A bouncing ball was approached by McLeod and the onrushing goalkeeper. McLeod got there first and headed over the keeper before going straight to ground. Whether there was contact or not I do not know, but I was left wondering why he couldn't just follow it up and bloody score, rather than looking for the penalty. With his recent record of penalties in mind, would you have trusted him with the responsibility?

As you can tell, it was a very frustrating evening. Once again, the opponents were there for the taking, but we almost refused to push and go for the win. The second half saw much the same story being told, with Barnet doing much of the running but finding little success in front of goal. Hughes and Byrne went close and we had a very strong appeal for a handball in the area waved away by a fussy official, but in truth, we didn't look like we were going hell for leather in order to win. We didn't appear to have intention of doing so. This is where an extra striker would have been handy, but no, he was left to watch the game from the stand. Why did we want to settle for the draw?

We very nearly paid the ultimate price just minutes from the end. Hereford had broken out once or twice but they were handed a golden opportunity to win it. Dean Brill made a fantastic one-on-one save to deny the striker, who kindly picked up the rebound and shot towards the gaping net. Who was there on the line but Clovis Kamdjo to desperately scramble the ball clear with his chest. There's some debate over whether he handled it, but nothing was given. Clovis is a limited footballer, but as our Twitter followers will know, we rather like him. His effort and workrate have really endeared him to us. He keeps going, is tenacious and loves heading the ball, a real stand out cult hero of recent years.

Back to the moaning now. Had that ball gone in, we would have been left in a dire situation. The only real positive I can take from not losing last night is that I don't see Hereford gaining the three points on us. They have Northampton (H), Crawley (A) and Torquay (H). Three pretty tough fixtures there, two of them against teams that will most likely still have things to play for at the top of the table. We do of course still have the matter of Macclesfield to worry about. They are now four points from safety, with their game in hand against in-form Crewe today. They then go to Bradford, host Burton and travel to Southend. Despite them not winning since New Years Eve, you'd say there is a fair chance of them picking up a win in there. If only we'd had the bollocks to go out and win last night, we'd be six points clear of them both and asking them severe questions on their survival. However, we still insist on giving them a hint of light every time.

Some Hereford fans have thrown in the towel now, but I will not be discounting them so readily. Yes they looked very poor, but strange things can happen at this stage of a season. I bet Lincoln weren't expecting us to do what we did last year. I won't be forgetting either that we have winnable games against Wimbledon and Burton, as well as a very big ask in Southend away, but I wonder if we'll be settling for draws in those games too. In fairness, three points would require Hereford to win twice and Macclesfield to get seven points (goal difference on their side) so that wouldn't even be the worst outcome. But please don't go getting any ideas, just the win the fucking football match and get the job done.

So if things should pan out well, it will spell glory for The Magician. I genuinely believe that he thinks if he keeps us up like this, he'll have done a great job because of our budget. This man is astonishing. For a long time now, I have been asking that he leave the club. I still maintain this, though even I'm at a stage where I believe that changing it now would almost be pointless. We've waited this long, when it should have been done so many times, it's almost at a point where anyone who came in would have no chance. They certainly can't get any new players in at this point. Though that said, would we need new players? I still believe that this squad is more than capable of being far higher in the league than they are. Unfortunately, they have been managed so badly that they have ended up in this horrendous situation. Those poor loanees must be sick of it, and desperate to go back to their parent clubs.

When this dreadful season ends, I hope to never see The Magician at Barnet again. He should return to his weekend media work and leave us well alone. His appointment was met with glee by all. Here was a reputable manager who had achieved very good things in the game. Who could have foreseen the way it panned out? What gripes me is that nothing has been done to end this disastrous relationship sooner. The almost endless stream of startling quotes and the attitude that has soured even the most loyal supporters, coupled with a demoralised squad of capable players scrapping for their Football League lives. Should we manage to survive, I will be happy, as the consequences of going down could be fatal for this club. One thing I, and most if not all Barnet fans will be doing is ignoring the self-glorification that is coming from a mile off.

We suffer for a few more weeks...

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