A not uncontroversial couple of games to report on! I was at both matches at home to in-form Luton and then away at Salisbury City. Two 2-1 losses, 3 red cards and the frustrating thing is in both games Barnet dominated for periods.
Against Luton we were comfortably second best in the first 45 minutes. The Hatters played some excellent football, including a great individual effort for their second goal. Jon Nurse then (uncharacteristically it must be said) lunged in with a crunching challenge which left Luton midfielder Jonathan Smith in a bad way. I was the other side of the ground, but it seemed a worthy red card. Indeed Nurse himself apologised after the game. The only question mark was why the referee overturned his original decision to award a yellow card only to brandish the red a few minutes later. I’ve never seen it in a football game before. Right decision, but bizarrely reached.
After the gloom of the first 45 minutes, we dominated much of the second half despite our numerical disadvantage. Luton hang on at the end. Why oh why wait until going 2-0 down with ten men to play like this?
In Salisbury Barnet fell behind from a routine set piece. As Graham Stack said post match, we must try to mark better in such situations. The Bees got back in the game soon after, with Marsh-Brown setting up Jake Hyde who finished well. All level at half time and in the second half the Bees looked in the ascendancy before Carl Fletcher conceded a penalty and was sent off to boot. I couldn’t see it clearly from where I was, but once the penalty has been given as last man the red automatically follows.
The task became tougher still when Edgar Davids picked up a caution after being fouled.
Angus MacDonald no doubt provoked the Dutch master by goading Davids after crassly fouling him. After asking the ref to show the second yellow, the Salisbury man sarcastically waved the manager off the field. Classless but what do you expect from someone with a name like that?
What a shame it was to see Davids depart after a decent game for the Bees. Perhaps it was his final game in the Black and Amber of Barnet, but let’s hope he gets a better swansong than that. After that setback even with 9 men the Bees threatened to equalise but could not find the breakthrough.
On New Year’s Day the Bees head to Kenilworth Road to play Luton, who knocked six past Kidderminster during Barnet’s travails in Salisbury. Let’s hope the Manager of the Month award given to Hatters gaffer John Still proves to be a curse and their luck runs out in 2014! Happy New Year to all Bees!