After a couple of weeks without a game due to the terrible weather, it was great to see a couple of games on at the Hive this week. Better still, Barnet recorded two wins in 4 days to lift them up to sixth in the Skrill Premier. Suddenly 3 wins on the bounce have put them right back into the play-off mix.
First to the game against Tamworth. Barnet dominated but, like the Southport game, left it late to nick the 3 points from a team in the Skrill Premier relegation zone. Of course it could have all been so different had Tamworth converted an early penalty, but Nick Jupp saved comfortably from a pretty tame spot kick from Tamworth number 9 Justin Richards. After that it was all Barnet. In the 84th minute Luisma finished at the second time of asking following an excellent cross from Keanu Marsh-Brown on the right. Charlie Adams looked lively when he came on and it does look like he will give us something a little bit extra going forward.
On to Tuesday’s game and Valentin Gjokal (a surname that this blogger would rather type than pronounce) started his first game for the Bees and looked comfortable and assured alongside the outstanding David Stephens. Stephens was a captain in every sense of the word on Tuesday blocking, heading and clearing anything the Mariners could throw at him. But it was another man mountain, Mauro Vilhete(!) who steered the ball home from a Luisma Villa corner to give Barnet the opening goal after just 3 minutes.
The Bees were pegged back by a looping heading after half time, before Jake Hyde netted the winner. Barnet defended for their lives for the remaining 9 minutes plus injury time. I was really impressed with everyone’s work rate and togetherness.
A special mention must go to Luisma who was obviously injured towards the end but, with no remaining substitutions, hobbled back on to the pitch to valiantly press Grimsby players, as did the whole team in the last few minutes. A real example of defending from the front and defending as a team, for the team.
This wasn’t a victory against a team like Tamworth or Southport who (no disrespect) seem to come to Barnet to "park the bus" looking for a point. This was a win against a top side in the division. It was one of the best games I have seen at The Hive for a while. Kudos then to the Bees for picking up the 3 points in an enthralling encounter. Credit also must go to Uli for seeing the Bees to three straight victories in his first games as Head Coach.
North Wales (Wrexham) and South West England (Forest Green Rovers) await Barnet in their next two fixtures. If the Bees can continue this sort of form and collective effort, they have nothing to fear from those two trips. Should we still be in or around the play-off places come March, it really will be all to play for with a dozen or so games to go. Come on you Bees!