Martin Allen was delighted by the performance of Barnet’s young players as the Bees exited the EFL Checkatrade Trophy at the hands of Norwich City.
The Canaries ran out 5-0 winners at The Hive but only after skipper Bondz N’Gala was given a straight red card for a challenge on the halfway line.
Norwich took control from there with Josh Murphy scoring a hat-trick and further efforts from Sergi Canos, signed from Liverpool this summer, and Portuguese cap Nelson Oliveira completing the win.
But the positive for the Bees were the ten academy graduates named in the matchday squad of 18.
"It was an absolute pleasure to see some of our younger players play so well," Allen said afterwards. "They have worked really hard for the opportunity to play and some of those lads who went in and played were excellent."
"What good performances they were. Maybe it was a little bit early for Justin Amaluzor – that was his first full game back since his injury. He has been fantastic in training which is why I put him in.
"Ephron Mason-Clark, who came on for the last 20 minutes, is only 17 and he has been superb in training and for the youth team recently.
"Young Jack Taylor was and outstanding player in our team tonight and he’s only 18. It is good for the club and the future. If Jack’s chance went in to make it 1-1 the game might have been different."
Allen continued: "The result, I don’t think, shows the quality of the performance of our players.
"The sending off, without a shadow of doubt, totally changed the whole complex of the game.
"I don’t think it was a red card. It was a hard tackle but he had to go in to tackle and the ball was there to be won. It was the right challenge Bondz had to make. The referee saw it differently and we have to respect his view.
"They had not been anywhere near our goal at that point. After that to play against that sort of team with 11 men is hard. To play with ten men and so many young players made it even more difficult."
It was a strong Norwich City team which also included former Tottenham Hotspur and England Under-21 midfielder Alex Pritchard, experienced keeper Paul Jones and the in-form Murphy who has five goals in two Checkatrade Trophy outings.
"They have some outstanding players and the lad on the left wing (Josh Murphy) is an outstanding performer," admitted Allen. "It’s no secret I’ve tried to get him on loan here many times because he’s a very good player and was the difference between the two teams.
"Credit to all our players because they kept going until the end, had the right attitude and played some good football. We played a different system and the young lads did really well."