Martin Allen was in defiant mood on Saturday evening following Barnet’s 3-1 loss against Grimsby Town at The Hive, as Barnet saw their lead at the top of the Vanarama Conference cut to one point.
After Christian Jolley had put the visitors 1-0 up in the first half the Bees drew level thanks to a spectacular strike by Conor Clifford, but were to be undone by two stoppage time goals from Mariners’ skipper Craig Disley and substitute Jon-Paul Pittman.
However, speaking after the game the manager was able to reflect on a game that could have gone either way:
“It was a funny game, really, wasn’t it? They dominated in the first half and then the second half we got on top. The players said that the wind once again was a big factor and made it difficult to get in behind the opposition.
“We’ve lost two players again through injury today with Togwell coming off and Dave Stephens having to come off which has obviously ruffled the pack so to speak, and that makes it difficult.
“But I thought that we played superbly well in the second half and their goalkeeper made a couple of brilliant saves at 1-1. To concede two late goals, let’s not kid ourselves – that is bitterly disappointing at that stage.”
Martin says that it is now important that the players learn from the defeat as they look to get back to winning ways with a trip to Altrincham next weekend:
“We need to try and learn – that is the key point. We can’t brush it under the table and say everything is fantastic because it is not. We have got work to do, we have got to learn from what we have done. Most importantly, my role is to help and support the players and guide them through these tricky waters.
“More than anything the players are desperate to get a win. They have worked really hard in training through the week. They are a very conscientious group of people. It is not as if they turn up late and mess around and couldn’t care less. They are as anxious as everybody else and it is my job to keep them calm and keep them cool.
“We have to take a few deep breaths, get back on the training pitch and get onto the next game at Altrincham.”
Finally, with the title race hotting up ahead of the final two months of the season, the manager insisted that now was not the time to panic as his side look to maintain the position at the top of the league that they have held since August:
“Whatever will be will be. I never said anything when we went miles ahead and I am not going to say anything now. The important part is where you are at the end of the season.
“Our players need help. Everyone thinks I go in and start shouting and ranting and raving and throwing teacups around, but it is certainly not a time for that.
“They need support, they need guidance and they need looking after. We need to get them through this period. It was always going to be a testing, tricky time.
"It is the name of the game isn’t it? It is the business that we are in. The sharp end – fantastic. We are still right in there, still fighting and there is still a long way to go.
“There are some good players in our dressing room and more importantly they are good people, and I have great faith in all of them.”