Goals from James Roberts and Shaun Batt weren’t enough to secure a result for Barnet’s Reserves, as they lost 4-2 to Northampton Town.
The Cobblers’ team included a number of experienced professionals, and the Bees will have been pleased with their performance despite the scoreline.
Speaking after the match, Lead Development Coach Ross Eames said:
“Northampton Town brought a very strong team, with six or seven first team players.
“They included the likes of Ryan Cresswell, Jason Taylor, Alfie Potter, Sam Hoskins, Lawson D’Ath, Rod McDonald & Ryan Clarke – which provided a great education for our U18s and U21s, in terms of their physical development.
“Our team was made up of under 18s and under 21s, excluding James Roberts and Shaun Batt.
“We only had two natural defenders, in Tom Day and Joe Payne.
"Nana Kyei and Justin Nwogu played as full backs, even though they normally play as attacking midfielders.
"The idea was for those two players to naturally come inside and join in with play in the final third – with Roberts and Batt keeping the width on the wings.
“We played very well in the first half, with great intensity and intelligence on and off the ball – switching the play, and breaking their lines with penetrative passes.
"Shaun Batt’s goal highlighted our attacking style.
“Our combinations and forward play were good – linking from the goalkeeper through to the centre-forward.
“There were some lovely overlapping moves in the first half, and I thought that we were excellent.
“We started a little bit slowly in the second half and could have moved the ball quicker – that was understandable because the players put in a real shift during the first period.
“When you’re playing men vs boys, you’re going to hit that wall in terms of fatigue.
“But we grew into the game after about 20 minutes, even though we’d conceded two goals by then.
"Despite conceding, we stuck to our attacking principles.
“It wasn’t about the scoreline today though, it was about the performance and the way that the players are developing.
“They will have learnt a lot today, especially after playing against those senior professionals from Northampton – they’re top of League Two by 14 points.”
Ross also provided a loan update for Bees fans, saying:
“Charlie Kennedy and Justin Nwogu have come back from Hayes & Yeading.
“That was very good for them, to play in the National League South.
“We got good feedback from Garry Haylock there.
“Joe Gater is still at Chesham United, and their manager Andy Leese has been very complimentary about him.
“I’ve seen him play a number of times too, and I’ve been impressed by his development over there.
“Harry Taylor and Ryan Gondoh have been at Staines Town and have done well.
“Harry has been recalled, so he’s back at The Hive tomorrow.
“So looking at the loans, they’ve been a success this year.”
Finally, Ross reacted to the news that Kai McKenzie-Lyle and Nana Kyei have been offered pro deals with the Bees:
“It’s fantastic – I’ve worked with them for five or six years,” he said.
“I’ve known Nana since he was an under 12, and the way he’s developed has been fantastic.
“He’s a great kid and he does stuff with his feet that I could never coach or teach!
“Then there’s Tom Day who recently signed a professional contract.
“He’s shown a fantastic attitude, he’s calm on the ball, and uses both feet.
“Kai McKenzie-Lyle is getting better each year.
“People forget that he’s still only 17 even though he’s seven foot!
“His reflexes and distribution have improved so much, and there’s much more to come from him.
“He’s had a great education this year, being on the bench every game.
“Due to Graham Stack’s injury, he’s had to step up.
“He learns so much being on the bench on Saturday’s, and then playing games with the Development Squad on Tuesday’s.
“It’s been a great education for him.”
BARNET: McKenzie-Lyle; Kyei, Day, Payne, Nwogu; J.Taylor, Fonguck, Cojocarel; Batt (Trialist), Roberts, Stevens (Trialist).