Graham Stack was relieved to see Barnet secure a stoppage time win over Alfreton Town on Saturday, although he admits that the team were not at their best.
Speaking immediately after the game, the player-coach said:
“We weren’t at it today for some reason. I don’t know why, it wasn’t through a lack of effort or not trying.
“I think they came with a game plan, and they frustrated us. They were organised and quite resolute, and were very hard to get through.
“In the end, we were frustrated and maybe stopped playing at times. I think their chances were mainly through us not taking care and being untidy at times.
“But at the end of the day, it’s a tough, tough league. Throughout the season we’re going to have to do that against teams, especially here because teams will come and make it very difficult for us.
“It took a bit of magic today to get us over the line. Luisma has got that, him and Cookie are probably the two with that sort of quality in this team that are capable of doing that and I think it was a game today that was going to be decided by a bit of magic and it was in the end.”
Stack was also full of praise for the Barnet fans, who stuck with the team until the very end and were ultimately rewarded by being able to celebrate three points:
“I’ve got to say as well, the supporters turned up in numbers today. They take massive credit as well today because that extra impetus that they gave us in the last five minutes.
“They may not realise, but when you’re out there playing that can make all the difference, so credit to the supporters as well and the people that came in today.
“A massive, massive thank you to them on behalf of all the lads because I think in the end they were a major help to us.”
Having been announced as the Vanarama Conference Player of the Month ahead of the game, the goalkeeper admitted that he was delighted to receive the award although he was disappointed not to have kept another clean sheet:
“Obviously the award means a hell of a lot. To be recognised as the best player in the league for a month is amazing. This isn’t for me and I’ve made that clear to everyone in there and the manager, this isn’t for me at all. This is for Barnet Football Club and the whole team.
“I would not have kept any of those clean sheets had it not been for my front two working so hard and relieving pressure from us. The midfielders, the people who come on, the subs, everyone
“It’s been a massive, massive effort and there have been a lot of changes this season and pre-season and I’ve taken on a new role. It’s been hard work but to be rewarded with something like this, I’m absolutely over the moon, I’m delighted.
“I’m delighted that we’ve won the game but I’m fuming because I’ve set myself targets this year. They’re my targets, but the be-all-and-end-all is to win the league.
“If I don’t keep a clean sheet between now and the end of the season and we go up, it’s not going to bother me one bit, it’s just a personal bit of pride.”
Having seen the side dig deep to find a last minute winner, Stack was delighted with the character that the players showed and insists that those fighting qualities will prove crucial as the season goes on:
“The sign of a good side is to have that togetherness, spirit and belief, all things that we showed today that with a Barnet team of days gone by, the game would have fizzled out and we’d have got nothing out of it. It took a lot of effort, guts and bravery and we managed to do that in the end.
“It’s been a magic day all round really; it’s been a really good day but we’ve got to put it to bed. I’ve been around for too long to dwell on wins and last-minute goals. We’ve got to go Dover on Wednesday, which is going to be a tough, though game, and do it all over again.”