The U18’s won their first game in four last Saturday, with a comprehensive 4-0 away defeat of previously unbeaten league leaders Southend United.
The Shrimpers went into the game having won their last eight previous matches.
Given that the fact that the Bees went in to this game on the back of 3 narrow defeats, this win was particularly satisfying for this young Bees team.
The game, held at the historic Boots & Laces training ground in Southend, started brightly and it was the home side who dominated the early exchanges.
The Bees quickly found their rhythm and snap-shots from Stevens and Taylor were well saved by the Southend keeper. The game burst in to life in the 32nd minute when Barnet were awarded a penalty for a rash tackle just inside the box. The excitement was short lived though, as the penalty was saved by the feet of the home team’s goalkeeper.
With the game heading towards half-time at 0-0, the Bees burst in to life and deservedly took the league in to the 42nd minute when some clever interplay released Matthew Stevens. He crossed for Nana Kyei to net his 5th goal of the season and take the Bees into half-time with a narrow 1-0 lead.
The second half saw both sides compete for dominance but the Bees midfield of Taylor, Coker and Kyei dominated the ball for long periods – it was only a matter of time before Barnet’s lead was extended. That moment came in the 62nd minute when substitute Emmanuel Bowens had an instant impact – turning in Kyei’s cross with his first touch to grab his first goal since joining the club.
With Southend now reeling, the Bees pushed and scored again in the 67th minute. Good work again by Bowens led to a breakaway down the right wing. His cross was finished by an on-rushing Daniel Cheema to score his 10th goal as a 1st year scholar.
In an attempt to get back in to the game, Southend made a double change and this almost brought immediate rewards as they were awarded a penalty in the 72nd minute. With Barnet hearts in mouths, the Southend player’s spot-kick was brilliantly saved by Bees keeper Muhammed Otuyo. With spirits high, Barnet continued to pile on the pressure, and centre forward Matthew Stevens was rewarded for his all-round performance by netting the Bees 4th. In what was almost a carbon copy of the previous goal, Cheema turned provider as he broke down the right and crossed for an unmarked Stevens to finish smartly. Game Over!
Speaking after the game, Youth Team Coach Dean Selvey praised the team’s resilience, saying:
"The players have had a tough 3 weeks and have lost games they shouldn’t have lost because of individual errors and poor finishing. Prior to the game, we spoke to them about the positives that we had taken from those games and the fact that results hadn’t showed how well they had played.
"The difference today was that we created chances, we scored goals and those individual errors didn’t happen. We were defensively strong with Under 16 Darren Abbey making his first start for the Youth Team and our attacking players worked tirelessly to create plenty of goal-scoring opportunities. The big challenge for the group now is to use this performance as the benchmark for where we want to be this season and push on for bigger and better things."
Barnet head back to Southend again this coming Saturday in the Youth Alliance Cup. The kick-off is 11am at Boots & Laces so if you have a few hours to space, get down to support the young Bees in their quest for cup glory!