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Another Step Closer
The title race continues... By: Max Bygraves 20/03/2024
Barnet
Eastleigh
2 1
League 19/03/2024
2023-2024 Attendance: 1081 (82)




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On a rain-soaked night at The Hive, there was no further dampening of spirits after consecutively miserable Saturdays.

This was part one of a big week. Two home games. Two winnable ones, on paper, but we all know it’s never that straightforward.

With Josh Keeley away on Ireland Under 21 duty, the big headline of the night was the return from the cold of Barnet’s number one, Laurie Walker. I can’t have been the only one who didn’t expect to see him in a Bees shirt again. What a treat.

Add to that, starting returns for Collinge, Gorman and Kabamba and we had the spine of our team that lit up those autumn months and got us all dreaming and believe back in the frame. Idris Kanu back on the subs bench the icing on the cake.

Eastleigh enjoyed a good first two or three minutes on the ball, before the rest of the first half became exceptionally one sided. We played very much camped in their half and whilst clear chances were few and far between, it felt like it was a matter of when not if.

The when came in the 18th minute, with returning skipper Dale Gorman smashing home from the edge of the box. Although well struck, some questions could have been asked of their keeper give how centrally the ball ended up - but no complaints from here.

We continued to drive forward and the word ‘procession,’ was uttered amongst our row. This appeared to be very much the case and course of things in the 39th minute when Gatlin O’Donkor notched his first goal at The Hive in stylish fashion. A rasping volley on the turn emphatically put Barnet 2-0 up and at the time, it felt like that would be enough.

This is us, however. 2-0 up and buoyant, the strange decision was made to throw everyone forward for a corner just before the break. Seeming naivety was punished here as Eastleigh struck back with a goal on the counter attack. Their first meaningful moment in the game sending everyone to half time a lot less relaxed.

You’d be hard pressed to call the second half an enjoyable watch. Eastleigh massively upped their game and played some nice stuff, but we looked more like the shaky outfit we have on a number of recent occasions as opposed to the accomplished first half side.

Laurie Walker made a number of saves on the night. We’ve not hidden our support for one of the biggest personalities we’ve had in a Barnet side for a long time but it was pleasing to see him remind everyone of his credentials as a top goalkeeper at this level. He was assured, commanding and we even saw a bit of good old shithousery with a late dive over the ball. Great to have him back.

Other returning players varied in their impact. Legs looked tired towards the end but there were some valuable contributions and reminders shared.

999 recorded home fans was disappointing on the night where we technically kept the title race going for at least another 24 hours. All eyes and minds looking forward positively at the moment, but hard not to feel a bit of frustration at the lack of club marketing for this game and indeed, to garner support for the run in.

Dorking on Saturday will be a similar proportion as we come up against dogged opposition in even more of a fight for their lives. It won’t be easy, but confidence should be high on the back of a much-needed win and with so many key faces back in.

It’s non-league day on Saturday. Be great if we’re not involved in that next year.




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All Articles By This Author:

Date 
13/05/2024 Togetherness
29/04/2024 Outfought, Outthought, Out Of Ideas
10/04/2024 Nearly There
25/03/2024 "A Game Of F*****g Demolition"
20/03/2024 Another Step Closer
09/03/2024 Tepid
06/03/2024 Bring Barnet Back
21/02/2024 Shot Down
14/02/2024 Simon Clist
04/02/2024 Unpleasant
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Date 
13/05/2024 Togetherness
29/04/2024 Outfought, Outthought, Out Of Ideas
21/04/2024 The Best Of The Rest
10/04/2024 Nearly There
25/03/2024 "A Game Of F*****g Demolition"
20/03/2024 Another Step Closer
17/03/2024 Card Bored
09/03/2024 Tepid
06/03/2024 Bring Barnet Back
21/02/2024 Shot Down
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