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836 Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest
It’s still not a derby, but if they’re going to chuck loads in the run up, it’s inevitably that little bit more satisfying to get a result... By: Max Bygraves 04/12/2022
Wealdstone H
03/12/2022   (Click date for match details)
League 2022-2023
W  2- 0
PRITCHARD '11
KABAMBA '54
Attendance: 2494  (836 Away)




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A week of no actual marketing offers but the most marketed game this season from the club as Wealdstone came to The Hive for supposed ‘Derby Day.’ A countdown throughout the week on Barnet’s social media didn’t do an awful lot to wet my appetite for this, but did enough to get 1600+ home fans through the door.

If you’re a new Barnet fan, I can appreciate the excitement for this fixture although other than finding their quirky fanbases bile and anger toward us quite funny, Wealdstone are a complete non-entity to me. But, I imagine this is how a lot of our older fans felt when Stevenage became a thing in the early 2000s for the younger generation. If Wealdstone do it for you, then fair enough – but it would be nice to not be on a level playing field with a club who for much of our history of facing off against was when we were both amateurs in the first half of the twentieth century. Embarrassment in vying for ‘bragging rights’ with this lot is still the overriding feeling.

You can understand their reasons for being up for it, as have been well documented. I will once again say they have my genuine sympathies on The Hive although the alleged further vandalism in the ground caused by some yesterday can be deemed nothing but unacceptable if proven true. It was all fairly civilised and quiet coming out of the ground, although a large number had left early. The police presence felt a bit over the top for the atmosphere, but understandable in the context of the previous game. 836 of them made the trip although from the off they were a lot less boisterous or vocal than last time.

This was in large due to them being given very little to shout about. Yesterday was a truly accomplished, professional display from Barnet from start to finish. Arguably, the best over a full ninety (at The Hive) this season. Wealdstone were made to look more than ordinary, which given their recent form added to the impressive nature of the Barnet display.

By the time Barnet opened the scoring, with the game barely in double digits, we had already gone close with two real chances. Quick thinking by Nicke Kabamba from a free kick allowed Harry Pritchard in to coolly finish from a tricky angle on eleven minutes. This settled any nerves of a repeat of last year’s poor showing and was met with considerable celebration around the ground. The goal noise on the highlights is good.

Yesterday was my tenth home game of the season. This is the most I’ve ever done since we moved to The Hive. The fact my friend (who has asked for a name in these articles for ease of regular reference – from here in he will be referred to as The Wardrobe) and I enjoyed a big manly goal hug for this one felt like a real moment in the process of becoming a fully paid up, re-invested Barnet fan. Enjoyable.

There was a good atmosphere in the bar at half time and credit where it’s due, the organisation was improved. There’s still work to do, but there were more staff, less queues and the beer wasn’t remotely flat – let’s hope things keep going in that direction there.

Whilst on the note of the atmosphere, a mention to the youngsters in Block E. That kind of noise and vociferous support at any ground makes it feel like more of an occasion. We have been well and truly dislodged from our seats but whilst there are others free to use in Block D (with a better view), they’re welcome to them. Flags, drums and lots of noise. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea – mine included in some parts – but good for them on creating an atmosphere. They won’t have known Underhill and had the experience of the West Bank or East Terrace of years gone by. This is their equivalent, I’m all for encouraging it.

Back to the match, and the second half carried on in a similar vein. Armstrong replaced Kanu at half time but it was evident almost immediately that this wouldn’t be to the team’s detriment. Full of energy and running, he looks to have real potential. So hungry. Starving, even. Sorry, had to hit it…

It was nearly Marvellous Marvin who bagged the second, but his path to goal was upended by the Wealdstone ‘keeper. A huge penalty roar soon turned to a celebratory one as the ball rolled into the path of Kabamba, who slotted home cleverly between two players on the line to provide a most comfortable two goal cushion on fifty-four minutes.

It’s been highlighted here before, but what a superb acquisition Nicke Kabamba has proved to be. This was his eleventh goal of the season on December 3rd and that’s having not scored since October 22nd. Unlike lots of strikers in (relative) lean spells, he’s not looked short of confidence or let his head go down once. He does so much for the team; his hold up play is exceptional; and his speed of thinking and quality of pass for the first goal added to his assist tally, which also must be pretty healthy already. It’s been a while since Barnet had a proper number 9. He’s got a way to go still to emulate some of those who’ve donned that shirt before, but in terms of work rate for the team, he’s up there with any striker I’ve seen for Barnet in the last quarter of a century.

The result never looked in doubt from the second goal. It appeared we opted more to close the game out and preserve the excellent clean sheet run (four in a row whilst winning, the first time in more than 20 years that we’ve managed that) rather than look for more goals. A third should have been added late on but Flanagan’s outstretched boot not quite reaching the ball was a lot easier to take at 2-0 than it might have been in other circumstances.

Lots of positive scenes at the full time whistle. Both goal scorers very excitedly roaring at the fans with delight and fists pumping as the team and bench came over to receive their plaudits. The Wardrobe commented that it must be great for the players to look up at a much fuller stand and see the kind of reaction yesterday when they compare it to the beginning of the season. Credit to them, they’ve created this with their efforts.

5th in the table, two points above Southend with a game in hand and five points above 8th with a game in hand on them, too. It’s beyond what any of us could have really expected at this stage. One game at a time and not looking too far ahead seems the best way to continue to approach things. It’s good to see so many smiles on faces for now, anyway.

Never thought I’d be excited about the prospect of playing Yeovil Town at The Hive on a Tuesday night in December, but here we are…




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All Articles By This Author:

Date 
29/01/2023 Buzzing
09/01/2023 In The Nicke Of Time
04/01/2023 Wynter Warmer
04/12/2022 836 Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest
21/11/2022 All Together: Better
02/11/2022 Outnumbered
30/10/2022 Friday Night Lights
24/10/2022 Anyone For A Pint?
14/10/2022 Minutes
05/10/2022 No Boos
123


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Date 
29/01/2023 Buzzing
09/01/2023 In The Nicke Of Time
04/01/2023 Wynter Warmer
04/12/2022 836 Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest
21/11/2022 All Together: Better
02/11/2022 Outnumbered
30/10/2022 Friday Night Lights
24/10/2022 Anyone For A Pint?
14/10/2022 Minutes
05/10/2022 No Boos
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