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Oh What A Night
Oh I do like to Bee beside the seaside. By: Max Bygraves 04/03/2023
Southend United A
03/03/2023   (Click date for match details)
League 2022-2023
W  1- 0
KANU '66
Attendance: 7213  (243 Away)

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I write this sat on the tube home from central London too late for a man with two small children who are going to get me up several times in the night before starting tomorrow well before 7. I’ll take it for that performance, though.

A rare away game for me and a different one; a dear friend and the member of the podcast crew less proactive in our internet endeavours since had kindly organised a little bit of Essex hospitality for us.

Arriving at the ground just before 6 after a hasty departure from work, following a short wait in the car park with some interesting adult individuals waiting for Southend players’ autographs, we made our way into the ‘Blues Legends Lounge.’

It was interesting whilst in the car park waiting for my friend’s arrival to see various Barnet players arrive in individual cars. No coach was a surprise. Harry Smith bowled in last from the 17:50 arrival at Prittlewell. More on his public transport use later. Geezer.

Southend’s hospitality was indeed, very hospitable. Two ex-players from the 80s doing the rounds and some very reasonable food on offer. A nice evening was being had by all.

Going up to the stand, we discovered it wouldn’t quite be the full executive experience we hoped for. Sat amongst the home fans and a mix up with tickets meaning we were unnecessarily spread out, despite booking arrangements, left a bit of a sour taste. A slightly heated conversation with the world’s most important steward led to one of the Southend elderly legends from the bar coming to our rescue and kindly guiding us to some empty seats nearer the away end.

The moment of note in the first half being the controversial keeping on the pitch of Sam Beard. Having been right in line the call, it was surprising to see only a yellow for him seemingly denying a clear goalscoring opportunity. What a pivotal moment.A competitive first half ended 0-0 and we had the luxury of going downstairs to find a pre-poured pint on our table. The high life.

The second half was a continued battle, with Barnet showing their teeth a little more than might have been anticipated. We weren’t there to park the bus. I’m writing this without the benefit of a night’s sleep to try and process and reflect on the evening, so my details are vague here. Watch the video highlights if you want to know what happened exactly.

Idris Kanu scored down our end and I’ve never celebrated a goal so silently and into my body more in my life. I gave my DSH compatriot a lovely squeeze on his inner thigh but couldn’t go any wilder than that in the present company.

The rest of the game was a truly dogged, gritty display. We could have had more, had guilt edged chances been taken, but the home side never truly threatened. A hugely professional job by Brennan’s men saw out a much needed, massive 1-0 win.

The natives were restless at full time. It was a strange experience standing amongst them moaning and watching the away end have it. Those there, it looked like you were rightly very much enjoying yourselves.

We slunk back to the Blues’ lounge for a celebratory post-match beer before I had to make tracks for the Greater Anglia service back to the capital.

On the station’s platform, waiting for the 22:32 was none other than Harry Smith. Clocking his hideously orange tracksuit, on a platform full of Southend fans, I quietly went over to shake his hand and say well played. Following the handshake, I said that I wouldn’t bother him further but that I just wanted to say well done. However, with the train arriving at that moment, I was kindly invited to join him for the journey.

To summarise, we had a lovely chat from Prittlewell until he alighted at Stratford. He was very open and the overriding message to share was that he’s loving being at Barnet, being in this changing room and playing for this manager.

An articulate, confident and ambitious guy. Let’s hope he can continue the fine start he’s made at the club to be a name we talk about for many years to come. He wants as many of you there at Wembley as possible. For both games, thanks.

A huge result that we perhaps didn’t quite expect. This team have character. This team have nerve. Let’s hope this team can re-find that impressive winning consistency from here. It’s all to play for. Well in, Bees.

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A huge thank you also to Rob Cavallini whose Barnet history books set the basis for our journey to complete all statistics back to the start of Barnet FC.

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