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Moor Drama
Exciting but exhausting... By: Max Bygraves 25/10/2023
Barnet
Solihull Moors
1 1
League 24/10/2023
2023-2024 Attendance: 1460 (60)




This article has been viewed 820 times.

Well, you don’t want to leave a game at The Hive early this season, do you?

A little like Fylde a few weeks back, it felt like one of those nights where we could be there indefinitely and it wouldn’t happen, but somehow, yet again, a goal at the death leaves things feeling a lot more positive.

I was one of the guilty individuals that didn’t attend the Aveley game last week (apologies, Dean) and was away for Maidenhead on Saturday. It had felt like a while since Dorking. Traffic on Deansbrook did its best to prevent joining The Wardrobe and Secret Season Ticket Holder for a quick pre match beer, but one was just about squeezed in in a pleasingly busy bar pre match. Given the Champions League football on the box, it was a pretty healthy turnout for a Tuesday. More on the 60 from the Midlands later…

The first half started at a decent pace from both sides. After showing a little bit of initial adventure however, the visitors quickly set out their stall. They were happy for a point and if they could nick better, so be it.

We controlled much of the first half, but never forged any real openings. Gorman forced an acrobatic stop from their keeper with an effort from outside the box. Otherwise, we were limited to corners that went nowhere and lots of twisting and turning from Idris with nothing productive at the end of it.

At half time, with Chesterfield also 0-0, it wasn’t time to panic just yet. We looked in control and it felt like patience would be key.

In the bar at half time, they had the Sevilla v Arsenal game on. Sort of. Of the three tvs, two had big smudges at the bottom of the screen and the other one kept switching on and off every ten seconds or so. I can’t remember when that wasn’t the case with that middle one.

There was a lot of debate on social media last week following the low turnout for the FA Cup game. The usual things were ventured about the matchday experience and a general lack of pride in the ground as a venue. The scoreboard’s current morse code help plea and several missing floodlight bulbs aren’t too easy on the eye. The team is great and it’s enjoyable to attend these days, but these issues do continue to dog us.

How hard is it to fix a tv? Arguably a trick was also missed not keeping the bar open for the end of the 8pm European football. After a late goal, I can’t have been the only one who might have been tempted to stay for one? Unless all three tvs had actually just given up by then.

Anyway, we’ll almost definitely end up back here another time. All a bit tiresome.

Back to the football and unfortunately, things stayed on the not-so-great trail. Nicke Kabamba was withdrawn at the break to be replaced by Calum Stead. No idea on the details yet, but let’s hope it was just a precaution.

Stead arguably should have been in from the off. For all he offers, Zak Brunt looks in need of a rest and may have had more impact in this one from the bench. What was definitely apparent is Brunt off Stead didn’t offer much threat. Kabamba is such a constant spearhead in this side, without him, it did all feel somewhat toothless.

Whilst Solihull didn’t look especially threatening, just a few minutes into the second half, their left back powered a header past Walker to give them a lead on the break. Jubilant scenes in the sparsely populated away end as their players lapped up the adulation. Their game plan was working a treat.

The response to this was to introduce Courtney Senior in the place of Reece Hall-Johnson. Another one that looked forced rather than perhaps tactical.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to find the positives in the contribution of our number seven. It would be fair to say he had a pretty torrid cameo. Seemingly no ideas, definitely no end product and frustration all around. There are many comparisons to Barnet greats in this team. However, the ghost of Albert Jarrett isn’t a tag anyone wants. A ghost might have more presence, actually.

There were flashes of good football as we pressed forward. Solihull were set up very well and it wasn’t hard to see why they’ve had success so far this season. Drilled, organised and pretty horrible. Shades of some of our finely ground out wins last season there. It was a fine away performance.

Hartigan was again head and shoulders above most of his compatriots. The bloke is ridiculous. Everything came through him. He showed for every ball and seemed to be omnipresent. No Collinge and no Kabamba makes things tricky; no Hartigan would perhaps currently be the biggest of all obstacles. Wrap that man in cotton wool.

As the time ticked away, belief in Block E was certainly waning. Pritchard hit the bar as regulation time began to run out. It felt like that might have been it, but there proved to be drama to follow after the stoppage board for seven minutes was shown…

Veteran striker Gary Hooper is perhaps not yet to show much other than a need for greater fitness in his brief outings. However, he announced his arrival tonight. It all happened very quickly and was somewhat blurry. I think it was a low drive into the bottom corner - we’ll have to wait for the highlights to know.

What a moment. Again. Everyone lost it. A goal that felt like a winner when at the start of things, a draw would have felt like points dropped. Scenes, they call it.

If that went off, who knows what would have happened had Stead’s last, last gasp chance not hit the bar but nestled in the net. It seemed there wouldn’t be time for anything else but we were inches away from a win from nowhere. Imagine. That would have been spoiling us.

The tenacity and relentless nature of this team to not give in is incredible. They’ve set their standards so high that it perhaps invites more criticism than is fair when things don’t go exactly right; but with perspective and rational thinking, you can only admire what’s being achieved here. We just have to hope Chesterfield can hit a bit of a wobble somewhere. They’re a real pain.

At full time, players on both sides dropped to their knees. But the drama continued in the corner by the away end. Emotions were running high as the Moors fans didn’t take kindly to some of our younger, more exuberant support rubbing their noses in it.

Next thing, a kid in a bobble hat came over the barrier from their end only to be rugby tackled to the floor in the corner of the pitch by two stewards. He was kept there for ages. Penny for his thoughts when the realisation of a moment of utter madness dawned on him. No football for a few years for that young man.

There were some unsavoury, if slightly amusing scenes as lots of finger pointing and shouting was traded over the barrier. It did appear a few punches were thrown, but hard to see who did what. Some considerably old enough to know better gentlemen from the Midlands were particularly incensed. This of course leading to more provocation from the Barnet side. It took a copper to open the gate and wave his truncheon (oo er) at the amassed crowd which quickly dispersed them.

A hat trick of away games follows. Oxford City and Curzon Ashton present new venues for those planning on making the trips. Three points on Saturday will be key, especially with Chesterfield at Kidderminster where you’d expect further points to be gained. Curzon in the cup doesn’t feel so important in the current context, with the big one at Chesterfield the following week.

I’m still 50/50 (that’s a lie, probably 80/20) on that one. If we’re still in the hunt for that top spot come 5pm on 11th November, a very exciting few months will lie before us.




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13/06/2024 How It All Began
07/06/2024 A Barnet Story
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"
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