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Shot Down
Turgid By: Max Bygraves 21/02/2024
Aldershot Town
1 0
League 20/02/2024
2023-2024 Attendance: 2126 (207)

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An interesting 36 hours to start this week.

Like a few others I’m sure, the inclination to go to Aldershot on a Tuesday evening felt a lot greater in light of the news the club broke on Monday lunchtime.

I had thought I couldn’t make it due to work commitments and resigned myself to another game missed, following a bit of a spate of things conspiring against recent attendance. An advance notice here that there’ll be no York write up this weekend. Parental duties with two small ones not yet of match going age - but a hit being taken that should hopefully mean attendance at Bromley away. Those with or who have experienced a similar life set up will know it’s all about give, take and tactical nous sometimes… 

Anyway, for this one, from about 4:30, I was checking Waze to see if this would be a viable last minute dash. Initially, it looked impossible. Yet the estimated time crept down significantly and as I got in my car upon finishing work in Hendon at bang on 6:30, it told me it was skin of the teeth doable. 

Arriving into Aldershot at 7:36pm, I was feeling very pleased with myself although parking and ticket issues resulted in just missing kick off. A valiant effort nonetheless, if I do say so myself. 

There’s not going to be much to write about the football itself, so before we get there, a word on The Recreation Ground. This is my most visited place with Barnet although it had been 12 years since the last time. Very little has changed during that time. A real relic. 

On the stomp to the ground, the towering floodlights illuminating the surrounding area and the ground nestled amongst the town centre, enclosed by trees - despite the rest of Aldershot as a place, the ground isn’t without its charm. 

Inside, the East Bank has got to be one of the finest terraces still standing and in functional use. That barrel roof that keeps the noise in and really amplifies a vociferous following. It would be great for them to open the away half up again one day.

It’s an interesting set up with the semi-segregation on the side of the ground we had. Very free flow between the two sets of fans and a shared half time bar was also an interesting experience. Going back some years, Aldershot was not always the friendliest of away grounds but there was no hostility in the shared space. When hurriedly purchasing a ticket in their club shop on arrival, one member of their staff was telling a police officer about some alleged trouble outside beforehand. “People getting thrown around everywhere,” which did sound fairly hyperbolic. Didn’t hear anymore on this - anyone? 

Maybe it was the less than encouraging Evening Standard article earlier in the day with some not such positive comments from the council about the potential move home; an open roof also never does much for noise; and the football was crap. All the same, it would be a fair assessment that there wasn’t the expected loud, vibrancy in the away end. A smattering of a few songs but not the Underhill news party some anticipated. 

I suppose we better acknowledge the game. There really isn’t much to say. A few flashes of excitement from Gatlin O’Donkor in the first half were about as good as it got for us. No chances and no real ideas. Aldershot created a few better openings but were wasteful. The aforementioned shared Phoenix Bar under the stand was a welcome refuge from a tough watch to that point. 

In the interest of balance, feel the need to share the fact that Aldershot also don’t pre-pour pints and had a farcical queueing scenario in there. When will these people learn? 

The second half was equally uninspiring. We looked very flat. Nothing from the usual creative midfield sparks. An exceptionally quiet and forgettable night for the usually influential Coker and very little for the front men to feed off. Stead gave his usual full throttle energy after his introduction from the bench with some nice touches but product from anyone came up very short. 

Even the introduction of Jordan Cropper wasn’t utilised. Two throw ins during his stint on the pitch. It sounds a silly thing to ‘play for,’ but given our ineffectiveness from other set pieces all evening, something different and ultra direct would have been worth a go. Although, not many likely individuals to get on the end of anything. 

It was a sickening way to lose as Kwame Thomas’ well struck shot ricocheted in with five minutes of normal time to go. Former Barnet striker Jack Barham enjoying the moment by really giving it to the away end from a distance. It was hard to feel too much sympathy when he hobbled off just minutes later. 

Seven minutes of added time felt like a glimmer of hope but in reality, it was never likely. An unusual scenario where the stoppage time actually dragged when chasing the game. The full time whistle brought a relief not about the result, but that no more of this would have to be endured. 

Less than positive news in Brennan’s post match interview on the injury list and current absentees. However, before we get too down, it must be remembered this same half new look squad came into this on the back of a convincing win at Welling and fantastic display at Fylde. Whilst I can’t say I feel overly confident we will maintain our top 3 status with things going as they are, it’s not complete panic time yet. 

We have a glut of home fixtures coming up of varying difficulty on paper. A win on Saturday is a must, given it would take some confidence to see one coming next Tuesday night against the champions elect. 

The fact Bromley are also wobbling and no one else seems to be able to put together any sort of consistent run at the moment is helpful, but not a guarantee we can rely on for the remainder of the season. 

Sometimes the more spontaneous, last minute decision games really pay off attending. Most times, supporting Barnet, they don’t. As ever, it’s the hope that kills you.

Hoping that last bit is not a phrase that’s uttered too much over the coming weeks as developments regarding the proposed South Underhill move are shared. 

Like many, I winced somewhat at the chairman’s comment about Barnet fans ‘getting on their keyboards like they’re good at when it comes to moaning (about our current location)’. I’ll take that as an endorsement of our work here - at least he said the moaning is good! 

Expect to hear lots from us in whatever way we can to support the move and drum up noise in its favour. Whether or not we like the way he’s conveyed that message, if people have the appetite it appeared on Monday when the news broke, it’s important it’s all hands on deck from everyone to make as much volume as possible about bringing our football club home. 

If this can be pulled off, it’ll be bigger than any other victory in Barnet’s history. 

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06/03/2024 Bring Barnet Back
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