A look ahead to tonight's game
Bristol Rovers mid-week trip up the M4 to Barnet gives the Gas the opportunity to atone for the disappointment of an opening day home defeat to Oxford.
Having gone 2-0 down in a little over half an hour it was always going to be difficult for Mark McGhee’s team to make a comeback.
On 21 minutes, Adam Chapman pushed the ball through to Jake Forster-Caskey, who turned his marker and scored from 18 yards out. Just about 10 minutes later Alfie Potter increased Oxford’s lead, after Michael Smith slipped near the half way line. Potter took the ball on and slipped it past loanee Sam Walker in the Rovers’ goal.
Oxford then shut up shop and Rovers never seriously troubled ex-Gas Ryan Clarke in the Yellow’s goal.
Whilst all this was happening at the Mem just up the M5/M6 in Burslem, Port Vale put 3 past Barnet.
Barnet boss Mark Robson, the former Gillingham coach took over in the summer, admitted the defeat was a disappointing way to begin their League Two campaign.
The Bees struggled to create chances throughout and Vale took all three points thanks to goals from Louis Dodds, Jennison Myrie-Williams and Tom Pope.
Speaking after the game Robson said: “It was very disappointing. It was a tough game against a strong side. I’m disappointed with conceding three goals as well. Certainly losing two goals early on was a big blow to us. I’m not sure if it was or wasn’t a penalty but that didn’t help. All in all I can’t complain about the result.”
He continued: “I think what was most disappointing for us was that we didn’t have a cutting edge. We didn’t create hardly any chances really. We had one in the first half from Jon Nurse through what was probably our best piece of football all game.
"So I’m disappointed that we didn’t really create more chances but that is something we need to look at and work on.”
The closest the Londoners came to worrying Chris Neal in the Vale goal was when new signing Jon Nurse's deflected hit the side-netting before the break.
Looking more generally at the season ahead Robson said, "It's not been a fantastic time over the last couple of years for Barnet so if we can climb the league a wee bit and not be sweating at the back end of the season that would be all right.
"If we want to do better we've got to be better on the ball. We never had that cutting edge and never really created chances."
Until last season the Bees had never beaten the Gas, but that changed with a vengeance, the Londoners winning both games 2-0. The clubs first met in the FA Cup in 1983/84 season with a 0-0 draw at Underhill and Rovers winning the replay 3-1.
When the Bees played their only season in (the Old) Division 2 in 1993/94 they met Rovers for the first time in a League encounter. Rovers had been relegated the previous season and the Bees promoted.
Marcus Browning and John Taylor scored the goals that gave Rovers a 2-1 victory at Underhill in October, with Kelly Haag being on the scoresheet for the Bees.
In the return fixture having lost their previous five games Rovers were in dire need of a victory and a Justin Channing hat-trick lead the way to a 5-2 win.
An own goal by Alan Walker and a contribution by Marcus Stewart completed the scoring for Rovers, whist Russell Edwards and Paul Wilson scored for the Hertfordshire team.
Speaking before the start of the season Robson said, "The last couple of years haven’t been good for the football club in terms of having to survive on the last day. The few players that are left here don’t want that this season to be the same and the new lads all have aspirations to move back up the ladder again.
"They’ve come from Premier League clubs where they didn’t get a chance. So it is an opportunity for them to show what they are about. We are looking to the future and we have a way we want to try and play. We have a belief and we will stick to that belief.
"The players have really bought into it and are really enjoying it and they are showing some real quality at the moment. If they can stay like then we will be very optimistic for the rest of the campaign."
Written by Gerry Prewett.