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Club News

FOCUS ON BARNET

12 August 2014

A look at tonight's opponents

On Tuesday night for their first ever away non-League game in 94 years Bristol Rovers head to The Hive to take on Barnet.

Martin Allen’s side already sit on top of the table after a stunning 5-0 mauling away of Chester on Saturday so it will be a tough test for Rovers.

Lee Cook netted twice on his Barnet debut as the Bees got their Conference campaign off to a winning start against 10-man Chester.

Andy Yiadom put the Bees ahead after just four minutes before Chester's Danny Harrison saw red for a two-footed challenge on Sam Togwell.

Lee Cook doubled their lead before skipper Charlie MacDonald made it three from the spot after Jon Worsnop felled John Akinde.

Steve Burr’s side could have pulled one back on the stroke of half-time when John Rooney won a penalty for handball against Mauro Vilhete but Graham Stack saved. Cook netted again and Keanu Marsh-Brown then made it five.

Allen was a happy man following the victory which saw his team on top of the Vanarama Conference after the first weekend.

He said: “It must be said today we did play very, very well. All of our players were right on their game. I came up here about ten days ago to watch them play Tranmere and I saw a fantastic Chester team that were much better than Tranmere on the night.

 “I warned all of our players that they had to be at their best to get anything here and my God, we tackled, we were courageous with the ball and we played great football.

"I don’t think that the results of our pre-season games have truly reflected the quality of performance of a lot of our players and today it all came right.

“Every shot that we hit went in, the defending right the way through the team from the front, and the attacking play was all very good. We’ve got some players that can win us games and they did that today.

“We got a bit sloppy when it was 3-0 and I think it’s fair to say that I went in and had a moan at half-time. I wasn’t happy. We needed to do more. We didn’t keep the ball well enough and we weren’t playing it quick enough or simple enough.

“When you’re playing against ten men you need to keep possession and keep moving the ball to wear the opposition down and that’s what we did second half and that’s why those extra goals came.

 “I suppose it’s nice for the supporters and I do hope now that all the Barnet supporters are really happy, but we’ve already started work for Tuesday. The only thing we’ve spoken about is to just go and win as many games as possible and see where we end up.

"We’ve got two games this week against Bristol Rovers and Lincoln City to come and now we’ve got to make the next step. You only get three points for this win today; you don’t get any more than that. Now we have to take it to the next game.”
   
Rovers' last visit to Barnet was on 21 August 2012 for a game under the lights at Underhill. Barnet took the lead when Ricky Holmes won possession out wide near the halfway line and set off for goal, showing a clean pair of heels to the Rovers defence. Once he reached the area, he calmly slotted the ball past Sam Walker.

Rovers’ equaliser came on 55 minutes when Matt Harrold powered home a header from Matt Gill’s corner. A superb display by Barnet’s Liam O’Brien ensured that his team shared the points.

Until 2011/12 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, whilst Russell Edwards and Paul Wilson scored for the Hertfordshire team.

Barnet ended last season in eighth and they are expected to improve on that this season. They have been active over the summer, making seven new signings and will be a different proposition to last term.
 
Martin Allen returned for his fourth spell in charge in March, two months after the club had parted company with Edgar Davids. Davids' team produced some good football and good results, but were too up-and-down for chairman Tony Kleanthous, who turned to the tried-and-tested Allen.

Allen has an impressive record of achievement and the Bees are dark horses for promotion. He looks to play with a 4-4-2 with new signing ex-QPR winger Lee Cook on the left and England C winger Keanu Marsh-Brown on the right providing the ammunition for big John Akinde and Charlie MacDonald

Cook had a dream start on Saturday with his double strike, speaking after the game he said, “The Manager said it after the game, you don’t get many 5-0 victories away from home on the opening day of the season. It was a special day for the boys.

“Any win would have done, just to get the winning mentality and the spirit going, but to win 5-0 is fantastic for us. A victory like that is just what you need on the first game of the season and we’ve just got to keep going now.

“I knew that this was a confident bunch and I could see that there were some good players in the camp. I know it’s easy to say after winning 5-0 but I genuinely feel that we have got a really good chance this season.

 “I’ve only had a couple of games during pre-season so I’m still finding my fitness a little bit, but I’m getting there. I said to the Gaffer the other day that I’ll only need one or two games and I’ll be up to full speed, but it was nice to get a couple of goals as it just gives you that extra little bit of confidence.

“I was pleased with the way I took them as well. I played with Charlie [MacDonald] at Orient a couple of seasons ago, and we have a bit of a wavelength going where if I play a one-two I know that he is going to get there.

“When I found him I knew that I had to make that run, and once I made it I was confident that the ball was going to come back to me so it was a good move and I just hit it early before the keeper was set.

“For the second one John has done well, he’s run that channel all day and bullied them. Once he cut it back, I’ve just put it in the side netting which was a nice finish.

“Pre-season is all for this day, you work so hard building up to this. I know a lot of footballers in the world and everybody was wishing each other good luck for the game today, no matter what club they are at or what league they are playing in.

“Everybody speaks to each other as it is an exciting day, so to come and win 5-0, I can’t wait to check my phone on the bus and text them all back!

“But the 5-0 has gone now. We’ll enjoy it on the coach on the way home but the second we get back we’ll be thinking of Tuesday. I don’t think that we are worrying about anybody else. The Gaffer certainly has that mentality and so do we. As long as we do our jobs properly then I can’t see many teams being able to handle us. We’ve just got to be confident.”

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