Barnet travel to East London to play Dagenham & Redbridge, badly needing a good result after Saturday’s extremely disappointing performance against Macclesfield Town at Underhill. The 2-1 defeat, coupled with Grimsby Town’s 1-0 win at Hereford United means that Barnet now have a lead of just eight points on the Mariners, though Grimsby have played a game more.
The lead may seem comfortable enough with the Mariners only having five remaining games of the season, but they have run into form at just the right time and the Bees’ form continues to be extremely erratic. The performance on Saturday took a significant dip following the half time substitution of Dave Livermore for Micah Hyde and the Bees didn’t really get going until Ed Upson came on for Albert Jarrett.
Upson scored a sublime goal from long range, but by then the damage had already been done and the mystery was why Upson didn’t come on at half time rather than Livermore. Indeed, Upson made such an impression and is obviously a fine player, that it is hard to understand why he hasn’t played more since he arrived on loan from Ipswich. Ian Hendon seems determined to play two defensive midfield players even at home and this often impacts on the team’s level of attacking play. This certainly happened on Saturday.
Macclesfield obviously had a game plan to make sure that the two Alberts, Adomah and Jarrett were kept on a tight reign and Barnet displayed very little creativity until Upson came on with strikers, Paul Furlong and Jake Hyde getting a very limited service from midfield. If Jake Hyde had taken his one real chance in the first half when he shot wide across goal when well placed to score, it could have been different as Macclesfield would have had to have to come out rather more than they had and there may have been more space for Adomah and Jarrett to work with, but the Silkmen were worth their win, looking much more organised. Macclesfield’s win has made them more or less safe, but the Bees still have work to do if a season that started with so much promise is not going to end in disaster.
Barnet have an extremely poor record playing the Daggers at Victoria Road but Hendon’s side must be looking to get at least a point tonight from what is obviously going to be a tough game with much depending on the results from the teams around them. On Saturday, Cheltenham, Torquay and Lincoln all won against leading League Two clubs; Torquay beating leaders, Rochdale a staggering 5-0. Lincoln jumped a place above Barnet and now have 46 points from 41 games, a point above the Bees who have a game in hand. Torquay and Cheltenham both have 44 points, with Torquay having played 41 games and Cheltenham 40. Grimsby have 37 points from 41 games and are seven points adrift still but have come into form at the right time, having won two consecutive away games.
There is a full League Two programme tonight. Lincoln have the toughest game of the teams in the bottom six, being away at Notts County. Torquay are away at another promotion challenger, Aldershot while Cheltenham travel to play-off outsiders, Shrewsbury. All three matches look very difficult and Barnet fans will be hoping that the matches go to form, as it were. Grimsby are at home to Chesterfield, another promotion hopeful, but if the Spireites play like they did at Underhill then Grimsby will have a very good chance of winning. Tonight promises to be a tense night for all the clubs involved in the relegation battle.