Barnet manager, Martin Allen named the same starting line up as Saturday for the first home game of the new Conference season with Bristol Rovers, relegated from League Two last season as visitors. The Pirates seem to be the bookmaker’s choice to go straight back up as champions, but could only draw on Saturday against Grimsby Town and they went behind on 22 minutes after Charlie MacDonald chested the ball down well inside his own half before playing an excellent ball down the right hand side to John AKINDE who ran on, holding off two defenders, before firing home confidently past goalkeeper, Puddy. It was Akinde’s first goal for the Bees.
A few minutes earlier, Akinde had broken through n a similar position only to be stopped by defender, Mark McChrystal grabbing the ball in his hands, while on the floor. Amazingly, the Rovers player was not even booked.
Barnet were much the dominant side in the first half against a disappointing Rovers, but the home side were almost caught napping when following a couple of ricochets, Jake Gosling shot wide of the post when he should, perhaps, have done better.
The visitors were made to pay for the miss when Barnet went further ahead two minutes before half time. Sam Togwell played Mauro Vilhete into space about 25 yards out and his fierce shot was only parried by Puddy into the path of Charlie MACDONALD who fired home a typically opportunistic goal.
HT: Bees 2 Pirates 0
The visitors started the second half in much more determined fashion and created a few half chances in the opening minutes as Barnet appeared to want to see out the game rather than push too much for a third goal. Graham Stack had to make a fine save from a shot by Taylor, diving full length to push away the shot to safety.
However, Barnet continued to impress with their passing stle of football and Akinde remained a handful throughout. Midway throw the second half, MacDonald played through Akinde but his shot was deflected wide. From the resulting corner, David Stephens seemed to have made it 3-0 to Barnet with a looping header, but the referee adjudged that it had been cleared before crossing the line, although it did seem to be a perfectly good goal.
Near the end, Vilhete almost did grab a third after a fine individual run but was crowded out before being able to get an effective shot away. Despite some pressure from Rovers, Barnet held on comfortably to make it two wins and two clean sheets out of two and maintained their place at the top of the Conference league table. Of course, it is very early days, but there is no doubting that it was a mighty impressive performance from the home side which pleased Martin Allen greatly. It has been many a year since the Bees started with two league wins. Roll on Lincoln City on Saturday.
Barnet Mad Man of the Match: John Akinde
Barnet: Stack; Yiadom, N’Gala, Stephens, Johnson; Vilhete, Weston, Togwell, Cook; Akinde, MacDonald (Nurse 90).
Subs not used: Muggleton, Saville, Luisma Villa, Marsh-Brown.