Canvey Island v Barnet
Monday, 30th August 2004
Goals: Barnet: Sinclair (27)
With news that Shane Gore would be out for about 6 weeks, Ricky Millard continued to deputise in goal. Chris Plummer had received a knock at the weekend and was replaced by fit again, Ismail Yakubu, with Simon Clist continuing at left back.
Canvey, in their first season in the Conference, started the match unbeaten and fresh from a first win away at Exeter, two days before. However, it was Barnet who started the game the stronger with Liam Hatch, in particular, causing the Canvey defence all sorts of problems. Hatch had a couple of clear chances which he might have done better with and Dwane Lee sent Canvey keeper, Potter, sprawling across the goal to keep out a speculative shot.
Barnet were well in control and just before the half hour, Dean Sinclair, finding space on the right hand side of the penalty area, jinked past two defenders before unleashing a terrific shot past a despairing Potter to put the Bees a goal up.
Canvey created few problems for Barnet though Ricky Millard had to make a fine tip-over save following a long shot from Chris Duffy. At the other end an out of sorts Ben Strevens, got around the back of the Canvey defence and crossed for Guiliano Grazioli, only for the Bees’ top scorer to head wide when well placed.
Half Time: 0-1
After controlling most of the first half, Barnet seemed happy to play a game of containment in the second, letting Canvey Island have most of the possession. Despite this, Barnet had the better of the chances, Potter foiling Grazioli twice, the first time with a fine save, tipping Graz’s close-in shot over the bar.
Canvey rarely threatened for all their possession, with the central defence of Simon King and Ismail Yakubu dealing with most of anything Canvey threw at them and stifling Canvey’s high scoring striker, Lee Boylan, who limped off late in the game. On the rare occasions when Canvey did break through on the right, they were foiled by a sublime performance at left back by Simon Clist, who impressed the Bees’ fans with his tackling, heading and fine distribution.
However, Barnet almost let their lead slip, a few minutes from the end when Ricky Millard had to make an excellent save following a close-in header from former Barnet trialist, Ben Sedgemore. A few nerve wracking minutes followed
as time added on seemed to go on for ever for the Bees’ fans. At the end Barnet’s third win on the trot and their fourth in five games, meant that they ended the day top of the Conference following Dagenham & Redbridge’s defeat at Crawley Town.
Bees Man of the Match: Simon Clist
Canvey Island: Potter, Joseph, Smith (Cowan 64), Chenery, Gooden (McDougald 76), Duffy, McGhee, Kennedy, Sedgemore, Gregory, Boylan (Berquez 85).
Barnet: Millard, Hendon, Yakubu, King, Clist, Strevens, Sinclair (Lopez 90), Lee, Graham, Grazioli, Hatch.
Barnet v Northwich
Saturday 28th August 2004
Goals:Barnet: Hendon 38 (Pen), Sinclair 40, Hatch 52, Grazioli 66
The home fans had an unfortunate surprise when the team was announced just before the game. Popular goalkeeper, Shane Gore was missing from the side, giving rookie goalkeeper, Ricky Millard his first Conference start in more than a year. His previous game, at the end of 2002-03, had also been against Northwich. Julian Briquez, signed as cover from Harlow Town, was named on the bench. Ismail Yakubu was still missing from the centre of the defence.
Barnet got off to a strong start, pinning Northwich back in their own half for much of the time. Bees were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty when Liam Hatch was brought down, but they nearly went behind when Paul Brayson hit a stunning curling shot which somehow rebounded off Millard’s left-hand post.
A few minutes later it was Hatch who hit the woodwork, cutting inside on a mazy run before hitting a fine shot, which hammered against the post. Ben Strevens also saw a fine effort foiled when Northwich goalkeeper, Ben Connett, brilliantly tipped his effort over the bar.
Bees were well in control despite not being able to score and were providing a very entertaining performance with Hatch, Graham, Lee and Sinclair, in particular showing off their skills. Grazioli, also in fine form, also nearly produced a replica of his goal at Halifax, the previous Saturday, when he caught Connett off his line with another spectacular lob. This time, though, Connett was able to recover and tip Graz’s shot over the bar.
Just as Barnet looked to be getting frustrated, they finally got the breakthrough. Strevens found Grazioli in the penalty area and as he was about to shoot, Northwich captain, Peter Handyside, brought the Bees’ striker down. Handyside was, somewhat harshly, red-carded for this and Ian Hendon, stepped up to hammer the resulting penalty firmly past Connett.
No sooner had Bees gone ahead than they scored again, a neat ball over the defence from Richie Graham found Dean Sinclair who drove the ball firmly into the corner of the net to put Barnet two up.
Half Time 2-0
Barnet continued where they had left off and Dwayne Lee almost scored as the post was struck again. Soon after, Liam Hatch made it 3-0 heading home a Richie Graham cross. Northwich should have pulled one back soon after when first Mark Quayle, then Paul Brayson failed to score after Vics had caught Barnet on the break. Ricky Millard pulled off a fine double save.
Grazioli missed an easy chance to add to Barnet’s tally before making it 4-0 with a spectacular overhead kick following a long throw from Ian Hendon. Soon after, Barnet made 3 substitutions, giving trialist, Craig Dobson his debut. Lee Roache had a goal disallowed and Dobson had an impressive 25 minutes to show he has promise with his speed and mazy runs. Altogether a fine result for Barnet.
Bees man of the match: Dwane Lee
Barnet: Millard, Hendon, Plummer, King, Clist, Strevens, Sinclair (Bailey 71), Lee, Graham, Grazioli (Roache 67), Hatch (Dobson 67).
Northwich: Connett, Royle, Foran (Norris 15), Handyside, Charnock, McLachlan (Hunter 67), Devlin, Burke, Garvey, Quayle, Brayson (Hadland 56).
Match reports by Jeff Benge