Torquay United were the next team to demolish Barnet and they seemingly did it with ease. The Gulls bought over 500 fans up from British holiday destination land and although the Bees started brightly as usual, they couldn’t find a goal and faded away like Gary Glitter’s popularity ratings. I’ve lost count of the number of times this season I’ve noted how well we’d started with the only thing lacking being a goal, and then, about an hour later, looking over to see the away fans starting their party for the journey home. It’s fair to say that Barnet at Underhill can at the very least be called ‘consistent.’
I wasn’t at Sixfields Stadium for the goalless draw against Northampton Town, but I did make the journey down to Aldershot and boy, what a night that was. It had all started so brightly for Barnet with Mark Marshall giving the Bees an early lead with what can only be described as a screamer from 30 yards. Every time Barnet score early goals, the inevitable seems to happen and the opposition equalize. So it was no surprise when Anthony Charles of all people nodded the ball into the net although he did seem about two feet offside but when your luck is out, like it always seems to be with our club, refereeing decisions go against us and it was the same here. It was obvious for most of the Bees fans that there was only going to be one winner, and not the men in white shirts with green sleeves. However, by this time, fog was gathering and after a halftime crossbar challenge that only the people right behind the goal could witness, the referee had no choice but to abandon the match. The replay will be played on March 22nd by which time, if things don’t improve considerably, I reckon our fate will have been confirmed.
I started supporting Barnet in the Guliano Grazioli and Nicky Bailey days when we were flying top of the Conference with Carlisle United, our nearest competitors, limping in second place behind us. We went on to win the league that year with the far northerners finishing second. If you fast forward six or so years, Carlisle are sitting pleasantly in 16th position in League 1, whilst Barnet have to look up to see 91 other clubs on their shoulders.
That makes me wonder, where have Barnet gone right, and Barnet gone wrong in that short time? Carlisle average gates of over 6,000, whilst it is just too embarrassing to go into Barnet’s average gates. With Barnet sharing a city with another 12 Football League clubs, the Bees are never going to get the highest gates. It is a big shame we have to rely on a bunch of a dozen school children to be the team’s main vocal support, but that is the way it is!
There are only 16 Barnet matches remaining, so lets hope there improvements we have been asking for, for months now, will continue. Our form under Fairclough has gotten better after the whole Mark Stimson fiasco, but I’m afraid, it is simply not good enough.