Saturday, March 07, 2009

Match Report
Barnet 3 Chester City 1

On the occasions that I can be bothered listening to the pundits on televised football before I am driven to the very edge of insanity and desire to throw a slipper through the TV screen in rage at the no shit sherlock shite they utter pretending that it is some great insight you do regularly hear one thing. And that is that if you keep giving away set pieces in dangerous positions you'll eventually get punished. And if Chester hadn't given away a series of free kicks and a penalty they would have got a point out of this game, and given that they twice saw fizzing shots smash into the cross bar maybe even more.

As it was however Barnet simply showed more composure than Chester and played with a belief that suggested that there was only ever going to be one winner, even in a first half that produced just one clear chance each.

Chester, with just 4 points from their last 13 games and in complete and utter free fall were never going to offer an open free for all of a game and started with 5 at the back so it was always going to be a very different game to Barnet's last 3 against teams gunning for promotion who were going to attack. No, this time they were going to have to break down the opposition but nevertheless did so with only one change, new signing Jake Cole in goal in place of injured Lee Harrison. From the start Barnet attacked and dominated possession but against a massed defence and with Albert Adomah showing signs of complete exhaustion after being Barnet's only ever present chances were few and far between. Chester saw a long range effort hit the bar and Barnet saw John O'Flynn force a great save out of the Chester keeper after he was played by a neat chip from Bolasi. Half time came and went and it became increasingly evident that with Chester's defensive approach the first goal would make all the difference.

Chester had already given away a lot of free kicks on the edge of the area in the first half which Barnet had failed to capitalise on but when they gave one away again early in the second half Barnet had a change of tactic. Lockwood gave way to O'Flynn as set piece specialist who promptly curled a fantastic shot over the wall into the corner.

An instant substitution and the game opened up. Chester attacked leaving huge gaps at the back and there was every danger of entertainment breaking out. And it wasn't long before they were on level terms, neat play down the left found the gaps in the Barnet defence and Chester scored a chance almost identical to the one O'Flynn had missed for Barnet in the first half. That was not a queue for the game to tighten up again, Barnet pushed forward and it wasn't long before the excellent Paul Furlong was upended in a dangerous position. O'Flynn buried the spot kick and Barnet were flying.

Chester despite showing signs of making a game of it for the first 70 minutes were now a team so lacking in confidence that there was only going to be one winner and it was no surprise when Paul Furlong headed home an O'Flynn cross at the back post to make it 3-1.

Any Barnet fan must have some sympathy for Chester. To have a team with clear ability but with confidence clearly shot to bits is incredibly frustrating and they must now be fearing the worst about relegation. Which way it will go is any one's guess though. Luton will almost certainly take one of the relegation places with the other going to any one of up to 6 clubs (including Barnet), who that club will be though may boil down to luck, and how many stupid set pieces they give away.

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