Barnet 1-0 Town - Match Report
Wednesday, 13th Jul 2016 21:59
John Akinde’s 68th minute penalty saw Barnet to a 1-0 victory over Town in their second pre-season friendly at The Hive. Blues keeper Dean Gerken had fouled he Bees’ striker after he had seized on an under-hit Tommy Smith backpass.
Boss Mick McCarthy named different sides for each half as he did for the 2-1 win at Shelbourne on Saturday.
Amongst those absent were strikers Daryl Murphy, who only returned to pre-season training yesterday, and David McGoldrick, who has a hip flexor problem.
New signing Adam Webster and left-back Myles Kenlock should be back from their ankle injuries for the Cambridge game on Saturday 23rd July, while Giles Coke ought to be fit for the start of the season having undergone knee surgery at the end of the last campaign.
Town had most of the ball in the early stages but the on shot on goal came in the 10th minute from Barnet frontman Akinde, whose 25 yard strike deflected wide.
From the resultant corner the League Two side should have gone in front but Michael Nelson headed over.
The Bees began to get the upper hand and in the 16th minute left-back Elliott Johnson unleashed a powerful effort from distance which caught Adam McDonnell on the way through and hit the wrong-footed Bartosz Bialkowski’s left post. The loose ball fell to Ryan Watson, who blazed over when he should have scored.
There was another scare for the Blues on 20 when a Christophe Berra slip gifted the ball to Akinde not far outside the Town area.
The Scotland international felled the striker as he sought to make amends for his error and brought him down inches outside the area.
In a competitive game Berra would almost certainly have been shown a red card but as it was a friendly referee Mick Russell was in a more generous mood. Watson’s freekick hit the wall and deflected wide.
Town’s first chance of the game came in the 26th minute when Piotr Malarczyk headed Kevin Bru’s left-wing corner into the sidenetting.
Watson saw a shot deflect wide on 32 and from the flag-kick the home side again went close, Bialkowski getting down well to his left to save Nelson’s header.
The Blues were still to get going with a determined Bees side not having allowed them time on the ball.
Five minutes before the break, Teddy Bishop, again in his narrow right midfield role, won a freekick on the left which Bru sent into the box to Berra, but the centre-half was unable to get a clean contact on the ball, which bounced through to Bees keeper Graham Stack.
Bishop, who up to then had had a quieter half than at Shelbourne, made a strong run through the centre on 43 and fed McDonnell to his left but Stack was out quickly to block his shot.
Just before the whistle, Bishop won another freekick not far outside the area on the left but Bru’s shot hit the wall.
Town were fortunate to go in level at the break with Barnet having been on top and having had two very decent chances to go in front.
The Blues had started positively but the Bees then got on top before Town came back into it in the latter stages as Bishop’s influence grew.
Town’s second-half XI saw Andre Dozzell playing behind lone striker Brett Pitman with James Blanchfield, starting for the senior side for the first time, in a narrow right of midfield role.
On 49 Cole Skuse went down with what looked to be a groin problem but after treatment was OK to continue.
Town looked a better side after the break, passing the ball around confidently with Dozzell at the heart of most of the good work. However, they were unable to create a clear-cut opportunity, a Brett Pitman shot well over aside.
Despite the Blues having been on top the Bees went in front in the 68th minute from the penalty spot.
Smith’s backpass from the left was intercepted by the sharp Akinde, who was sent tumbling by Gerken as the keeper looked to clear. Referee Russell pointed straight to the spot and again might have shown his red card in a regular fixture. Akinde confidently netted the penalty.
The Blues continued where they had left off before the goal, Blanchfield seeing a shot from a tight angle on the left deflect behind, then skipper Luke Chambers headed over from the subsequent corner.
Pitman went close when stretching for a Stewart cross from the left in the 78th minute but saw his effort fly just over the bar.
As the game moved into its final five minutes Stewart sent over a freekick from the right which a Barnet defender just diverted behind ahead of Paul Digby.
The Blues continued to take the game to the home side during the closing minutes but without finding an equaliser, Pitman flicking Blanchfield’s ball into the area on to the roof of the net in injury time.
Despite conceding the only goal of the game during the second period Town were a much better prospect than they had been before the break, although without creating enough chances, while the penalty was the Bees’ only real chance after the restart.
Dozzell ’s performance dictating the play was probably the highlight for the Blues, while Blanchfield also had some impressive moments and Stewart continued his resurgence.
First-half team: Bialkowski, Emmanuel, Knudsen, Douglas, Malarczyk, Berra, Bishop, Bru, Sears, McLoughlin, McDonnell.
Second-half team: Gerken, Chambers, Digby, Smith, Robinson, Blanchfield, Skuse, Hyam, Stewart, Pitman, Dozzell. Subs: Morris, Fowler, C Smith, Patterson. Att: 803.
Photo: Action Images
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