Thomas Kelly – @TommyKtufc
Thomas discusses the game at the Hive
BARNET FC 1-0 TUFC – MATCH SUMMARY
We huffed and we puffed but once again for United, it was a disappointing and frustrating afternoon that saw Barnet somehow manage to hold on for three points when the Gulls deserved a minimum of at least one.
Gary made three changes to the starting XI, finally giving Asa a break in midfield, Dillon Crowe and (one assumes) injured Dillon De Silva replaced for Brett McGavin, Ryan Hanson and Dean Moxey.
United haven’t kept a clean sheet in all competitions since FC Halifax away back in sunny August and sadly it took just ten minutes for the hosts to break the deadlock. Ryan De Havilland’s cross evaded a hapless McGavin and Armstrong easily from close range put Barnet in front.
Barnet continued to assert their authority with Halstead doing well to tip over the ball from a free kick. It looked like United would be under the cosh once again but the Yellows grew into the half, efforts from Jarvis and Goodwin blocked out by the stubborn Bees.
United came out early before the second half and whatever was said in the dressing room saw the Gulls take the game to the play-off contenders. Wearne latched onto a flappy punch from Walker with a lovely volley goal-wards but Walker made a great save and cleared the danger.
Next the two loanees Ness and Ellis almost got United a deserved equaliser. Lucas’s cross was on a plate for Ellis, but his header at the near post was well saved again by Walker. United continued to press, backed by over 240 of the Yellow Army willing them on, and were desperate for a goal. In the last few minutes of injury time, the Gulls almost got their deserved equaliser. Barnet struggled to clear away a corner and the ball fell to Donnellan on the volley, he saw the ball agonisingly hit the post via a small deflection.
Small margins when you’re at the bottom and more pain for the Yellow Army as Barnet held out and won the game. Sigh.
Halstead: 6 – Didn’t have much to do in truth but his distribution was woeful and needed to take an extra second before clearing the ball forward. Gave away possession with sloppy kicks.
Ellis: 6.5 – Looked to be our main threat from corners and set pieces. Keeper saved well his near post header but had some poor ones as well.
Ness: 7 – Thought he was solid once again. Works hard and out of everyone in this squad, think he has the most potential to go up the ladder.
Donnellan: 6.5 – Struggled in the first half but came out much stronger in the second and should have earned us a point late on with his volley off the post.
Moxey: 6.5 – I always feel better about us with Mox in the side. His long throws almost paid dividends and was a welcome return.
McGavin: 5 – Marking for the goal was poor and is just too slow in general both on and off the ball. A common theme. Some good deliveries from corners.
Hanson: 5 – Just like Tom, booked and subbed. Not much really more to add in a slow midfield.
Wearne: 7 – Standout in the midfield. Chases everything, unlucky not to score with his second half volley. Would like to see his loan extended.
Lapslie: 5 – I love Tom but it wasn’t his day. Full of endeavour, full of fight, did a lot of running but was rather ineffective. Subbed after an hour. (Sorry TLAS!)
Jarvis: 6 – Too often isolated up front but tried his best. Needs better support around him to be most effective.
Goodwin: 5 He looks like a lad who has played a lot of football. Left Jarvis far too isolated up front and didn’t really make an impact in the game other than his one deflected effort in the first half.
Hall: 5 – Needed a break, did alright for the twenty odd minutes he played.
Evans: 6 – Welcome back Kieron. Immediately got involved and put in some decent crosses into the box.
MAN OF THE MATCH – WEARNE/NESS
One of my friends asked me at full time who my MOTM and I really struggled for a name until I started typing this article and on reflection, Wearne & Ness created very good opportunities for us and have rarely disappointed since coming to TQ1. Both players I’d like to see extend their stays at Plainmoor until the end of the season.
HONOURABLE MENTIONS – THE YELLOW ARMY!
Once again, the Yellow Army did themselves proud in front of a dreadful crowd of 1,200 (no chance there was 2,100 Barnet!) and once again go home disappointed and frustrated with another loss. The one thing you can never question is the dedication of the Yellow Army and 244 is a great turnout considering how poor we’ve been this season. Kudos to you Yellow Army!
Dreadful and weak for both teams, although I’d say we got more of the brunt end of his officiating decisions. He laughed off the “You’re not fit to referee” chants in front of the Yellow Army and got roundly booed by the traveling fans at HT & FT. Lapslie was tackled from behind in the first half and yet nothing was given. It set the tone from there on out. One of the worst I’ve seen this season. That said for all their incompetence, the officials didn’t cost us the game, our lack of scoring ability and end product did.
4-4-2, although Jarvis was so isolated up top it might as well had been 4-5-1. It seems the 3-5-2 is in the bin but without De Silva we looked painfully slow in in attack.
Barnet have gone under the radar this season and to see them in the play-off picture is surprising. They took advantage early on and rode out the storm. Their fans gleefully chanted the “Torquay get battered” song despite them being battered by us for most of the second half (and also only scoring one goal). All that was missing on our end was a goal. I’m not sure they’ll finish in the top seven based on that performance but they kept a clean sheet whereas we didn’t (again). The play-off race looks set to be tightly contested. If only we could be involved…..
It’s another defeat and one that sees us back at the bottom of the table. No question the lads gave it a good go in the second half but the honest truth is the lads we have don’t have the ability or special spark we need to get us out of trouble. The signings of Ellis, De Silva and Ness have helped but we are such a poor side in comparison with the one we had this time last season. Gateshead’s win adds more pressure to next week’s huge game, if United can’t get the three points, it makes one wonder whether things won’t get better until major changes are made.
I won’t lie, I’m very concerned with the direction of the club is going. Many around me seem to think we have enough to get ourselves out of danger, I’m not sure. The FA Cup money must be put towards bringing in new players to elevate us, which I appreciate is easier said than done. But right now, this group isn’t cutting the mustard and to go twenty games without keeping a clean sheet is just embarrassing. Derby was fun but the league is the bread and butter and we need to turn our form around and quick, especially with games against Gateshead, Oldham and Yeovil around the corner. Keep it Yellow.