Barnet 1 – Bristol Rovers 1

by on 17/04/07 at 3:59 pm

Stood On A Box reports from that there London.

It was 24 degrees, the pitch was sloping, and there was a crowd of a couple of thousand. A bit like watching the final of the weekly football competition at Butlin's.

We were on the left hand side looking down the slope, with the sun in our eyes and creeping lower as the match went on so that the crowd moved further and further back in to the stand. The Barnet fans opposite sat in a stand that made me think of Eastville, and the North Stand in particular.

Rovers started with the looky-likies up-front, Lambert and Walker, Sammy and fit-again Lord Anthony on the bench, and Jacobson and CC at full back.

Barnet were lively for the first couple of minutes, after which they resorted to ineffectual hoofball while Rovers drifted in and out of our good passing football. After about 20 minutes, with Rovers dominating but not pushing hard, we won a free kick outside the box on the left. A pin-point delivery met Tricky Dicky's bonce and the ball was in the back of the net. 1-0 and, though we hadn't had many chances, we were worth it.

The match continued in a similar vein until around the 35th minute, when Barnet suddenly turned up. A few good moves led to a couple of good chances, before they won a free-kick outside the box slightly to the right of the middle. (Thank f*ck we've got) Stevie Phillips didn't see it, or at least he didn't move, and the ball sailed into the top of the net with almost the final kick of the half.

So one-all at half-time in the sunshine. It should have been exciting, but it was a strangely passionless game.

All that changed soon after the re-start, when Aaron Lescott went in for a 50-50 with, like the Barnet bloke, his foot up. The Bee came off worst, and it looked nailed on for a booking, when suddenly the ref waved the red. In a generally well-behaved game, the ref had until then done well, but the Andy d'Urso look-at-me factor suddenly seemed to have got hold of him.

Rovers had been playing well for about 10 minutes, when the wind was sucked out of their sails. Now it was down to ten men, playing away from home, and kicking up the slope.

Lord Byron came on and 10 minutes later was on the floor in obvious pain. We all worried about his knee, but a few tender words from Kitey had him back on his feet and wanting to run away again.

Sammy came on for Lewis, who seemed to have had even more trouble controlling his dribble either up or down a slope than he always does anyway on the flat, and Sammy made an unimpressive cameo for the last 20 minutes.

The Geordie came on for Tricky, and covered a lot of ground, but again we seemed to lack the bite upfront without Walker's ability to hold up and shape the play.

Rovers huffed and puffed enough, but didn't really get the rub of the green. We're a funny team – big lumps like Elliot and Lambert look like a couple of weeks of pie-evasion wouldn't go amiss, playing alongside matchstick waifs in Dis, Campbell, Jacobson and Igoe.

Playing against 10, Barnet transformed themselves from the hoofers of the first half into a team that moved the ball quickly on the ground (unlike Rovers, who never move it quickly, but it can be very pretty). But either MOTM Stevie Phillips denied them, or they sprayed it near but not into the net.

Overall, it was a decent point away from home that still might, since the other results have been reasonably kind, be enough.

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