Sharp finishing by Hereford United ensured that they came away from
Underhill with all three points in a game which for a long period could
have gone either way. Hereford took the lead in the first serious attack
of the game. Neil Lyne escaped the attentions of Thompson and McDonald
before putting over an inviting cross which was met at the far post by
the unmarked Gareth Stoker, who headed down and across Maik Taylor
exactly as the coaching manual describes.
Barnet responded well to this initial set back and went on to dominate
the rest of the half, creating three good chances in the ten minutes
after falling behind.
Devine's cross was miscued by Cooper but MacKenzie still had to make a
good save to prevent an equalizer. Seconds later Thompson set Devine
free down the left. Finding no Barnet in the area cut inside two players
and unleashed a fierce low drive which MacKenzie had to turn rround a
Hereford failed to clear the resulting corner properly and Lee Hodges
slipped a lovely pass through the Hereford defence for Devine to run
clear onto. The striker drew the keeper amnd found a gap but slide his
shot just the wrong side of the post.
Although Barnet were continuing to dominate the game Hereford did manage
to press forward a bit more frequently and from one of these rare
attacks a real scramble in the Barnet goal ended up with Maik Taylor
brilliantly blocking a close range shot from Steve White before
recovering to grab Cross' attempt to slot the rebound home. At the other
end Barnet were denied what looked to be a clear penalty (not to mention
a sending off) when Sean Gale's fierce shot was turned away from goal by
the hand of Tony Pounder.
Just when it looked as though Hereford would make it to half time with
an undeserved lead Barnet equalised with the last touch of the half.
Devine laying of a long ball into the path of Scott who slid a ssuperb
pass between two defenders for Lee Hodges to race onto an equalise with
a low shot - a beautifully worked goal.
The second half was a much more even affair with Hereford opening
strongly. The Barnet defence resisted the opening ten minutes of
pressure although not with out the odd alarm. Just when it looked as
though Barnet were getting settled for the second half a terrible
mistake gifted Hereford a goal. Peter Scott, not for the first time,
allowed Stoker to catch him in possession just outside the Barnet area.
An experienced player like Scott should never get caught like this.
Stoker took full advantage feed Cross who took a few strides towards
goal before shooting just as Linvoy Primus arrived to tackle.
Unfortunately the contact Primus acheived only served to deflect the
ball past Taylor who had no chance as the ball changed trajectory - the
tackle also had unfortunate consequences for Cross who took the full
force of the collision as Primus landed on him.
Finding themselves a goal down once more Barnet set out in search of
another equaliser, but this time it never looked likely while Hereford
threatened to add to their lead on a number of occasions. This they
duely did when Cross was allowed to run unchallenged in to the area
before finding Wite with a pass which should have been cut out instead
it was allowed to reach Steve White who showed all his experience to
flick the ball wide a Taylor - a fine piece of finishing.
Barnet tried hard to pull the game round but Hereford defended in
numbers and although Barnet had plenty of possesion in and around the
Hereford box there were always enough bodies between ball and goal to
ensure that Hereford held out.
Barnet had their chances and had they taken them probably would have one
this game. Having said that, all credit to Hereford who took their
chances well and on the whole defended well. Hereford were ahead for
most of the game and always defended deep and in numbers - Barnet must
have had twenty attempts on goal but at least half of those were blocked
before they got anywhere near the goal. Hereford rode their luck at
times, particularly when Pounder handled, but their second half
performance deserved some reward.
Barnet were let down by their most experienced players. Peter Scott in
particular was apalling, his assist in the goal excepted. Alan Pardew
was also guilty of giving the ball away needlessly on far too many
occasions. The best Barnet performers were Lee Hodges and home debutant
Neil Tompson who produced a fine performance in left midfield/left back
role which showed a lot of promise for the future.
Barnet : Taylor, Gale, Thompson (Campbell), Pardew, Primus, McDonald,
Hodges, Scott (Dunwell), Cooper, Devine (Robbins), Wilson