For Barnet supporters this was a highly disappointing game. Gilliingham looked
well equiped to escape the 3rd division. While they did not look as good a
footballing side as Carlisle last season, Gillingham won the points at
Underhill far more easily.
Barnet opened brightly with Tomlinson beating a couple of men a *** over a
dangerous centre which Jim Stannard in the Gillingham goal just caught the ball
before Mark Cooper arrived.
Gillingham soon attacked started to build their attacks and in the fifth minute
Bailey should have scored the opening goal when he headed wide from four yards
at the far post after an excellent cross had left him with an open goal.
Gillingham were first to every ball and they began to probe intelligently at a
Barnet defence which never really looked as though it was going to cope. Jamie
Campbell at left back looked all at sea as Bailey and Fortune West's
intelligent running pulled the defence all over the place. It was no suprise
when a raid directly through the middle of the Barnet defence resulted in a
goal for Gillingham. Peter Scott missed a tackle, Dennis Bailey headed into a
gap between Barnet's central defenders and laid on a simple tap in for Kevin
Barnet responded with a spell of possession but never really looked like they
believed they were going to score. Peter Scott was not to far away with a long
range shot but otherwise the Gillingham goal was not threatened. At this early
stage the tally of bookings for inconsequential things started to mount.
On the half hour mark Dougie Freedman won Barnet a penalty cutting in from the
flank beating three players before being tripped as he approached a shooting
angle. With Paul Wilson injured the responsibility fell to Alan Pardew,
unfortunately he scuffed a weak shot towards the goal where Jim Stannard made a
comfortable save. It was possibly the worst on target penalty I have ever seen.
Somehow it seemed from that moment on that it was not to be Barnet's night.
The majority of the possesion lay with Barnet, but they lacked the imagination
to break down a well organised defence. Freedman tried to win another penalty
but on this occasion was quite rightly booked for taking a dive.
After the break Barnet did finally manage to look threatening. For twenty
minutes they passed the ball around well probing for a weakness in the
Gillingham defence, but the chances did not come, thanks do superb performances
by the Gillingham back four. On a number of occasions the ball simply would not
run for Barnet. The bookings tally continued to mount on both sides, few
incidents meriting a card.
Just when it looked as though Barnet might save a point Gillingham struck
again. Campbell gave away a free kick for a foul on Bailey twenty five yards
out. Gillingham left back Dominic Naylor, a former Barnet player, stuck a
superb curling free kick with gave Taylor in the Barnet goal no chance.
This was adding insult in injury as "Stumpy" Naylor must have ben the weakest
link in Barnet's side during our first two football league campaigns and he
never ever threatened to score a league goal.
Barnet's night declined further when Peter Scott was sent off for a second
bookable offence. It was inevitable with the number of yellow cards handed out
that sooner or later someone would get a second. Scott was very unlucky - both
cautions were for late tackles, but neither tackle was malicious or dangerous
and neither really meritted a card. The game fizzled out after the sending off
into a drab featureless affair and I was grateful for the final whistle.
I was impressed with Gillingham (albeit grudgingly), they worked very very
hard to win the ball back when Barnet where in possesion and in Bailey and
Fortune West they haveobvious potential for a considerable number of goals.
The game was spoilt as a spectacle by the referee. I think the final card count
was four*** (including the two for Scott) most for marginal offences. I cannot
in honesty claim the referee cost Barnet the match - Gillingham were clearly
the better side, but his decisions were inconsistent, petty and often simply
wrong. Gillingham suffered just as much as Barnet and a number of their players
were booked for trivial things. A quite dreadful display of refereeing.
I can't say any body stood out for Barnet although Tomlinson made some good
runs on the wing and Sean Gale recovered to have a solid game at right baack of
a shaky start.
Barnet : Taylor, Gale, Campbell, Pardew, Primus, Thomas, Tomlinson, Freedman,
Hodges, Cooper, Scott.
They say the king is watching his back again
They say the king is losing his grip again
Raging like a bull to an empty ring
D'you think they will forgive a hero anything ? Gazpacho, Afraid of Sunlight