Sat 16th March 1996
The old cliche runs that successful teams are those that win even
when not playing well. Against Torquay Barnet played well only in
small patches and the eventual score line flattered them, although
if several other simple chances had been taken Torquay could have
returned to Devon even more heavily beaten.
In the first half Torquay did look like a bottom of the table
team, although Barnet struggled to make them pay for their
mistakes. The first twenty minutes were a rather shapeless affair,
possesion was pretty evenly divided between the too teams, but
Barnet were looking the more likely to score.
Score is what Barnet did after twenty minutes. A throw in reached
Sean Divine in the six yard box in front of the near post. He
turned sharply and shot under the keeper from a tight angle. A
good finish, but the Newland in the Torquay goal left a gap which
shouldn't have been there.
If there was an element of luck about the first goal, the second
which arrived two minutes later was a classic counter attacking
goal. A clearance set winger Mickey Tomlinson away. He beat one
man and cut into the area, almost tripped over Alex Watson's
tackle, but somehow managed to stay on his feet and evade the
challenge of Kelly. For once Tomlinson kept his head and delayed
waiting for support before rolling a short ball across the six
yard box for Phil Simpson to flick home his first goal for the
If one man will look back on this game with less than fond
memories it will be Barnet striker Mark Cooper. Shortly after
Simpson's goal a long ball out of defence found Cooper (looking
very offside) clear of the Torquay defence. Cooper managed to keep
clear of the defenders but shot wide of the post with only the
keeper to beat.
Shortly afterwards Cooper missed again from a Gale cross which
eluded Newland but Cooper mmissed his header completely.
Unlike many games this season the ball was running for Barnet,
clearly demonstrated by the third goal. A fierce clearance struck
Alex Dyer and fell kindly for Danny Mills who took two paces
before firing in a hard low cross. Devine failed to connect but
Newlands missed the cross and Cooper was left with the simplest
tap in, unmarked at the far post. His look to the heavens and
thank you suggested that he was feeling embarrassed about the
After the break Torquay were a totally different attacking with
menace. Rodney Jack gave Alex Dyer, who as I may have mentioned
before isn't too clever as a left back, a very uncomfortable
afternoon as the Barnet defence missing the suspended Linvoy
Primus came under heavy pressure. Fortunately for Barnet,
Torquay's finishing was simply awful, despite several chances Ndah
and Baker only once threatened Taylor's goal. That one occasion
saw Taylor make an excellent save from Torquay substitute Hall.
For the first twenty minutes of the half Barnet were non existant
as an attacking force, being pinned in their own half. When they
finally did mount a significant attack Mark Cooper was responsible
for another bad miss. A through ball from Mills put both Cooper
and Divine through. Despite his lack of pace Cooper managed to
keep clear but shot wide when a simple square ball would have
given Sean Divine a tap in that was almost unmissable.
That attack did signal a more even contest, Torquay still having
the better of things but Barnet were at least mildly threatening
on the break.
Barnet's fourth goal was the result of a spell of heavy presssure.
Tomlinson cut in on the right and crossed low for Mills to shoot.
The ball hit a defender and ran loose for Simpson who had his shot
blocked. Picking up the ball again Simpson managed to work the
ball out to Tomlinson who hit an angled shot. Newland blocked the
shot but couldn't hold on and Sean Divine lifted the ball into the
rook of the net from a very tight angle.
The rest of the game was controlled by Torquay as Barnet took
their foot off the pedal, but the contest was over and Torquay
returned home beaten more heavily than they deserved.
This was a scrappy game, Torquay were very poor up until half
time, after half time they looked like a side that might yet be
able to escape from the foot of the the table, but they will have
to learn that a football match doesn't start at half time.
Outstanding individual performances were hard to find, Rodney Jack
impressed me on Torquay's left wing in the second half but
otherwise this was a game I'll enjoy for the result rather than
the performance. I like 4-0 home wins, but on this occasion the
scoreline definitely flattered Barnet.
Barnet : Taylor, Gale, Dyer, Pardew, McDonald, Howarth, Tomlinson,
Simpson (Scott), Cooper (Dunwell), Divine, Mills (Campbell)
This is the story so far.....