Beesotted contributor Craig Whitehead was at Barnet’s (fake) Hive for Brentford’s pulsating FA Cup fourth round encounter
On a cold Monday night, 1822 Brentford fans made the 11 mile journey across London to watch the Bees take on Barnet of the National League in an 4th round FA Cup tie that had fans on the end of their seats for most of the match.
This was Barnet’s 6th match of their FA Campaign so far – starting by beating Braintree in the FA Cup 4th qualifying round before knocking out Maidstone, Stockport, Bristol Rovers (after a replay) and Sheffield United.
This was The Bees’ second visit to The Hive – Barnet’s new stadium that they moved to in 2014 after 106 years at Underhill. The first visit was a friendly in 2014 that ended up 5-1 to the real Bees. It’s an impressive little stadium for a team in the National league. But did they really need to charge £5 for a 72 page programme?
The team selected by my Thomas Frank showed five changes from the squad that beat Rotherham 4-2 over nine days before. Once the game got underway, it was Barnet that had more of the early opportunities, restricting Brentford to short balls and shots outside of the area. Barnet set themselves up with two banks of four early on in the game, making it hard for The Bees to break them down and find any free space to exploit.
As the game went on, the Bees started to dominate possession and in the 23rd minute Moses Odubajo cut inside on the edge of the box and unleashed a fierce left footed shot which hit the far post and rebounded out.
Moments later, Barnet had the opportunity to take the lead when from a corner when Sweeney connected with the ball with Luke Daniels pulling off a spectacular save.
As the game progressed, the game became more flowing but it was The Bees that took the lead six minutes before half time. Watkins picked the ball up in the Barnet half before advancing to just outside of the box and unleashing a powerful shot that passed the Barnet goalkeeper Huffer.
One nil up at half time. But Barnet had shown to be a team with a decent game plan with every chance of scoring against us.
The second half got underway and it was Barnet who seemed up more for this cup tie. Within 5 minutes of the re-start they were back in the game. Mason Clark crossed for Coulthirst who took one touch before slotting the ball past Daniels to make the score 1-1.
Two minutes later Brentford fell behind searching for an equaliser. Barnet were ahead after a scramble in the box and with The Bees unable to clear the ball, a shot by Fonguck for Barnet was blocked and Colthirst scored his second of the night. Barnet had taken the lead. 2-1.
Could we be facing a FA Cup upset against the fake Bees?
Brentford pressed hard to get back into the game. And it was McEachran who found Watkins on the right wing before beating Barnet defender Tutonda and then going down under a challenge. We looked across to see the refreee had pointed to the spot. A soft penalty? Probably. But it swings both ways.
Surprisingly it wasn’t Watkins but the leading goalscorer Maupay who stepped up for the kick and slotted the ball passed the right hand of the diving Barnet keeper. Brentford then made our first substitute of the match – about ten minute too late in my mind – with Sawyers coming on for DaSilva who in my mind had had a very poor game.
The next ten minutes of so flowed with The Bees and Barnet exchanging half-chances at either end without coming to much.
With Dalsgaard subbed off for Henry, Brentford grabbed their third goal of the night on 72 minutes. Great link up play between Maupay and Dalgaard put Canos through on goal who managed to his evade his marker and slide the ball through the keeper’s leg and put Brentford ahead once again.
Could Brentford hold on for the next 18 minutes and face Swansea in the next round?
A few minutes later, Coulthirst was bought down just outside the penalty box. Up stepped Sparkes – who had an impressive game for Barnet – and curled a free kick over our defence and in off the underside of the crossbar. Brentford rolled the dice shortly after bringing on Benrahma for Watkins for the last 11 minutes of the game.
The Bees pressed on to find a winner in the last 10 minutes but were thwarted time and time again by a resolute Barnet defence. Brentford seemed to lay siege to Barnet’s goal in the final minutes but to no avail with the match finishing up three goals apiece.
The replay takes place next Tuesday 5th February at Griffin Park. The winner will meet Swansea in the next round on the weekend of 16th February.Whilst the result may not have gone our way, it was a decent away day and Brentford were backed by a decent amount of fans who made the short hop across London for this tie.
The Hive is a small stadium in the area of Canon’s Park in a very built up residential area. Matchday parking is a nightmare and I would advise if we ever meet them again, to take a train to get out of the area quicker.
At the stadium there were plenty of reasonably priced food and drink options (the vegetarian Bees amongst us may disagree with you there Craig – Ed). The Bees fans were situated in an impressive new stand behind the goal. Despite the stand being open for over a year, it’s highly unlikely many clubs will have rival Brentford fans for the noise they made in it this game.
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