A lovely summers evening saw Barnet of the Conference take on Brentford in a pre-season friendly at their new ground “The Hive”.
A fair splatter of Bees were out in force to catch a blimps of the new signings in action. Meanwhile Barnet had in their ranks ex Bees Charlie McDonald and John Akinde.
Slightly disappointing that Barnet didn’t take the term ‘friendly’ in the true spirit of the term. Normally with pre-season friendlies, supporters mingle together. Sit where they want. They even change ends at half time to be down the end where their team are scoring. And they drink together in the bar before and after the match and exchange banter.
Barnet obviously had some intelligence that there was to be an Arsenal v Tottenham-style show-down as they insisted in segregating both sets of supporters before, during and after the game – relegating Brentford fans to (quite literally) a hole in the wall overlooking the jubilee line to drink in … while the home fans mingled in the luxury of the “other” bar the Bees were barred from entering. Cheers!!!!
Maybe this is a sign of things to come in The Championship … But you wouldn’t expect it for a pre-season match at (with all due respect … With the drum and all that) Barnet. If AFC Wimbledon with their Division 2 status can welcome home and away fans in the same bar no problem, surely it shouldn’t be an issue for Barnet.
The game started with a fairly familiar line up. NewBees Pritchard and Gray lined up in a team that also featured Diagouraga, Yennaris and Dallas – all remaining players being ‘first string’ players.
Barnet caused the Bees a few problems early in the game and eventually went ahead from a Charlie McDonald goal after a mistake in the defence by Tony Craig. But a well taken goal from Jake Reeves followed by a brace from the impressive Alan Judge saw the Bees go 3-1 up at half time.
The second half saw a raft of subs come on. Tarkowski and Calvet formed an interesting centre-back pairing. O’Shaughnessy (“who?” everyone asked) came on for Yennaris. Bonham came on for Button and kept a clean sheet. Tebar came on for Douglas. Triallist Smith came on for Pritchard. Odubaju came on for Dallas. And Hogan came on for Gray.
And in this half, Brentford looked much more in control and dangerous with Gray and Montell Moore adding to the scoreline. Kev O’Connor even had the luxury of putting a penalty over the stands to keep the score respectable. To be honest, it could have been 9 or 10 to the Bees. Reeves hit the crossbar and Barnet keeper Stack made good saves from Dallas, Moore and Gray to keep the score respectable.
Catching a chat with Adam Forshaw at half time (click here for the interview), this game was all about fitness for the Bees and giving the new boys a good work out. Trying out a few new formations.
But how did the new look Brentford fare?
Bidwell did an excellent job of tearing down the wing delivering crosses. Whereas Pritchard looked class on the ball and with his attacking runs. Toumani had a great game in midfield and set up Alan Judge’s first goal. Alan Judge showed what a class signing he is. His quality and composure on the ball is fantastic. And two well taken goals – the dink was class. Gray looked lively up front. Will be interesting to see him against Championship defenders – he’s a player to beat the last man for sure.
Montell Moore had a good game. He was lively, looked to get involved and proved a bit of a handful for the Barnet defence. Odubajo was brought down for the penalty and needless to say, defenders won’t look forward to seeing him careering towards him. Smith looked like a battler. To be honest, the funniest thing was working out exactly who was playing out there .. With no names on the backs .. And team sheet .. It turned out to be a bit of a giggle.
The defence looked patchy in parts with a lot of Barnet’s attacks in the first half coming down Brentford’s right hand side (Yennaris) .. And Harlee Dean still getting back to full match fitness after his injury. But it’s a pre-season work-out. And speaking to fans after the game, they all stated that they would much prefer fringe players like Yennaris and Dallas and Montell Moore to be given a full work out in each of these friendlies so that they could get more much needed game experience under their belts and add to our impressive strength in depth.
So roll on Nice. I have actually had the pleasure to have seen Nice play against PSG at the Parc de Princes a few years back (click here for video). It was lively to say the least. If Nice fans decide they fancy a wee weekend in London, it could turn out to be a fun afternoon.