Barnet labour to 3-1 win over 10 man Altrincham.
On the day when Altrincham keeper Stuart Coburn equalled the all-time appearance record for The Robins, Alty suffered a 3-1 defeat to Barnet with the shot stopper beaten within the first 5 minutes.
Tom Marshall was adjudged to have fouled Barnet striker John Akinde in the fourth minute, with the referee not only awarding a penalty but sending off the Altrincham defender. The big Barnet striker dusted himself down to step up and take the penalty himself sending Coburn the wrong way and giving Barnet a one goal lead.
With a man advantage and Barnet already a goal to the good, you’d imagine a long afternoon lay ahead for the home side, and when Barnet doubled the lead on the half hour mark through Michael Gash those fears were almost realised.
Alty skipper Shaun Densmore gave away a free-kick on the Barnet left which was fizzed into the box where Gash got the final touch in the crowded penalty area to deflect the ball past a helpless Coburn.
With Altrincham now 2-0 down and two thirds of the game to play a similar 5-0 score line to the reverse fixture in September was on the cards, however Alty dug deep and refused to be downbeat and approaching half-time had chances to get back into the game, none more clear cut than a penalty in the last minute of the half.
Kyle Perry was causing all kinds of trouble to the Barnet defence and when he was played through, Bondz N’Gala bundled him over in similar fashion to the earlier incident in which Barnet were awarded a penalty themselves. This time N’Gala was only awarded a yellow card and it was left to Nicky Clee to reduce the arrears for Alty with a spotkick in first-half injury time, unfortunately for Nicky and the fans behind the goal, his kick was blasted high over the crossbar and with that the referee blew the whistle for the half-time break.
Half-Time: Altrincham 0-2 Barnet
The second half saw a substitution for Barnet with N’Gala replaced by Jack Saville, no doubt due to the problems Perry was causing N’Gala and being cautioned early on but not for the penalty, Martin Allen probably thought best to make a change.
Barnet who were probably adjusting to the change at the back saw Altrincham reduce the deficit within 3 minutes of the restart. Top scorer Damian Reeves pulled one back with a low shot from inside the area and gave Alty belief a comeback was on.
However their hopes were dashed just past the hour mark as Gash headed a third for Barnet after a quickly taken free-kick inside their own half caught Altrincham out, a cross from the left found Gash and his header wrong footed the hapless Coburn who could only watch as the ball bounced into the back of the net.
A double sub for Alty with just over 10 minutes to play saw fresh legs and a new belief they could get back into the game, twice Reeves went close, with one effort cleared off the line by Barnet defender David Stephens. Alas it wasn’t to be and Barnet saw out the remaining minutes to claim the 3 points and earn their first win in four on the road.
A valiant effort from The Robins, especially playing the majority of the match with 10 men. You couldn’t help but wonder what could have been had they kept 10 men on the field and Nicky Clee had scored the penalty on the stroke of half-time.
Manager Lee Sinnott was delighted with the players effort if not the result and if a few decisions had not gone against them believed they could have got something from the game.