Barnet 0, Mansfield 0
by Martin Shaw at Underhill
This was a very quiet game in a subdued atmosphere. Not many home fans turned up and the 100 or so Stags fans were generally quiet, though tried to raise the team especially during the second half. But in the end, neither side really looked like breaking the deadlock and so it was another blank score sheet for the Stags.
Barnet`s ground is surely one of the worst in the football league. The Stags` fans were congregated in the seating behind one goal and there were also a handful of Stags` fans in the family stand down one side. I travelled down to the game after a week`s holiday in Derbyshire and arrived at the ground at about 2:20. You could have been excused for thinking that there was no football match going to take place. After meeting my brother, who lives just a couple of miles from the ground, and my dad, we entered the ground - at least there were some people in the ground - the players warming up on the pitch!
Mansfield made one change from the team that lost at home to Halifax, with Schofield replacing Clarke in midfield. There was also a positional change with Ford starting at right wing back and Williams in midfield. Later, when Harper was withdrawn, Williams switched to left wing back. Finally, when Ford was withdrawn, Williams switched to right wing back and Tallon came on to left wing back.
In the first half, Stags only had one shot at goal - a fierce shot by Kerr that was well parried by the Barnet keeper. Mansfield were more or less untroubled apart from one incident where Barnet had two clear shots but wasted them.
The second half was more lively for the Stags and the introduction of Clarke for Harper gave much more zip in midfield. In fact, Clarke had Stags` best chance when he shot just wide with the outside of his right boot from about 15 yards. Peacock had a couple of opportunities including one shot that crashed into the seat next to me and knocked over my cup of Coca Cola. Lormor also had one shot that he blazed wide. However, in truth, whilst it didn`t look like Barnet were likely to score, it didn`t seem very likely that we would score either.
Basically, Stags weren`t quite able to up their game enough from recent poor performances to sneak this one. At the end of the day, we did not quite have enough fire power. Earlier in the season, we would probably have been quite happy with a point, but today we needed three.
I was astonished to hear afterwards John Still, the Barnet manager, say that this was one of Barnet`s best performances of the season. Either he watched a different game from me or Barnet have had a truly dire season.
Overall, a good defensive performance from the Stags and the midfield was better than the last two home performances. Allardyce, Linighan and Willis barely put a foot wrong defensively though once again, their distribution was not good. Ian Bowling had a good game when needed, collecting crosses assertively and a few good saves, though he did give away one corner stupidly when he tried to trap a back pass and it ended up going past him. In midfield, Williams had a quiet game but Schofield and Kerr put in an improved show. Pick of the bunch in midfield though was substitute Clarke who started to make things happen when he came on. Up front Peacock had a fairly quiet game and Lormor worked hard. One again, for me, it was disappointing to see Lormor withdrawn and replaced by Christie when we needed to be more positive in going for the three points. Christie looked quite lively but scuffed one good chance wide. Doolan played for Barnet in central midfield but was virtually anonymous.
Depending on how the other results go, we may well need to win the last 4 to make the play-offs. The next two games for Swansea, on Sunday and Wednesday, will be crucial for us.
Christie (for Lormor) 6
Clarke (for Harper) 8
Tallon (for Ford) 6