The cliché is definitely true – football is a game of two halves, and versus Lincoln, we certainly saw the best and the worst of the team. Having heard so many positive reviews post-Chester (albeit, we had an extra man for the majority of the match) and Bristol Rovers (who are hotly tipped for promotion back to the Football League), I was surprisingly optimistic and actually looking forward to my visit to The Hive. I had yet to see us lose at our new home, in fact since our relegation, we had picked up at least a point in every game I’d seen. When I saw the team line-up on Twitter en route from Stratford, I couldn’t help but still feel positive (despite no place for Luisma) and my pre-match prediction was Barnet 2-0 Lincoln.
As much as the referee and his ‘assistants’ can be blamed for countless bad decisions, we couldn’t feel hard done by when you consider the manner in which we conceded the two goals which gifted our opponents three points. Frankly, we were lucky it was only two.
We didn’t get going at all – the man-marking was non-existent and the Lincoln players had so much time and space on the ball. When we did manage to gain possession, the combination of poor passing and hesitation meant we weren’t retaining the ball enough. As far as Lincoln were well organised, good on the ball and quick to close down, we were poor. It was almost like watching a couple of seasons ago – under the likes of Sanchez or Robson. I was really looking forward to seeing the new faces in action, but in the first half, the only player of note was Charlie Mac – unfortunately, service to him was abysmal. Stephens was the only other stand-out player – he’s consistently solid.
In the second half, Allen freshened things up with Muggleton and Mauro on for Johnson and Togwell – and both were quick to make an impact. It only took 10 minutes to pull a goal back – Muggleton’s long throws into the box looked deadly and finally one paid off, KMB netting – unfortunately it was only the single consolation we managed. Gambin later came on for Lee Cook and he too looked a danger. It was just so refreshing to see the ball being played out wide, we previously played so narrow, it was impossible to create something. Going forward we became more a threat and credit has to go to Townsend in the Imps’ goal for a number of quality saves that kept their lead. Based on the second half performance, a draw would have been fair, but we gave ourselves a mountain to climb. I’ve been meaning to see if there’s any footage of the penalty shouts anywhere – two were stonewall.
On The Hive: I still can’t make my mind up about it. While the facilities are incredible and going past it on the tube, you realise how impressive the site is, the atmosphere is constantly lacking and it’s just so lifeless there. I loved my seat at Underhill as I was surrounded by decent people, The Hive is just so dull – and not least because of all the grey. This time round I sat in block B (apparently the family stand) and no one within five rows of me said anything all game – the stomping of the feet on the metal floor of the stand was a complete ear-sore. But for the torrential rain, I’d have been there today – I want to take dad to see the new signings in action. Another good result, against a team that were in the relegation places last campaign. I feel the next real test will come next month, when we travel to Forest Green...