Monday, 27 February 2012

Two minutes with… Shrewsbury Town

A little bit of a delay getting it written up, but the last visitors to Underhill over a week ago were promotion-hopefuls, Shrewsbury Town. The Bees run of being unbeaten this calendar year in the League was finally ended, with Salop taking all three points. Soccer AM star, and Shrews fan, Steve Bradford tells me about the match and his experience at Underhill. You can follow Bradders on Twitter @bradders1stfc

Barnet 1–2 Shrewsbury Town
(McLeod ’48 – Kamdjo ’45+1 (og), Collins ’74)
Attendance: 2,046 (away: 457)

How did you get to the game?
Travelled down Friday on the train courtesy of Sky as a group of us were appearing on sky's soccer AM the following day, hotel in Brentford was also paid for so that was ideal.

What did you do pre-match?
We finished the soccer AM broadcast at mid day and then had taxis (again paid for by Sky) to take us to Underhill. Spent a couple of hours drinking in The Old Red Lion pub near the ground – decent size pub, but seemed to be away fans only so didn't really mix with any Barnet fans.

Where did you sit/stand in the ground?
I Stood up in the away terrace at the side of the ground. An average terrace with fairly low roof, which I was glad to have as we had some of the worst rain I have ever encountered at a football match! Cats and dogs springs to mind!

What did you make of the game?
With the conditions very poor the game wasn't the best I have seen, however Shrewsbury coped well enough and dominated the game for large periods and ran out fairly comfortable winners 2-1.

Was the scoreline a fair reflection?
Just about right I would say, Barnet had a couple of moments but Shrewsbury were in control for the majority of the game and deserved the three points.

Who, in your opinion was man of the match?
Matt Richards for me: worked hard as usual, making tackles, breaking up play and keeping the ball moving. Richards also was the provider for Shrewsbury's first goal, an own goal by a Barnet defender.

Who do you play next and how do you think you'll get on?
Having already played Swindon since visiting Underhill (rather not talk about that one), we host Crawley Town at the New Meadow on Monday night, the game is also live on Sky Sports! Prediction - 2-1 Salop win!! Come on you blues!!

Thanks Bradders

And you can read my match report, here

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Match Report: Barnet 1–2 Shrewsbury Town (Barnet Fan’s Perspective)

The 2012 unbeaten run came to an end last weekend as the Bees lost to the Shrews at Underhill, 2-1. It won’t be a game to be remembered though, with some awful playing conditions which didn’t help in any way.
The away side proved why they are hopefuls for promotion, sitting pretty in the play-offs, attacking from the off with shots raining in on Dean Brill’s goal; Jon Taylor and James Collins going closest. It took a while for the Bees to get into the game, with Shrewsbury’s dominance, controlling possession and looking a threat; with Izale McLeod in the side, attacking chances were likely to arrive. Jordan Obita, on-loan from Reading was a particular highlight: tricks and pace down the wing and a number of beautiful deliveries into the box, unfortunately to no avail.

And it was Shrewsbury that were to go ahead, before half time, after some continuous pressure. McAllister was the man fouled, and a free kick whipped in from the right hand side by Matt Richards evaded all Town’s players and off the head of Clovis Kamdjo for an own goal. Kamdjo could have so easily been the hero just minutes earlier, a free header from a corner – the closest the Bees had gone all half.

Whatever Sanchez said at half time obviously worked as with little over a minute of the second period on the clock, top scorer, Izale McLeod netted – an assist from Ricky Holmes after his attempted shot was blocked by the Shrews’ defender.
With that you’d think the home side would be in the ascendancy and continue to press, given such a quick equaliser. However it was Shrewsbury that largely controlled the second half. In stark contrast, the Bees barely turned up – whether that was because of the conditions is yet to be seen, although at half time there was a torrential downpour. Possibly the worst conditions I’ve ever seen at a football match, you had to feel particularly sorry for the handful of fans standing on the uncovered North Terrace behind the goal, many of which, didn’t have umbrellas!

The winner came on 75 minutes – James Collins with the Shrews’ second goal: a cross steered past Brill after some brilliant build-up play. With little time remaining on the clock, Salop continued to keep hold of the ball and although McLeod could have easily got his, and the Bees’ second goal of the game with an overhead kick, it lacked any real power and went wide. Shrewsbury were good money for the victory though, and tried to keep the ball as far away from their own half as much as they could.

A game of two halves I suppose you could say, but Barnet could have no real complaints about being the losing side.

 Attendance: 2,046 (away: 457)

Starting line-ups:
Barnet – Brill; Hajrovic, Dennehy, Downing, Saville; Deering, Hughes, Kamdjo, Obita; Holmes, McLeod

Shrewsbury Town – Neal; Grandison, Jacobson, Sharps, Regan; Wright, Taylor, McAllister, Richards; Collins, Gornell

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Two minutes with… a ‘The 92’ special

In a spin-off to the usual ‘Two minutes with…’ which delves into the minds of opposing fans visiting Underhill, I have been lucky enough to find one of my Twitter followers, Bolton fan, Joe Gibbons – the genius behind ‘Gibbo’s 92’. If you haven’t heard of it already, it basically is an insight into all the football grounds of all 92 Football League clubs (with a couple of Non-League thrown in along the way!). Anyway, Joe was at Barnet on Saturday for the Shrewsbury game, and I was able to catch up with him after the game to grab his thoughts.

What made you initially decide to do ‘The 92’?
My Dad mentioned the concept of ‘The 92’ in passing conversation one night. I was only aged nine at the time and thought it was a ridiculous thing to do! Why would I want to travel around the country watching other teams when I have the best team in the world on my back door step in Bolton Wanderers?
It was February 2009 and my Dad took me to a match at Turf Moor, Burnley. From that day on I was hooked and couldn’t wait to visit more grounds! I have been going to about one a month since. I enjoy meeting other football fans and taking my Bolton shirt to as many stadiums as possible!
How did you come to a decision about the order in which you visit each ground?
I haven’t got an order at all. It is totally random.
Stadiums which won’t be around for much longer take priority... which is why I was at Underhill on Saturday! You can usually find me on an away trip with my local teams: Bolton, Bury and Wigan.
What did you do pre-match and where did you stand/sit once in the ground?
I set off from my hometown of Atherton – a small place found right in between Bolton and Wigan – at around 09:00. I then caught the train from Manchester Piccadilly to Euston before dashing to Waterloo to check into a hotel.
I then topped up my Oyster Card – yes, a Northerner with an Oyster Card. Shock I know! Arriving at High Barnet I rather enjoyed jogging down Barnet hill, well worth another visit!
After taking a few photos and speaking to a few locals it was time to go in. I was stood in the East Terrace South. I was surprised at how many people were stood in the East Terrace... there were a few comedians there as well. Underhill reminded me somewhat of one of the rugby stadiums you find in Yorkshire.
What did you make of the game and was the scoreline a fair reflection?
It was a game of two halves really, whether the sloping pitch had anything to do with it we will never know. I was very impressed with Barnet in the first half and the stand out performer for me was Jordan Obita. He is one of the best young wingers I have seen on my travels alongside the two Bennett brothers – now of Norwich and Doncaster.
 In contrast I was very disappointed by the performance of Izale McLeod who never really got involved in the match.
In the second half Barnet couldn’t string together their passes, and Obita was non-existent on the left. Shrewsbury deserved the three points as they dominated in the second half.
What did you make of Underhill as an overall experience?
I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Barnet. The locals didn’t understand my accent, but after we had dealt with the language barriers I had a great day. I wasn't too impressed with the food available. As I am educated in Wigan I know a good pie when I see one, and unfortunately for Barnet, Pukka doesn't cut it for me anymore.
 I really liked how easy it was to reach Underhill from Central London.
 I love the more traditional grounds, and for that reason I put Underhill in my top 5 so far.
Which ground are you visiting next?
I am off to Charlton v Stevenage next weekend. I’ll have to get a house down here soon!

Thanks Joe

You can of course follow Joe on Twitter @JoeBillGibbo, and check out his blog ‘Gibbo’s 92’ for all things Football League: stadium reviews, photos and of course the most important part, pies!

Are you planning on visiting Underhill as part of a ground hop soon? To appear on ‘Two minutes with…’ contact me on Twitter @Lucy_BFC

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Match Report: Barnet 2–0 Crewe Alexandra (Barnet Fan’s Perspective)

Still unbeaten in 2012, with four wins on the bounce, victory against Crewe Alexandra last weekend was made all the more easier by the dismissal of two of the Alex’s players in the first half. Had it been 11 v 11 it could have been a very different game against a decent side pushing for the play-offs.
It was the visitors who started the better of the two, straight out of the traps, keeping possession well and creating a number of chances. Byron Moore came close to scoring in the opening 15 minutes, hitting a shot wide into the side netting – the away fans believed they were a goal to the good. More excellent play on the wing led to a second chance minutes later – Moore this time with the delivery, but Greg Pearson missed the target.
It’s fair to say the Railwaymen should have been winning, completely dominating the game in all areas. However, the Bees had a decent chance before the half hour – in form Ricky Holmes crossing in a dangerous ball, without any kind of end product. And it was the home side that were to take the lead on the half hour mark. Sam Deering with a volleyed through ball to Izale McLeod, who was brought down in the penalty box. A red card for Crewe’s David Artell, who could have little complaints, being the last man. McLeod duly stepped up and scored his sixteenth League goal of the season from the spot.
Crewe continued to try and play possession football, creating chances to get back into the game; their chances came to an end though, with a second dismissal just before half time. Adam Dugdale the offender, a rash challenge on Ricky Holmes. From where I was sat, a yellow would have sufficed, but after watching back on various replays, the challenge looks worse every time, and a red was probably justified – studs showing.
It’s fair to say the sendings off affected Alex, and the second half was all about the home side, trying to make the two man advantage count and increase the deficit. New loan signing Obita came on for the final 35 minutes and soon proved he could replace the provisionally-suspended, Mark Marshall – with tricks and pace in abundance. The second and final goal of the game was scored with just over 10 minutes to play: another delightful cross from Holmes, and a goal for Reading loanee Michael Hector, capping off an excellent performance. He had been playing in an unfamiliar role as right back, but got forward at every opportunity.
Not the best of performances from the Bees, obviously helped by a number of refereeing decisions. On reflection the Alex can’t have too many complaints about the sendings off, and were, for proportions of the game, the better side.

Attendance: 2,263 (away: 336)

Starting line-ups:
Barnet: Brill; Hector, Dennehy, Downing, Saville; Deering, Hughes, Kamdjo, Byrne; Holmes, McLeod.
Crewe Alexandra: Phillips; Tootle, Davis, Artell, Dugdale; Westwood, Murphy, Lowry, Moore; Powell, Pearson