So for those of you that don’t know, from time to time I get the opportunity to interview the Barnet captain to get his thoughts leading up to our next home game. It’s been a great chance to showcase some of the skills I learnt whilst studying for a journalism degree, as well as doing something that not only interests me, but is also a passion of mine. I started helping out last season, when our captain was Glen Southam. This season, our captain is Mark Hughes. Here is my first instalment for Look Black n Amber – seen in the match day programme for the Morecambe game last Saturday.
"It seems a while since we played Rotherham at home, with a couple of away games in the meantime. I thought we started that game well, creating chances and we got the early goal through Byrner. At the end of the first half though, having such a narrow lead always means you’re prone to throw that away, and had we been further ahead at the break, I think we would have got all three points. With Ricky and Izale in the side, always going forward, we had a fair few opportunities to extend our lead. As it was, Rotherham had a good spell in the second half, getting that equalising goal, and once we got reduced to ten men the game clearly swung in their favour. It was definitely a game of two halves. At the end of it though, I think we were all happy to get a point – they put us under the cosh a fair bit – but I think we played well with a man down, especially given the way we capitulated against Bradford previously.
We went into the Gillingham game the following Tuesday feeling positive and confident. Again, I believe we started well and created chances – when you have players of our quality going forward, you’re always more than capable of getting goals! Again we went into the break with a narrow one-goal lead, despite having chances to kill the game off before half time. Gillingham are a good side going forward, and there always seems to be a hatful of goals in their games. Once they got their equaliser quickly in the second half, we flapped a bit. Our heads didn’t drop when they got their second, but after scoring a third in quick succession it was definitely game over! Like the rest of the squad, I was frustrated at the end of the game because we hadn’t played badly, in fact I think it was one of our better performances of late – the scoreline definitely didn’t reflect the way we played!
We went into Saturday’s game against Port Vale knowing we needed to forget about the defeat at Priestfield, and if we played half as well as that, would be likely to get a result. We hadn’t been in good form, so to win our first game since the end of January was such a relief, and a real confidence boost for the boys! It’s always nice to score a winner in the final minutes of a match, and given the manner we have been conceding recently, it was good to finally have that little bit of luck. Ben scored on his debut, but I’d like to say congratulations to Andy for getting his first goal for the club – he came off the bench and was in the right place at the right time, with his first touch of the game! Hopefully now they’ll both get a couple more goals as well.
With Ben in the side now, and a couple of the youngsters coming off the bench, there is definitely competition in the side for places. We didn’t know until Friday that Ben was joining us – I’m not sure how long he’d known either. He was on the bench on Wednesday for Stevenage, so it was a case of White Hart Lane to Vale Park in four days. But we were all delighted he managed to get on the score sheet in his first game, and I’m sure he was as well – particularly on his birthday! He just wants to get the opportunity to play first team football.
We are expecting a test today against Morecambe; they’re a big, strong side with tonnes of experience, whereas we are a much younger side with players wanting to prove themselves. That doesn’t make them better than us though. We won 1-0 in the reverse fixture so I’m sure they’ll be looking to put one over on us this afternoon. Hopefully Pricey doesn’t cause us too many problems after Obita scored for Gillingham in that midweek game, although he’ll be wanting to show what the club missed out on! Going into games, we always look at how we fared in the previous match, so to win and ‘do the double’ over Morecambe would be very pleasing. A win would see us hit the 40 point marker, which would also drag a couple of teams back into the scrap again.
Enjoy the game"
Mark Hughes was talking to Lucy Waldon