Despite His White Boots

Football, football, football and, if the mood takes me, more football.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Barnet 3 Rochdale 2

The only good thing about your team playing in the Friday night game is that, if you win, it's time to plump up the cushions and break out the cigars on the Saturday. "Yeees, " you say as the other teams knock heads trying to match your three points, "fight and struggle, eeexcellent". That's what I was doing metaphorically, but in reality it was a trip to Underhill where cushions and cigars alike are rare indeed.

It didn't look promising at first as both teams appeared to line up with only one striker. Even less so when Barnet gave the ball away in midfield and failed to deal with the resulting deep cross, 0-1. At this point Dale seemed to have three men around the ball constantly but with Cogan and Puncheon probing (huh huh probe) down the wings, the Bees forced their way back into the game. Five minutes before the break, Bailey evaded a couple of challenges and fed a precise pass to Kandol on the edge of the box. The striker's touch was first class, giving him time to slot past the keeper's left hand for 1-1.

Into the second half and Barnet took the lead with a classic Route One goal. Harrison's boot upfield was allowed to bounce and Kandol headed it over the recklessly onrushing keeper. It didn't quite match the long-ball nirvana achieved by Crystal Palace in the early 90s when Mark Bright scored a goal that went from his own keeper's hands to the back of the opposition net without touching the ground at any point, but it was close. Kandol missed another good chance and appeared to block a goal-bound shot from a team-mate, following which Rochdale promptly equalised with a suspiciously offside-looking far post header.

Both teams went for it after that and the later stages were surprisingly entertaining. Finally in injury time Puncheon's clever flick released the tireless Hessenthaler, and his cross was nodded in by that man Kandol for a hat-trick. Not even injury time hat-trick winning goals are exempt from FIFA's reach, and so the scorer picked up a yellow card for over-celebrating. Quite right too, the 1900-strong crowd could have been incited into a destructive rampage that would have reduced the whole of London to a smoking ruin.

So there you go, three on the spin for Barnet and Rangers. Heaven really is a place on earth after all. As for the Dale, they didn't look too bad for a team in the bottom six. They did have perhaps the biggest footballer I have ever seen. Honestly, if Peter Crouch, Jan Koller and the legendary Kevin Francis met this guy Sako, they would all say "alright mate, what's the weather like up there ?". He was huge. He didn't really have a position per se, he just sort of went to where the ball might go in the air. Needless to say he was rubbish on the deck, not because being big stops you from being skilful, it's just that anyone built like that who did have a League Two touch would automatically find himself in the Championship at least. Exhibit A for the prosecution being Marc Nygaard. No, stop. But you know what football fans are like, we have to complain about something :-)


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