Despite His White Boots

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

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Barnet 2 Mansfield 1

Another decent win for the Bees. I seem to be a lucky charm at Underhill lately. There's a fair chance it's me because only 1700 other brave souls escaped the Christmas shopping to freeze their nuts off on the icy slope. Mansfield hit the post in the first minute and were the better side until Barnet made a vital change to their corner routine. Instead of tapping it short and blasting it into an onrushing defender, captain Ian Hendon pointedly told Jason Puncheon to "get it into the box". Hendon is not a man to argue with, especially as in this case he was immediately proved right. Ishmael Yakubu headed in and although I looked straight at the referee expecting it to be chalked off for climbing, the goal stood.

If Yakubu was an unlikely scorer, the next goal surprised all 1700 of us. Left-back Adam Gross seemed to be about to lose the ball 40 yards from the Mansfield goal when he neatly stepped inside his man, played two one-twos, surged into the box and with the entire defence converging on him, struck the ball sweetly into the corner. The entire team mobbed the scorer, with the exception of keeper Lee Harrison who very clearly made the international gesture for "we're never going to hear the end of this" to us die-hards behind the goal. It's a hard gesture to describe, but unmistakeable when you see it.

Mansfield huffed and puffed and, with their fans chanting the old "Someone Out" (there were too few of them for me to catch the name although you would have to assume it was manager Peter Shirtliff), archetypal lay-the-ball-off-and-score-thats-all-I-do lower league striker Richie Barker headed home from a well-struck dead ball routine. Barnet hung on fairly comfortably though, with the excellent Simon King reliable as ever at centre-half. He isn't the greatest with the ball at his feet but I'm sure he'd do a better job at QPR than most of the current line-up. As would Orient's Matthew Lockwood at left back.

Speaking of which, another reverse for the increasingly less super hoops, that's five on the spin with one goal to show for it. Difficult times for the Rs, and apparently still more allegations of "financial irregularities" for Paladini to deny. Rangers are right in it now, it's becoming a mini-league down at the bottom : Southend, Hull, Leeds, Barnsley, QPR and Luton are all in the thick of it. You would have to expect Leeds to pull out at some point, although it's happened to clubs nearly as "big" (I mean Man City and Forest not QPR). Oh well, what can you do.

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