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Defensive Woes Continue
Is it good enough? By: Eric Hitchmo 20/09/2011
Oxford United
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League 17/09/2011
2011-2012 Attendance: 2812 (1014)
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Our apologies for our slackness of late. For clarity, I speak on behalf of the website, not Barnet's first team. It is the performance of the latter which has left the inspiration to write anything rather low unfortunately. It looks at present as if we are well on our way to another mediocre season, where we having to rely on the inabilities of other teams to keep us away from the drop zone.

Perhaps that is painting a far to negative a picture at this early stage of the season, but all the hallmarks of a disappointing year are there. This Saturday past vs. Oxford, we looked pretty comfortable for half an hour without really troubling ourselves, however if there was to be anyone to take the lead it looked like it would be us. Indeed, we had a goal disallowed in rather unfortunate circumstances when Daniel Leach's shot struck a Barnet arm before heading into the net. A tough decision, as it wasn't intentional but it was most certainly interefering with play, so you can see why the goal was not given.

Soon after though, we went to sleep twice and found ourselves 2-0 down before we knew it. Two very slack pieces of defending from our part and we were punished, giving ourselves a completely avoidable mountain to climb. Both strikes, from Heslop and Davis were well taken, yes, but the situations once again arose from moves so simple that it does make you wonder what we do in training. It would be fair to say that injuries have prevented us from fielding what is most probably our strongest back four, with Leach and Dennehy in the middle, but is that going to stem the seemingly endless flow of goals that are flying past us?

And as for going forward, we seem to be OK with arguably the league's most potent striker in our ranks, but if he doesn't perform, then who else have we got, especially when there seems to be an insistence on picking Charlie Taylor? I'm not sure what it is that has suggested Taylor can cut it at League level. I mean, it's not his fault, he runs an awful lot and would gain an 'A' for effort, but to me he just doesn't look like scoring or being overly involved in the game. Steve Kabba has been injured and you would naturally assume that he would slot in, and we have just bought in Lloyd Owusu, so the calibre we had on the bench on Saturday, when you consider Sam Deering was also there, was very good, it's just that it took 45 minutes and two goals conceded for us to want to utilise it. Team selection seems to be a gripe of many at the moment, not least myself.

Oxford were able to hold their lead comfortably having not had to work all that to gain it in the first period. The damage was done, and the more cynical amongst us were left to consider what will become of us this season. Surely it's too early for me to be writing them off just yet, and we have seen glimpses off what we are able to do, please see the performance at Portsmouth as concrete evidence, but it does already smack of yet another year of doom and gloom right now. I'd absolutely love to be proved wrong, and I do hope I am, but surely with such a small squad we need to be putting out the best XI available to us in order to pick up results. Is there any money left to strengthen the defence?

We roll onto Swindon next week who have had something of a mixed bag of a start to the season. They had won three in a row before last weekend's defeat to Burton Albion and will be looking to get back on track. Perhaps a visit from our back four is what they're after. On the other hand, we could show the form that has been largely reserved for cup games, and if I walk out of Swindon on Saturday with a similar feeling to the last time we played there in a cup game, I think we'll have had a positive result. Remember? Adam Birchall? FA Cup Third Round? Of course you do. Meanwhile, have you seen how much it is to get in there this season? £25!? A piece on their official website states that prices are reduced for this game, and you would assume that applies to away supporters as well, taking the admission fee down to £20. Still, when you think about it, that is an awful lot of money to be spending on a football match.

The thing is, is that the sort of money I can justify spending to witness year after year of disappointment? With dwindling away crowds, it appears that many have decided enough is enough, and to be quite honest I'm not far away from the line either. Some would argue that to support a club is to follow them through thick and thin, and I have done in the last ten years (I appreciate things have been worse before I was even born!) but there comes a point where you just can't bring yourself to do it anymore. Barnet needs to show its loyal supporters that it is worth spending a big wad of hard earned cash to support them. At the moment, we're getting a pretty rough deal.

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