With Cambridge having conceded just 7 goals in the league before their trip to The Hive, youngster George Sykes must have known that scoring the winning goal against the Us would be a tall order.
They must be a tight defensive unit to top the league and let in less than a goal every other game, he would have thought. When going through all the permutations before the game, George might have thought a last ditch tackle, excellent marking, or even a goal line clearance could conspire to deny the 19 year old his moment of glory in his first game of the season for the Bees.
"Smoke bomb denies debutant winner" was probably not a headline the lad would have foreseen, but denied Sykes was when the ball disappeared into a ball of smoke behind the South Stand goal. The assistant referee inexplicably decided that the ball had gone out of play in the process.
Never mind goal line technology, the lino would have needed night vision goggles to confidently call that one. He can’t have been sure that the ball went out of play and surely the advantage should go to the attacking team in such circumstances? But no, Barnet’s chance of nicking all 3 points literally went up in smoke.
A pity, because 2 fairly elementary defensive lapses aside, the Bees looked good value for the 3 points here. Luisma Villa curled home a delightful effort from 25 yards. One for the BT Sport cameras that one. Curtis Weston followed that up with a low drive to level before half time. The second half didn’t live up to the first, but then smokegate conspired to snatch a precious 2 points from the superior Bees.
Still, Barnet continue to make steady progress up the league and are now just a point off the play off places. An intriguing time then to play 4th placed Grimsby Town, who Barnet could leapfrog should they get the 3 points at Blundell Park on Saturday.
My last trip there saw the Bees slump to a 2-0 defeat, but that was on the back of a poor run towards the end of the 2009-2010 season. In contrast the Bees are now undefeated in 8 games in the league and should travel to Lincolnshire with every confidence.
This is a game between two of the bigger clubs in the league and I am thoroughly looking forward to it. I just hope that the Barnet contingent communicate their enthusiasm through the medium of chanting rather than smoke signals this time round…