Martin Allen was delighted with what he described as a ‘magical’ afternoon on Saturday, as he saw his side clinch a crucial three points in injury time against Welling United to take them nine points clear at the top.
Speaking moments after the final whistle, the Barnet manager reflected on what had, as predicted earlier in the week, proven to be a tricky test:
“It was a very tough afternoon. They haven’t lost a game here all season and they have played most of the top teams. I think Jamie Day has got a really good team; they are very resilient, they are hard to play against and this is a hard place to come.
“We didn’t play great but we battled hard. We had most of the play but we didn’t have that many chances. It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t beautiful football but they are relentless and they do just keep going.
“They had a very strong and powerful pre-season. They have all worked very hard and they have all looked after their bodies very professionally. We have hardly had any injuries and that is a credit to the players, the staff and the training that we have all done.”
John Akinde’s injury-time winner proved to be difference on the day, as the striker scored a brace to take his tally to twelve for the season. And Martin revealed that he is pleased with how the striker is settling in at The Hive:
“He’s a good player. It was a great finish. Those chances when they come along like that in injury time, we are all stood there – the whole ground kind of stood still for a couple of seconds and you just hope that that ball goes in the back of the net and god bless, he buried it.
“He works very hard. I give him a really tough time about his concentration and his standards but at times he is unplayable. I have to keep pushing him but I would say now that he is without a shadow of a doubt a top striker and we have now got to get the consistency week in, week out.
“You could see the joy and the happiness amongst all of our players and the staff and of course amongst all of the supporters singing over the far side. It was magical. You have got to say that it was magical.”
Saturday also saw a welcome return for Charlie MacDonald following a seven-week absence with a knee injury, as well as a first involvement for David Hunt, who arrived on loan from Oxford on Friday evening – something that Martin believes can only be good for the group:
“It was good to see Charlie MacDonald come on there and play his part in the winning goal. Charlie has only trained for two days and nearly got a goal there in the second half. It is a boost to all of us. He is a good player and a good person. We have got a lot of good people in our group.
“Hunt is s experienced. He has won three promotions. He can play right-back, he can play centre-back, he can play holding central midfield. He’s a good person and a good professional, and I think those types of characters are crucial in the dressing room.
“I told him that he won’t get in our team because we’ve got some very good players, but he is welcome to come and join us and be part of our squad. He jumped at that opportunity which I was delighted about.
"Hunty knows the game. He knows how to win football matches and he is a steady, calm, good influence. He works hard, trains hard and I am grateful that we have got another good bloke in our dressing room.”