Martin Allen was in pragmatic mood following Barnet’s FA Cup exit to Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday, and felt that his team had the chances to wrap the game up after taking an early lead.
Speaking after the game, Martin reflected on what might have been, saying:
“We had the chances in the first half: two one-on-ones with their goalkeeper when we were 1-0 ahead and I think those moments were probably the crucial moments in the game.
“Curtis was through one-on-one and Luisma was through, he chose to do the overhead kick and I thought that would have put us out the way. To go through and to win games you have to take those opportunities when they come.
“We started like a train; they started extremely well and to be honest, I thought we battled and played with full energy. I thought we kept going right until the very end, so I think it is fair to say I’ve given them all a good pat on the back when they came in the dressing room and said: ‘Well done, you’ve put in a great effort today.’”
Barnet were powerless to stop a Wycombe comeback after the Chairboys equalised with a controversially awarded penalty before the Bees had two men sent off. Yet Martin refused to lay any blame at the referee’s door, and confirmed that the club would not be appealing either of the red cards:
“I think it’s best we respect the referee’s decisions. He has a very difficult task – especially with a very quick pitch and the weather, wind and rain.
“I think referees get too much criticism personally; I think they get too much scrutiny and intensity on their performance and I think the game is about the players of both teams.
“Who am I really to be judgemental about a referee’s performance? You have to respect what their decisions are. It is a hard enough job as it is and I certainly don’t put any blame towards the referee and I shook his hand as he came up the tunnel.”
Another positive for the Bees to come out of the afternoon was a first start for Charlie MacDonald in two months following a knee injury, and Martin admitted that it was a big boost to welcome back his captain:
“I am pleased with Charlie, he has got no reaction to his knee injury and he will be fit and ready for Tuesday night. Part of my mind, it has got to be said, was having Tuesday night in mind for Charlie MacDonald.
“It was good to have Charlie back. Going down to ten men and going against the wind and the rain in the second half, I thought it would be best to change to a 4-4-1 and try and stay quite attacking.”
Although admitting that his players were disappointed with the defeat, Martin was adamant that his team have what it takes to bounce back during a busy week in the league with two home fixtures in five days:
“I think the only thing that is injured is a few broken hearts. We thought we would win, we expected to win. We wanted to take them and although we have put up a brave, valiant effort, we have had a defeat, but no doubt they will bounce back.”
“We pushed them. We have given them a real fright and that first 45 minutes is how we play week in week out. We have got good players and a good, strong squad. Other people in our squad now will get a chance to come in and play. They deserve a chance to come in and play and they haven’t let us down so far this season.
“We’re doing OK. We are all moving along in the right direction. We have got a good squad of players and we have got good backing from all of our supporters.
“There is a long, long way to go but you have seen the commitment and the energy of all our squad, all our staff and all of our supporters and we all work very closely together to achieve our goal as we go through the season.
“We have got nothing to fear and nothing to worry about and we will all keep moving forward.”