Martin Allen was full of praise for the application of his players after they claimed a battling draw away to FC Halifax Town on Tuesday night to move one point clear at the top of the Vanarama Conference.
Speaking after the game, the Barnet manager said that the performance showed how far his players had come – not just in the last week having picked up four points from two difficult away games, but since the end of last season when Halifax ended the Bees’ play-off hopes with a 4-0 victory at The Hive:
“It was a very difficult game. I thought that the players applied themselves really, really well. Every one of them on the pitch and off the pitch – and all of our supporters – have put everything into the game.
“I think over the last four games now we have had two wins, a draw a defeat so that is seven points from four games. It is an improvement. Obviously we had a bit of work to do and some things to look at but it is a big improvement.
“The players have done really well in both the game away at Eastleigh and then coming here – those are two tough games for our players and everybody has acquitted themselves really well.
“They are a hard team to play against and they have got some good players. They are powerful and they are strong but we stood up to them, we matched them and as the game went on we had the chances to have won the game.
“A couple of months ago we had a sticky little patch away from home where we couldn’t deal with or maintain the physical aspect of these games and we got hammered a few times away from home. Today, you have got to say it is a massive improvement and credit to every player that took the shirt tonight.
“I cannot forget – and it is a measure of how far we’ve come – that game at the end of last season when we played Halifax at home and they should have beaten us about seven or eight nil. It is a measure of how far we’ve come in such a short space of time that we can come up here and apply ourselves as we did.”
Martin started with the same side that won on the South Coast on Saturday, but after a difficult first forty-five minutes on a tricky playing surface decided to make a change by bringing Michael Gash on at the break – whose impact he believed turned the tide in Barnet’s favour:
“We went with the same system that we played on Saturday and I thought that we gave them too much of the ball really.
“I never mentioned the pitch before the game at all. Everybody knew that it wasn’t a good pitch but I thought that it was alright, it didn’t bother me. You could make a few passes and we did play at times with a bit of quality.
“I asked Gash to go on at half-time and do the same as what he did for Kidderminster against us at home. I thought today he came on and did a fantastic job. He helped lead the line and I think that John needed a bit of help today as it was a real hard running game for him. Gash changed the game for us, and that is probably why we dominated the game in the second half.”
Martin finished by praising the 133 travelling supporters who backed the Bees throughout in claiming a hard-earned point that the manager believes sets the team up nicely for the final seven games of the season, starting with Welling at home on Saturday:
“It was amazing, wasn’t it? I suppose conceding near the end like that they might not be very happy but I think every Barnet fan behind us in that dugout – they cheered us right through to the end, they clapped every player off the pitch and I think they recognised the massive effort from all of us.
“It is funny really that they can score off of a free-kick that the kid mishit with their first effort down at that end of the pitch for a long time. But I suppose when we left home today we would have come up here and settled for a point – they played very well on Saturday and you can see why they are where they are.
“We are just moving along nicely in the right direction – but there is still a long way to go of course.”