Barnet Football Club



Martin: “We have got a fantastic group”

Martin Allen was pleased with his side’s dominant display on Tuesday night, as Barnet beat Braintree by three goals to nil in the evening’s only Conference fixture to move eight points clear at the top of the league.

Speaking after the game, the manager said:

“It was a very good team performance. I thought that we managed the game tactically very well. After going ahead and with the opposition going down to ten men – we have all experienced it as players, supporters and as managers – it is very difficult to play against ten men because they step it up that bit extra.

“I thought the players managed the game by keeping the ball and moving the ball and perhaps we could have had more goals. To keep a clean sheet and not have any real pressure on us, I suppose it is probably boring to watch, but a couple of weeks ago [against Kidderminster] I thought it was game over and it wasn’t. Here tonight you can see we have learnt a few lessons in the way we played.

“We changed our way of playing tonight and our formation. The wind didn’t help that – especially in the first half kicking against the wind – it made forward passes very difficult. It was a very good performance from everybody and nice to reward our subs by getting on the pitch after they have been doing so well in training as well.

“I think a lot of that comes from within the players: their appetite, desire and inner drive within the group. I know I can make four or five changes to the team and we can still go out and put in a really good performance. They have got an appetite, willingness and drive – you see it in training every day. We are lucky that we have got a fantastic group.”

Martin also singled out the two goal scorers on the night, with Luisma bagging a brace to take his tally to seven for the season and Luke Gambin coming off the bench to notch his third:

“I am delighted with Luisma. He has got a goal ratio now which has been absolutely fantastic. We have got goals right throughout this team from him and Cooky and Curtis Weston up at Gateshead on Saturday.

“I wanted to get Gambin on tonight. I was not happy on Saturday when he got booked for kicking the ball away, and that is why I took him off. We don’t like that here: arguing with the referee and kicking the ball away to get yellow cards, so that is why I took him off.

“I really wanted to give him a little bit back tonight and God bless, when he went on, I thought he was superb.”

Once again, Martin was also quick to highlight the role of the supporters in the win, and believes that the fans will have an increasingly important role to play the more the season goes on:

“I still don’t know what the words are but the song has got a nice rhythm and a nice sound to it. It’s a very positive vibe that comes around the stadium and you can feel it in the technical area. The players talk about it.

“At times it is not going to go right. At times it is going to be testing and at times it is not going to be easy. The crowd have to be patient, I have to be patient and the players have to be patient. Every team that comes here now is playing in a cup final against a team that are top of the league.

"From the crowd, it is easy when you are winning 2-0 or 3-0 to start singing that wonderful song, but it is when things go a bit tricky and it is not quite going right, that is when we need to proper supporters to get behind them and lift them and play their part.”

Following a productive week in the league that has seen Barnet claim two wins in four days, the Bees now turn their attentions to the FA Cup, where they will be making their bow in the competition at the weekend with an away tie in the fourth qualifying round against Chelmsford City – a game that Martin says he won’t be taking lightly:

“We go to Chelmsford on Saturday in the FA Cup and we are going to put out the best team we have possibly got on Saturday at Chelmsford and then go onto the next game.

“We will just do exactly the same as we have been doing in the past – nothing is going to change. The FA Cup is special to me and I think the FA Cup would be special to all our supporters. We will prepare, train and organise our team to the very best we can.”