Barnet Football Club



Martin: “We needed to freshen it up”

Martin Allen was delighted to see his side get back to winning ways on Saturday, as a much-changed Barnet overcame Altrincham 3-1 at Moss Lane.

Speaking after the game, the manager reflected on a hard-earned win against the Robins that keeps the Bees’ fate in their own hands at the top of the Vanarama Conference table:

“I thought that it was a good performance. This is a difficult place to come and play at the moment as they are in good form. They were very unlucky last week away at Bristol Rovers.

“They have got some good players and a good manager and are near the top at the moment on current form so it was always going to be a difficult game. It wasn’t always pretty today – let’s be honest – but they stuck to their jobs and we cut out the silly errors today.

“We were very competitive when we needed to be, we were very calm and controlled when we needed to be and it is a big relief for everybody to get those three points on the board. It was a hard-working, disciplined, well-organised win.”

Martin also explained some of the thinking behind the four changes that he made to the starting line-up from last weekend’s loss to Grimsby as he looked to both combat injuries and try a new approach:

“We made a few changes and I thought that the players that came in did very well. I just thought that we needed to freshen it up and I thought that it was an excellent performance. I suppose you could say that the changes we have made have benefitted us.

“Yiadom got injured in training on Thursday so he couldn’t play and Togwell failed a fitness test on Friday so he couldn’t play. I thought that Lee Cook and Charlie MacDonald needed to be rested.

“They have played just about every game for us and run themselves into the ground so I just thought that we needed to freshen it up with some fresh legs. Sometimes these things work when you do them and it has done today.

“Mauro has come in and done a really good job, Mugs has done a great job over at left-back and Elliott did really well stepping on ahead of him. Gash has come in and scored two goals and it was great to have John Akinde back.

“This squad is the group that has got us to where we are and they all play their part. They are a really good group of lads – they are very professional, very honest and very humble.

“The lead has been whittled down over the last month and it does affect everybody, but it is how you deal with it and how you cope with it and how we manage ourselves that matters and it was good to see some really good performances from our players today.”

Martin also revealed that he was nearly forced into another late change with goalkeeper Graham Stack suffering an arm injury shortly before kick-off, praising the player-coach for battling on and making some important saves:

“Graham Stack on the way in from the warm-up before the game slipped on the step going into the dressing room and the door handle has gone halfway into his arm believe it or not. That happened at ten to three.

“We had to go and see the referee and ask if Sam Cowler could play. If you’d seen him, he was crashed out on the floor just before kick-off – so how he came out and did what he did today was quite unbelievable.”

Martin was also joined on the bench by coach Kevin Blackwell, and revealed that having had some time to reflect he has decided to call upon the former Barnet goalkeeper’s expertise for the rest of the season:

“I needed to make a change. I have been doing all of this on my own now for god knows how long. I had Gary Waddock in to help me for a month before he went away to work for another club. I know I have been off for most of the week but I decided whilst I was away that I needed some help.

“Stacky and Nurse do a good job but I thought that I need a bit more experience and somebody with another forthright opinion to help me andeverybody take ourselves to where we want to go.

“He has got a great deal of experience and he’s got belief in what he does. He’s here now to help me until the end of the season which is good news and I have got to be grateful to the Chairman for helping me get him in.”