Martin Allen was left frustrated by Barnet’s narrow 1-0 defeat at home to Wrexham on Tuesday night, and admitted that his side did not show enough creativity in front of goal to take anything from the game.
Speaking after the game, the Barnet manager reflected on what might have been following a fast start, but admitted that after a good opening period things faded for his team:
“It was very frustrating, especially after we started the game so well. The first twenty minutes I was thinking ‘crikey me, we’re on fire!’ But then after that we seemed to fade out of it a little bit and we’ve not really created that many chances to be honest to equalise or get back on top.
“We went close quite a few times at set plays but no, it was a bit of an anxious performance I thought tonight. It wasn’t through a lack of effort, they all had a go but we lacked that bit of quality.
“We’ve been fast starters in all of our games that we’ve played and quite often we’ve been ahead by half-time and the game has been won.
“I saw this Wrexham team play at Bristol Rovers the other night and they are fully committed. There is no doubt about it; every one of their players has a go.
“That makes it tough for the opposition to break them down, like it was for us tonight. We didn’t show enough creativity and calmness to open them up.
“I think it is right to praise the opposition, they did play well. However, more importantly we have to look at why we didn’t create many chances.
“We didn’t get many crosses in, we didn’t get many good scoring opportunities. We had fantastic delivery on set plays but we never got the first header on the ball, and as we all know those set plays are vitally important and we haven’t scored any goals from them so that is disappointing and something we can all look at.
“It was a handball for their goal but we have to respect their decision. More importantly we have got to make chances and create chances and take chances ourselves and tonight we didn’t do that.”
Martin also admitted that following such a strong start, his side would have to learn to deal with the added pressure that comes with being league leaders:
“It’s tough when you are top of the league. It is a different kind of mentality that is needed, especially when you have done so well and played so well in certain games when we have been totally dominant.
“We’ve received a lot of praise for how well we’ve done and now it is our challenge and our test to come back and try to improve.
“It is what happens when you are top of the league, everyone knows it. Everybody is getting used to being the top of the table team.
“All of the reports, the pictures, the photographs and the television, the radio – everybody saying how fantastic Barnet are; you have to live with it, and you have to learn to live with it and learn to play with it.
“Teams are going to come here and raise their game by an extra yard. Every game we play now is a cup final for everybody. Whenever we pull into town we are the top of the table team.
“Everybody is looking for an upset and everybody knows that they have got to be on their game. Everybody keeps telling us what a good team we are and we have got to get used to it.
“These games are going to be difficult, but we are going to have to find a way and work out different ways of beating the opposition because at the moment it has not been good enough.
“It is a different kind of psychology. We are certainly not the underdogs anymore; everywhere we go we are favourites. It takes a little bit of time to get used to that, but we will. We’ll get there.
“They are an honest group of players and we don’t get to the number of points that we have now by not being good enough.”
Finally, Martin praised the performance of his player-coach Jon Nurse who made his first start of the season against the Dragons, and provided supporters with the latest update on the condition of the injured players in his squad:
“I thought that tonight Nurse played really well. I also thought he was superb on Saturday at Telford, he really was. He led the line well, he certainly improved our team when he went onto the pitch. He’s got energy, he’s got enthusiasm and he has got a running power.
“He turned their team numerous times during the first half, but we didn’t quite get a goal from his good play. I thought he was superb and if anything he should have stayed on the pitch for longer than I kept him on, that was a mistake on my part I think.
“Mauro is back jogging now so hopefully he’ll be back soon and Charlie MacDonald should be back within a month. Jack Saville has still got an ankle ligament problem so that is probably another two to three weeks minimum.”