Barnet manager Martin Allen was pleased with his team’s defensive resilience, as the Bees beat Championship side Ipswich Town at The Hive.
Reflecting on the 1-0 win, Martin said:
“I thought the team played very well – we had some good chances in the first half that we never managed to finish off.
“Ipswich sharpened up their game in the second half and changed their whole team.
“We kept our team on, so there were going to be times when they came back into the game.
“But we restricted Ipswich to one chance from open play, so all credit to our players who did very well.
“It’s a skill to defend your goal; we defended resolutely and with discipline.
“I don’t think that they had any chances in the second half, apart from a couple of set plays where they were dangerous.
“But in the first half I would say that it was a top performance – we knocked the ball about and played some good football.
“John Akinde has been prolific over the last couple of seasons, but this was a team effort and I’m sure that John would tell you the same.
“It was a penalty though and he slipped it away nicely.
“The first match of the season is still a long way off – we go to Staines this weekend, which will be a different challenge to this one.
“It will be a mental challenge and a testing challenge.
“They’ve got a good manager and some good players, so now we have to prepare ourselves to go there and win on Saturday.
“We’re only two weeks into pre-season, but I thought the players representing the club against Cheshunt and Ware committed themselves very well.
“The players have come back in good shape after the summer break, but some of them do need extra work.
“The knocks that we’ve got are minor and the youngsters – as we saw at the end of last season and again tonight – are being integrated into the first team.
“Everyone can see that they’re good players, like Harry Taylor, Tom Day and Nana Kyei.
“There were a few playing away at Bedfont & Feltham too.
“They won 4-1, so all the players are doing well.
“Their attitudes have been spot on, but we have to keep working to the high standards that we’ve set ourselves to be ready for the new season.
“I think Barnet are in a better place than this time last year.
“We’d just come off the back of winning the Conference championship and had come up into this division not knowing where we were going be.
“When England were two nil up in their series against Australia, the England rugby manager said to the media that too much praise is dangerous.
“I thought about that quote, and thought back to last summer when we were the champions.
“I think that it took us a while, including myself, to come back down to planet earth – to get back to the work that got us that championship.
“I decided that wasn’t going to happen to us this summer; that we were going to work extra hard this pre-season and set high standards from the moment we were back in training.
“We have done that and I think we’re much more grounded now.
“We know what we’re up against in this division and we’re ready for the challenge.
“We still need to work on everything ahead of the season – attacking, defending, attacking set plays and defending set plays, fitness levels, mental strength and body strength.
“It’s everything right across the board.
“We’ve got to keep getting better, because if we’re going to do anything then we need to be the best at everything.
“We can’t accept second best and have to keep pushing harder and harder.”