Barnet finished pre-season unbeaten and in style with a convincing 2-0 win over League One opposition Cambridge United.
Dean Brennan made a couple of changes to the side that beat a Chelsea XI last Saturday. Captain Dale Gorman came in for Jerome Okimo and Finley Potter for Zak Brunt.
Barnet started the game brightly with summer signing Reece Hall-Johnson running down the right-hand side, winning an early corner for the Bees. Barnet continued their barrage on the Cambridge defence, but it was Cambridge who looked the more controlled of the two sides.
In a physical encounter, Cambridge looked to take the lead with Bennett and Lankester creating opportunities for the U’s, though, on both occasions, they overstepped the mark with their physical presence, giving the referee no choice but to blow his whistle.
In the 23rd minute, Sam Barrart, who had been the standout player thus far, whipped in a dangerous ball which evaded everyone and ended up striking the far post, with the follow-up shot leading to a Barnet corner. From the resulting corner, Barnet took the lead after 24 minutes when Danny Collinge headed home from Gorman’s delivery.
3 minutes later, Gorman was lucky to only pick up a yellow for a late challenge on Danny Andrew. Gorman staying on the pitch then lead to the second goal of the game when Barnet scored from another set piece. Gorman played the ball into Pritchard who used his innovation and ability to heel flick spectacularly to the far post, striking it before Kabamba was there to tuck away the rebound to give Barnet a 2-0 after the first half an hour.
Cambridge had to improve quickly if they were to get a result and started well with good play from Brophy causing the Barnet defence some trouble leading to consecutive corners for the away side. However, as the first half drew to a close, it was Barnet who was back on top with Barratt playing a lovely one-two with Hall Johnson and a Nicke Kabamba free kick which led to the final chance of the half with Pritchard heading over, completing an excellent first half from Barnet.
HT | Barnet FC 2-0 Cambridge United
The second half began with no changes for either side. Cambridge had the first opportunity of the half with Liam Bennett creating a good chance, but it was well claimed by Laurie Walker, who hadn’t had much to do in the game up to this point. A spell of stagnation in the game was ended with a good chance when Oluwo headed over from a Ben Coker free kick.
Cambridge then had their best period of the match when James Brophy was yet again impressive from the right wing, taking down a long ball with ease and forcing the Barnet defender to clear for a 62nd minute corner. From the resulting corner, the ball ended up falling to Michael Morisson who somehow missed a great chance to reduce the deficit.
In the 71st minute, Brennan decided to use his full bench bar keeper Jordan Gillmore to replace Idris Kanu, Ben Coker, Abebola Oluwo, Reece Hall-Johnson, Captain Dale Gorman, and goal scorer Nicke Kabamba.
Callum Stead, who signed this summer after an impressive season for Brackley last year, continued to shine after he headed just wide from an Okimo cross in the 78th minute. As the game began to fizzle out, Stead remained the main threat for the home side.
Cambridge did end the game with a few chances with the notable one coming in the 86th minute when Fejri Okenabirhie burst through with a ball over the top but was once again well cleared by the Barnet defence for a corner, this time being Collinge.
Barnet survived the late onslaught from the League One side and with the final whistle coming in the 92nd minute of the game, Barnet ended their preparation for the season with a fine display.
All eyes will now be focused on the mouth-watering opener of the National League season, with Hartlepool United visiting the Hive for the first time in 3 years.
FT | Barnet FC 2-0 Cambridge United
Barnet FC Starting XI: Walker, Hall Johnson (Armstrong 71’), Coker (Okimo 71’), Collinge (Wynter 71’),
Gorman (Granville 71’), Kabamba (Stead 71’), Kanu (Senior 71’), Pritchard, Oluwo, Barratt, Potter.
Unused Substitutes: Gillmore
Goals: Collinge 24’, Kabamba 30’
Attendance: 657 (238 away).