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Tom Champion: Winning games different ways has been key

13 December 2016

Tom Champion says winning matches in different ways has been key to Barnet's recent form...

Tom Champion believes Barnet’s ability to win games in different ways is the reason for their eight-game unbeaten run and is looking forward to putting that record on the line against local rivals Stevenage on Saturday.

The experienced midfielder is yet to taste defeat in EFL League Two since returning from a loan spell at Lincoln City and has been a big factor in the Bees’ upturn in form.

Outside the play-off places by virtue of goal difference only, Barnet’s success is built on their knack of finding different ways to pick up points – according to Champion.

“We’ve won games in different ways on this run which has been key,” he explained. “We’ve won games where we’ve been backs against the wall and defended really well. We’ve won games where it’s been more open and free-flowing or we’ve come from behind.

“Sometimes you just need to be able to think on your feet and work out how to win games however they go. 

“We’ve come from 2-0 down to win against Hartlepool United, won at top-of-the-table Plymouth Argyle and kept a clean sheet. We know we will always get a chance to win the game if we do our jobs.”

On Saturday the Bees found another way to win, nicking three points at Yeovil Town with a late strike from Alex Nicholls after coming under the cosh at Huish Park.

“We played really well in the first half,” said Champion. “We played with some freedom and our attacking players had a lot of time and space which meant we looked really dangerous.

“We had a spell in the second half where we rode our luck a little bit which you have to do in games. 

“We stood and firm and always trusted we would get a couple of chances and we did. Nico came on and stuck the chance away really well so we’re delighted for him.”

Nicholls has not always been a regular this term but came up trumps to score his third of the season five minutes from time to give Rossi Eames his first win as caretaker manager.

“That’s how football works,” Champions said. “Everyone has got to be patient. There haven’t been many players who haven’t had a spell on the sidelines. It’s all about how you react when you get your chance.

“He came on, played well and stuck his chance away to get us the win. So we’re made up for him.”



Champion has had to be patient too. In September he was allowed to join Vanarama National League outfit Lincoln City on loan.

The 30-year-old played five times for the promotion-chasing Imps before being recalled to The Hive when Sam Togwell went under the knife for a hernia.

“It’s difficult not being part of the setup where you want to be,” he admitted. “I have always backed myself and felt like I should be involved. 

“Mangers have different ideas and for a little while it was a frustrating period for me. But when you get your chance you have to be ready to take it.

“I’ve come back into the side and that’s coincided with a good run where we’ve put a few wins together. 

“It’s been eight league games since I’ve been back and we haven’t lost one – touch wood we can keep that going.”

Champion, like all Bees supporters, hopes that run of form can continue against rivals Stevenage on Saturday.

Boro come to The Hive having won four of their last five on the road and the Watford-born midfielder is expecting a keenly-contested encounter.

He said: “Both teams are doing well and there’s not much separating the teams at the moment.

“It will be a close game and there’s that bit of added incentive with it being a local derby. It’s a game everyone will be up for and everyone is in good form at the moment, so we’re looking forward to the game and want it to come as quickly as possible.”



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