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Martin Allen: "We showed character and desire to get something"

25 October 2016

Head coach Martin Allen reflects on Barnet's 2-2 draw at Newport County

Martin Allen praised Barnet's character and desire as the Bees dug deep to earn a 2-2 draw at Newport County in EFL League Two on Tuesday evening.

Ben Tozer nodded Newport into the lead after 33 minutes but the visitors were the stronger side in the second half.

John Akinde, making his 100th league start for the Bees, bagged an equaliser in the 76th minute before putting Barnet in front with a stunner nine minutes later.

However, Graham Westley's side stole a point a minute from time when Sean Rigg slotted home a penalty left-footed.

Reflecting on the draw at Rodney Parade, Allen said: "It was one of those nights where we didn’t play very well but we showed character and desire to get something and, in the second half, we did. 

"When you don’t play well and you get a point away from home I will take that all day long.

"The players aren’t very happy in there. They are disappointed with the result because they were winning 2-1 with five minutes to go. 

"They threw their bodies on the line and even at 2-2 Newport had two corners where we threw defenders and bodies in front of the ball.

"I had them watched on Saturday against Plymouth Argyle by one of my good friends and he told me to expect a hard game.

"I thought it was probably a fair result."

Allen added: "I was disappointed. I’m not sure if it was a penalty or not – it was too far away from me to make a judgement. But we have to respect the referee’s decision.

"That’s two away games in four days and we’ve picked up four points. So after a couple of tricky weeks it’s fair to say four points in two games is taking us in the right direction."

There was concern for Gavin Hoyte's wellbeing when he was withdrawn after 14 minutes on just his second start following a lengthy lay-off with knee ligament damage.
 
However, there was good news regarding the right-back: "Gavin Hoyte was outstanding on Saturday and thankfully, the big result for us tonight, is it’s not his knee – it’s a hamstring strain," revealed Allen.

"We were more than comfortable until Gavin went off and then the changes I made clearly didn’t work because we got worse when Gavin went off – not better.

"After that it was a disappointing performance. But in the second half we played with much more vigour, belief and deserved to get something out of the game."

Inevitably the contribution of Akinde, who took his tally to 11 goals for the season, was brought up afterwards and Allen recognised the number nine's fine display.

"John has been outstanding in his last two games and Wycombe on Saturday was his best performance of the season by far. Tonight he was right on his game. He’s been scoring goals but he has needed to work on his performances – which he has. 

"He’s a good player but everyone in our team battled down."


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