Barnet Football Club


Ross Eames: “These players want to be in the first team – it shows”

Ross Eames saw the bigger picture after watching his young Barnet side lose 4-1 to an Oxford United team which included a number of first-team players.

The Bees, who named goalkeeper Jamie Stephens as their only senior player, had the better of the first half until Sam Long tucked home from a set piece before half time.

Long, who has made five first-team appearances for the U’s this term, added a second ten minutes in the second half.

A through ball from Arsenal loanee Dan Crowley set experienced winger Alex McDonald away for the third before Arale Mohammed pulled one back for the Bees with a well-taken finish.

But Oxford added a fourth before full time with Josh Ruffels – a veteran of more than 80 Football League outings – applying the finish.

Reflecting on the game, Development Team coach Eames said: "When I spoke before the game we talked about not being in an Under-21 league.

"You don’t get to face these sort of players in an Under-21 league. The educational, physical, technical and tactical is what these games are about.

"But most importantly it’s the mentality. These players want to win, do well and be in the first team – and it shows.

"Our two centre halves were 17 and they were winning headers and dealing with the Oxford forwards.

"That is a massive plus and they know when they’re playing at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon or in a 7.45pm on a Tuesday evenings that’s the minimum standard required."

The Bees very nearly took the lead inside five minutes when Fumnaya Shomotun skipped into space and lashed against the underside of the crossbar from 20 yards.

But Lady Luck wasn’t smiling on the Bees the ball bounced back out and away to safety.

"The scoreline is irrelevant for us and always is," explained Eames. "We spoke to the boys this morning and it was about performance. In the first half especially the performance. was very good – we used the ball well and competed very well.

"But there are still things to work on from the first half. In the final third our decision making could have been better – when deciding whether to shoot, cross, slide or combine.

"Our oldest player was 19 and we were playing against Alex McDonald, Sam Long, Aaron Martin, Dan Crowley and Ryan Ledson – players with hundreds of Football League appearances between them.

"I think it’s a fantastic learning curve and education for our players. This is where they aspire to be and they have to take the positives from today."

Barnet: Stephens; Day, Smith, Brown, Payne; J. Taylor, Fonguck (Alexis), Kyei (Mohammed); Mason Clarke, Cojocarel (Cheema), Shomotun.