Game 2: Barnet 1.0 Maidenhead United (National League) 08.09.18
With a booked ticket for the evening England international against Spain, I had a look to see what non-league games were taking place nearby and chose a trip to Barnet’s new Hive stadium. Gary and Alan decided to head to the game too and we met up outside the clubshop before wandering round to the away ticket office. Being a modern stadium you had to go to the box office first to get a ticket, then scan in the ticket’s barcode to enter the turnstiles. While the regular admission was £20 I managed to get a £10 ticket by showing my England ticket. I had only found out about the special offer from the Barnet website when I downloaded the online programme that morning and it turned out a number of away fans going to Wembley later were unaware of this offer.
Before the game both teams were languishing in lower mid-table but Barnet were in good form having won their last four games under John Still. While some Maidenhead supporters spend the first half arguing with stewards about persistent standing, their team struggled to get going on the pitch. Barnet took the lead after four minutes when Maidenhead should have cleared the ball. Walker received the ball near the corner from a long throw. He beat one defender before a covering defender came in to tackle him. Instead of clearing the ball he managed to toe poke it against a team mate and Walker recovered the ball, cut into the area and angled his shot past the keeper. Barnet had several more chances to add to their lead but were either caught out by the offside flag or show well over. Their best chance came just before halftime when a player ran onto the ball in the area but pushed his shot wide from an unmarked position. Maidenhead didn’t offer much up front with a couple of long range efforts easily saved by the Barnet keeper.
Maidenhead picked up their game a bit in the second half as Barnet continued to squander good chances. There were a couple of decent Maidenhead crosses into the area but either no-one was there to convert them or the ball was hit straight at the keeper. Too often though the Magpies couldn’t beat the first man from good wide positions. The referee was inconsistent with his approach to cards – one over zealous Barnet tackle that deserved a yellow card only saw the miscreant spoken to by the referee who then booked a Maidenhead player for a similar offence. Towards the end Barnet won a penalty when a player was tripped on the edge of the box. It summed up their finishing when it was blasted high over the bar as the keeper dived the wrong way. Maidenhead pushed forward but couldn’t get an equaliser before the final whistle.