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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

18 March 2023 Venue The Hive Stadium Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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Match Reports

Barnet 1-1 Notts

Langstaff's 37th goal not enough

18 March 2023

Idris Kanu's scrappy equaliser in the dying moments of the first half proved pivotal as we had to settle for a point at the Hive.

We'd dominated the opening 45 minutes and worked an outstanding team goal for Macaulay Langstaff to finish, only to be pegged back almost immediately.

The hosts enjoyed much more of the play in the second half and in the end the match could have gone either way.

Having witnessed a convincing win over Eastleigh in midweek, Luke Williams made three changes to his starting XI as Geraldo Bajrami, Kyle Cameron and Sam Austin each reclaimed a place.

With Aden Baldwin injured and Adam Chicksen moving to left wing back, Connell Rawlinson was the only central defender to keep his spot in front of Tiernan Brooks.

Aaron Nemane played on Chicksen’s opposite flank, with John Bostock and Matt Palmer supporting an attack-minded trio of Sam Austin, Ruben Rodrigues and Langstaff.

Williams’ team selection meant there was plenty of energy and talent waiting in the wings, with Jim O’Brien, Frank Vincent, Jodi Jones and Conner Lemonheigh-Evans as his outfield options.

We immediately asserted our dominance on the game and, moments after Chicksen’s brilliant first-time cross was well turned behind by a defender with Langstaff ready to pounce behind him, Barnet were breathing a massive sigh of relief when a defender was able to loop Rodrigues’ goalbound shot over his own crossbar – denying Langstaff again, who was ready to tap the ball into an empty net.

Barnet were seeing none of the ball and, on 18 minutes, Laurie Walker made a superb save to keep Langstaff’s volley out following Cameron’s cross.

At the other end, Brooks was heavily involved in our build-up but very little else until he was able to hold on to Daniel Powell’s effort at his near post.

We soon put the pressure back on our hosts and, moments after Nemane’s deflected cross crashed off the outside of the post, Austin brilliantly released Chicksen whose deflected cross looked destined for the bottom corner until Walker got down to his right brilliantly to push the ball away.

Our relentless pursuit of the opener continued with Langstaff getting up well to meet Bostock’s cross but failing to trouble Walker with his header.

Rodrigues was growing into the game and somehow didn’t win us a free-kick on the edge of Barnet’s box after a superb run was blatantly halted by a Barnet man with a shirt pull. Incredibly the referee played on, allowing Barnet to counter. Thankfully, our defensive line was able to catch Nicke Kabamba offside.

We weren’t to be denied much longer, though, as with 42 minutes on the clock we worked a brilliant opening goal. It started with the familiar combination of Nemane and Rodrigues, the latter finding Langstaff in the area and watching on as he bagged his 37th goal of the season with a neat finish.

The half looked destined to end with us deservedly ahead but it wasn’t to be the case as a long throw from the left wasn’t dealt with, allowing Kanu to score from close range.

It proved to be a huge turning point in the game as our hosts would enjoy much more of the play in the second half.

Barnet had only mustered two efforts at goal in the opening 45 but claimed the first chance after the break when Brooks made a good save from Kabamba after he’d robbed Rawlinson of possession.

Williams looked to inject some renewed vigour into our performance a minute later, sending Lemonheigh-Evans and Jones on for Austin and Bostock.

But it remained more of an end-to-end affair, with Walker smothering Rodrigues’ deflected cross under close of attention from Langstaff and Kabamba blazing a shot over at the other end moments later.

Chicksen and Nemane both then had shooting opportunities in the area, seeing their efforts blocked, before Kabamba nodded a difficult header wide of Brooks’ back post.

As time ticked down, Bajrami guided a header narrowly wide of the far post and Chicksen took too long to shoot when appearing to be well positioned in the area.

And we had Brooks to thank for keeping things level when he made an excellent low save from Harry Pritchard after he’d burst into the area.

There was then an agonising moment when Lemonheigh-Evans stooped to get his head on Chicksen’s powerful cross, sending the ball narrowly over.

And Barnet responded with a good opportunity of their own, Courtney Senior also firing the ball over the bar – this one with a shot from the edge of the area.

Both teams were given five added minutes in which to find a winner but, in the end, both defences held out to leave the game locked at 1-1.

STARTING XI: Brooks; Cameron, Bajrami, Rawlinson; Chicksen, Nemane; Bostock (Jones 60'), Palmer, Austin (Lemonheigh-Evans 60'), Rodrigues; Langstaff

UNUSED SUBS: Mair, O’Brien, Vincent

ATTENDANCE: 2,969 (1,064)

BOOKINGS: Jones 67'

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